Joint Review – Suddenly One Summer by Julie James

Suddenly One SummerPublisher: Jove
Publish Date: Out now
Reviewed by: E & MinnChica
How we got this book: ARC from the publisher via Netgalley

Divorce lawyer Victoria Slade has seen enough unhappy endings to swear off marriage forever. That doesn’t mean she’s opposed to casual dating—just not with her cocky new neighbor, who is as gorgeous and tempting as he is off-limits. But once she agrees to take on his sister’s case, she’s as determined to win as ever—even if that means teaming up with Ford…

Investigative journalist Ford Dixon is bent on finding the man who got his sister pregnant and left her high and dry. He’s willing to partner with Victoria, despite the fact that the beautiful brunette gets under his skin like no other woman. He might not be looking to settle down, but there’s no denying the scorching attraction between them. Still, the more time he spends with Victoria, the more he realizes that the one woman as skeptical about love as he is might be the only woman he could really fall for…
This blurb came from Goodreads

E: Over the years I have watched MinnChica rave over James writing. I don’t tend to read a lot of contemporary so I never acted on her not so subtle hints. As I was trying to break a rather serious reading slump this year I decided to give some new to me authors a try. This popped up on my radar and remembering what MinnChica had said I decided to give it a try. Lets just say my productivity this weekend took a steep dive because when I finished reading SUDDENLY ONE SUMMER I had to find out if this was a fluke read for me. Pity my wallet and my co-workers this week because I am now hooked on James.

MinnChica: YAY! I love when my suggestions allow for lots of backlist reading! 🙂 I’ve been hooked on James for a long time now, so her books are all auto-buys for me. While I did really enjoy this one, it didn’t have the same spark for me that previous books had. Maybe because the relationship between Victoria and Ford was such a slow burn that it took them a long while to get past the frenemies stage into something more meaningful.

E: James took the enemies to lovers trope in a way I really enjoyed. Victoria didn’t hate all men, she liked them she just didn’t believe in a HEA. And any man she thought about spending time with certainly wouldn’t be as annoying as her new temporary neighbor Ford. He really liked women, all sorts of women, provided they weren’t uptight and snippy like Victoria appeared to be. So after hitting it off the wrong way the two of them went out of their way to be as innocently annoying as they could to each other. I found myself giggling several times at their bickering. But when they were thrown together to help Ford’s sister and they started to see a different side it was so much fun to watch the hatred turn into something else.

MinnChica: One of the things I did really enjoy about this book was the secondary plot with Ford’s sister and the help she needed in tracking down the father of her child. I thought it was a great counterpoint to the romance, and as the characters said many times, it was a different and unique way to bring together a family. It wasn’t a traditional family, but a family nonetheless, and I really adored that storyline. To me, it really worked overall.

E: I found Ford to be a lot of fun but I thought his character wasn’t as fleshed out on page as Victoria. When I went back and read some of James FBI/US Attorney books I understood because Ford was introduced in that series. However, James still revealed a lot about Ford which wasn’t evident in the other stories so even long time readers will be surprised I think. Seeing him protective, obnoxious, vulnerable, and caring at the same time was moving. As much as I liked him, I really loved Victoria. She was so bound and determined to not cause a scene unless she was controlling it that she repressed a lot of her feelings and practiced avoidance. As a lawyer, she was really good at research and finding explanations or precedence for any action so seeing her caught off guard or receiving a different answer than one she expected was a treat.

MinnChica: I agree with E in that I felt as if Ford wasn’t as strong of a character as Victoria. She really took the cake for me in that she was strong and determined and confident (like all James heroines), but there was this air to her that I loved. She was in a jaded business – divorce lawyer – and although she was a bit jaded, she also was hopeful. It gave her character this vulnerability that I just loved.

E: Suddenly One Summer had humor, suspense, emotion, character growth, and as I mentioned earlier had me going in search of James’ backlist. The character interactions and how they changed over time kept me hooked. I was curious about how the lawyer and the investigative reporter would manage to work together given how they were at odds personally and neither one tended to ask for help. Watching them initially struggle as they attempted to work together professionally and then end up helping each other to grow personally was really touching. By the end of the story I believed in Victoria and Ford’s relationship and I look forward to catching glimpses of them in future stories.

I give Suddenly One Summer a B

MinnChica: All in all this wasn’t my favorite James novel, but still an amazing book. I loved Victoria and thought she was a wonderful heroine. I know that I can turn to James’s books and get the kind of female character I love reading about, and struggle to find. I hope we get to see more of Victoria and Ford in future books, because I’d like the chance to see them really settled into their HEA.
I give Suddenly One Summer a B-


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