Brown-Eyed Girl by Lisa Kleypas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
My sister and I listened to this on Playaway in the car as we did our usual car commuting. I have to say I enjoyed it a lot. I know that many fans weren't that happy with it. To my surprise, I really bonded with Avery. I got her. I understood her fears and what drove her and why she was trying so hard to avoid a relationship with Joe. It was funny how I would have a thought about the story and it would pop up either in the dialogue or Avery's thoughts.
I do also have to say that this nails some very integral aspects of Texas culture. I found that highly enjoyable. It was also interesting that Avery is a Texas woman to her core, but she connected to living in New York so much.
I loved Avery's relationship with her sister Sofia and the employees of her wedding/event planning company. Sofia and Steven's relationship definitely had me thinking that their sparks were of the romantic kind. I liked how Avery and Sofia were so close, despite meeting as adults. I'm very close to my sister, so I totally got the sister love between them. I loved the affection and loyalty they showed to each other. It felt very authentic.
As far as the romance, I wasn't 100% satisfied with it. I know that most of that is due to the 1st person POV format. It just doesn't work well for romance. I think that for me, I need to have access to both the characters to see the romance in a 360 degree view. I was forced to wonder and surmise how Joe felt based on what Avery saw or what he did in the book. I sometimes wondered what was defense mechanism or merely reacting to what Avery said or did.
I liked Joe, a lot, but he did let me down in a major way. (view spoiler)[ Joe was intractable about considering a long-distance relationship and that didn't gel with his supposed serious feelings for Avery. I could understand if he was clear about why, or if he expressed some angst about it. But he had already made up his mind that it wasn't going to happen. I think that if you love someone, you try to make it work. You don't hand out ultimatums. Even though he claimed he wasn't pressuring her, he made it clear that there wasn't a chance of their relationship continuing if Avery moved to New York. Plus, he made Avery say "I love you" first. I do understand that he was probably uncertain about Avery's feelings for him because she spent so long pushing him away, but he had gained a lot of insight into her and she was very clear about the fact that she didn't want to lose him. I felt the resolution of whether Avery was going to move to New York was a cop out. I would have preferred if Joe was willing to support her and willing to work out a relationship long distance, even if Avery realized she didn't want to go. I am thinking this part could have been done better. The proposal would have been cuter and better accepted if I had seen a gesture from Joe prior to that. It just seemed like he got what he wanted and it was easy street for him. (hide spoiler)]
I think my issue with this book is the same with the Travis series. I just don't care much for 1st person romance. I will always love the books, because Lisa Kleypas is a fantastic writer, and even my least favorites by her are still well-written. I did like catching up with the Travises. I really wish this had been multiple 1st person, because I really missed Joe's POV. I don't think I got to know him nearly as well I wanted. Hardy is still my favorite. Oh, that man! I could eat him off a spoon. But Joe is dreamy, and I loved him with Avery. Avery won me over and I really felt a kinship with her. I think I would like her in real life, and hanging out with her Sofia would be a lot of fun.
This was a very Texas book, with a couple of women that I felt like could be my friends in real life, and that was nice!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>
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