Monday, May 25, 2015

Review: "When Love Happens" by Darcy Burke

Tori Archer is married…well, on paper anyway. She hasn’t actually seen her husband since the disastrous morning after their impulsive Vegas wedding. The memories of their intense passion may still make her weak in the knees, but Tori knows their marriage was a mistake.

After six months filming abroad, television producer Sean Hennessy wants nothing more than to track down his sexy, captivating wife and get her into bed… fast. So when his boss sends him to Oregon to persuade the famous Archer sextuplets—the former stars of a reality TV show—to do a reunion special, Sean sees the perfect chance to win Tori back.

Only, Tori wants nothing to do with him and is determined to push him away. But their attraction is as hot as ever and Sean will do anything to prove their relationship was more than just a fling…because he knows that when real love happens, it changes everything.

Genre: Contemporary Romance
My Review:
When Love Happens is another emotional installment in the Ribbon Ridge series. The author invites the reader back to Ribbon Ridge, where Tori is hiding a big secret from her family - her marriage to TV producer Sean Hennessy. I really enjoyed how the author brings Sean back into Tori's life. I could feel Tori's discomfort when Sean arrives and it was clear she and Sean weren't on the same page with regards to their relationship.
I love Sean. The author did a fantastic job of "making him British". I usually don't like reading novels written by Brits or set in Britain because the terminology is different enough from American English to make it difficult for me to understand.  That was not the case here. Sean has a few expressions and things that he says that are clearly British (brilliant is a common phrase for him), but its not overwhelmingly British. It's enough to help me hear Sean's voice with a gentle, British accent, but not overwhelm me with terms that I don't understand. Sean's got a great sense of humor and a very likable personality, and there's no question as to why Tori's family likes him immediately, even as she was trying to get rid of him. But, he's no pushover. Sean tolerates great deal from Tori as they attempt to navigate their current relationship but when she pushes too far, he protects his own integrity and leaves her to wallow in a life of her own making.
And that was probably the one part of the story that I didn't like. I've read other reviews that enjoyed the "Operation Divorce Me" section of the book, but I really disliked that part of the book. I understand why Tori has decided that her marriage to Sean shouldn't continue, but the way she went about it was juvenile. Her attempt to create a hostile living environment for Sean was immature. I wanted to reach into the book and smack Tori upside the head. Sean is a good sport and recognizes quickly what she is trying to do, but as a mature adult, Tori should have been honest with Sean instead of continuing to lie to him, and manipulate him with childish games to get him to give her a divorce. I was happy when Sean decides that he's had enough and leaves. But of course, we know that's not the end. Tori redeems herself somewhat in my mind by the end of the book, but she lost a few points in my book due to her behavior with Sean. My 4 star rating is primarily based on my dislike for how Tori handles her relationship with Sean.
Alex's legacy continues in When Love Happens. I think I felt more urgency around knowing his thoughts about his suicide in this book more than the others, perhaps due to Tori's connection to his final moments. Tori is driven by extreme guilt that Alex reached out to her before the end and she has spent most of the time since his death living in grief, but not really living. Alex's death affects everything she has done since and it took Sean, and her family, to dig her out of the hole of grief she was slowly burying herself in. I like that each sibling is getting a letter from Alex when its most important in their story, and I feel like I'm getting to know Alex through these stories. Despite my overall concerns regarding how Tori handles her relationship with Sean, When Love Happens is another great chapter in the story of the Archer family and Ribbon Ridge.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author:
I live on the edge of wine country in Oregon’s Willamette Valley with my devoted husband (my own hero), a daughter and son who illuminate my world, and two Bengal cats. My first completed book was called The Magic Swan. Dedicated to my grandmother (who adored swans), I wrote and illustrated it in sixth grade. My daughter loved to have me read it to her when she was younger. The story is about a guy (swan, of course), Albert, who goes on a magic kick, much to the annoyance of his girlfriend, Gwen, who loves him just the way he is. Seeking to put an end to Albert’s newfound obsession, Gwen (with the help of her awesome pal Phyllis) pretends to need rescuing. Albert rushes to Ponderosa Falls to “save” her from certain doom! Gwen happily points out he saved her without magic…and Albert realizes he has everything he wants and needs in Gwen. Naturally they get married and have many baby cygnets. As you can see, by age 12 I was plotting happy ever afters (and demonstrating my inability to ever be an illustrator). Fast forward some number of years and I decided to get serious about writing a romance novel. Joining RWA was a huge step in attaining that goal, but understand: finishing a book is hard. And oh so rewarding. I’m thrilled to be represented by the brilliant Jim McCarthy of Dystel and Goderich Literary Management and excited for my books to be read and (hopefully) enjoyed!


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