Review: Letter Late Than Never by Lauren Connolly
Making awkward relatable is a gift. Ms. Connolly's contemporary romance consistently takes awkward interactions as well as uncomfortable situations and makes it understandable. Full disclosure - I do not read the blurbs of Ms. Connolly's books. Even if I liked the blurb, the first few chapters of her contemporary romances makes me feel ill at ease and not liking where the story is going. This is pretty much every single time. Why? Because the characters she creates are tough ones for me. They are definitely not shallow or bad. They are what I consider perhaps average people who have little ambition. Or they are happy with their life and they have hit their potential, more or less. There is nothing wrong with this, it just isn't something I tend to read. Plus, I tend to be an overachiever so reading about what I consider as an underachievers gives me hives. Yes, yes, this sounds terrible and I'm terrible person.
What I like about theses characters is how Ms. Connolly creates them and makes me start to empathize and root for them. Learning about Gwen and how she is the way she is ... moves me. Her hesitancy is not because her parents were helicopter parents who overprotected her. Instead, it is a specific defining moment in time which makes it hard for her to want to take the next step. Gwen's character gives me insight into how others who are radically different from me think, behave, and feel. By the middle of this story, I'm wanting to be there to cheer Gwen on and support her. I love the reason why she creates YouTube tutorials and I especially love the connection she has with larger than life Grandmother.
Sebastian, Gwen's love interest works a very tough job. He is an EMT and they save lives. They want no one to hurt. Sebastian's entire existence screams people please-er. His situation he finds himself in makes me also want to scream. Yet it is explained in such a way that it is understandable and I start to see why he is doing what he is doing.
What makes this story shine for me is Gwen and Sebastian's spark when they meet again. It is as if they are waking up from their autopilot. They are not going to suddenly want to conquer the world or become the next Nobel Peace prize winner. They have jobs they love and they are happy with it. Instead of a career and accomplishment focused couple, they are a relationship and memories focused couple. They want experiences and what they do together is beautiful. How they come together despite the secrets and missteps, gets at the heart of how relationships should be about. For some of us, we need to be reminded to smell the roses. This is what Ms. Connolly does for me in all her contemporary romances. It is all about the human condition and experiences we go through together that makes life worth living. I highly recommend this contemporary romance for readers who like second chance romances and well developed characters.
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* I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book.