Happy Pub day to “RomEantically Challenged” by Marina Adair. I really liked this rom-com but probably not for the reasons you may think! Thanks to @goodreads and @kensingtonbooks for this eARC for an honest review!
Goodreads describes the story as Three Men and a Baby Meet 27 Dresses and I think it’s a pretty good interpretation. Here’s the main scoop: Physician Assistant Annie relocates to Rome, Rhode Island after her fiancé dumps her, immediately meets someone new, and then steals her wedding date/venue/etc. She moves into a quiet cabin in Rome and is adjusting to life in the new town when the cabin owner (Emmitt) suddenly shows up, back in town after being injured in his photojournalist job. The predictable sparks fly. Additionally, Emmitt’s daughter’s mom has just died, and he struggles to be emotionally available for her after traveling so much for his job. Along with his daughter’s step dad and uncle, Emmitt and company often struggle to rein in their girl and help her work through her emotions. So, there’s a lot going on!
There are some things I didn’t like about the book (see my blog for the full review) but here’s what I loved:
My favorite theme in this book focused on Annie’s past. Adopted from Vietnam as a baby by white parents, Annie never feels like she truly fits in. She struggles knowing she wasn’t wanted by her birth parents but was wanted by her adopted parents and it’s such a complex dichotomy. Adoption is close to my family so I really loved these complexities that Adair focused on. In a truly heartbreaking scene, Annie is asked to consult on a patient by a well respected doctor. When she arrives in the exam room, the doctor assumes that because she’s Asian, she can speak Chinese with the patient and wants her to translate. While difficult to read, these are things that I don’t experience as a white women. Being in Annie’s shoes in this humiliating experience is an important lesson.
While the romance of the book isn’t anything extraordinary, I think the themes of grief, adoption, loss of a parent, and realizing that others’ actions aren’t a reflection of you are such important themes