By: Lisa Kleypas
Published date: August 11, 2015
Overall Rating: 5 out of 5
Hero: Joe Travis
Heroine: Avery Crosslin
I love love love Lisa Kleypas, and have been waiting for this book FOREVS! And yeah, we all have so I should just get over it, but it has been five years so… I was up until 2am reading this one, because that’s what you do after work when a Lisa Kleypas book comes out. You read the first pages in the car at stoplights on the way home, eat dinner in bed while reading, and don’t look at the clock again until your friend texts you because she finished the book first, and you feel sorry for her because you still have the pleasure of reading it.
Anyway, while her historicals obviously top any list, Smooth-Talking Stranger is one of my favorite books of all time. It’s one of the only books I’ve re-read. I like it so much because it has characters you don’t often see in romance novels, but exist by the bucketful in my life. Vegans, hippies, professors, etc. Most romance novels are about aerobics instructors or art dealers or just vocations that are less relevant in the modern world that reading that one was like a breath of fresh air with real people.
But back to what we’re here for… I liked Brown-Eyed Girl. It was better than most contemporary romances out there right now. Kleypas showcases her famous mastery at crafting emotionally rich narratives and compelling, yet relatable characters. That’s not to be glossed over because it’s difficult and seems to be less important lately. I especially enjoyed the secondary characters on Avery’s side of the family, and thought her assistant Steven could be his own book. Joe Travis was at turns funny and intense, which has been kind of a theme with the Travis brothers, and I thought he was a good hero.
I think my main hiccup was that I wanted it to be longer. The relationship between Avery and Joe seemed to develop way faster than we got to know the characters, and I didn’t feel quite as connected to them as I’d like. Sure, I wanted to like Avery, I really did, but she was VERY serious. I get that was part of who she was, very serious and focused on her work, but for a first-person narrative it seemed like I should have been empathetic about her situation. I also understand that the roles were kind of reversed here. Avery was the driven career-woman, and Joe was a freelance photographer who took pictures of puppies. I mean, so, she really just didn’t have a chance of winning the most likable award, but I appreciate the reversal and respect the decision for sure.
Overall, it was a great romance, and I’m so happy that Lisa Kleypas is back after a too-long hiatus. Joe was swoonworthy at times and there was a well-developed sense of tension between he and Avery that was fun to read. I laughed, I cried, I cheered, I commiserated, I don’t know what more I could ask for as a reader. I mean, maybe gold bricks and a spa vacation, but yeah, other than that, I was happy to be on this ride! I’m sad that this is the end of this awesome series, but I’m equally excited about what Lisa has for us next!