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THIS IS NOT A SPOILER-FREE REVIEW.
Kindle First books are usually hit or miss. Unfortunately, this one was a miss.
One Lavender Ribbon tells the story of Adrienne, who just moved to Florida after a bitter divorce. At only 28 years old, she feels like her life is over. After six years of putting up with her ex-husband’s constant insults, she finally escaped and is pouring all of Eric’s settlement money into renovating a Victorian home on the Florida coast. During her renovations, she finds a stack of old letters tied together with a lavender ribbon. Through the letters, she finds William Bryant, the World War II veteran who wrote them, and Will Bryant, his young, attractive grandson.
The premise of the book is fine, I suppose, but I had two questions that lingered in the back of my mind while I was reading.
The first was whether Eric was supposed to be older than Adrienne. He’s a “brilliant cardiologist” who always put his work first… at 28? I doubt it. At 28, he likely wouldn’t even be done with his residency yet, let alone the fellowship he’d need to do for anybody to take him seriously. Either a stunning lack of research on the author’s part, or Eric is at least in his mid-30’s.
Assuming this book takes place in the present day, William’s age is way off. He talks about fighting at Normandy (1944). The book was published last year (2014). This means that Normandy was 70 years before the present day. William is 81. Was he 11 years old when he enlisted, or is he lying about his age? Or maybe, again, the author failed to do her research. “World War II? Those veterans are probably like 80, right? I’ll make him 81. Yeah, that sounds about right.”
These are the kinds of things that editors should fix.
As if the general lack of fact-checking wasn’t bad enough, everything else was terrible, too.
The writing. “Apprehension crawled over her skin like fire ants.” Really?
Adrienne. Why is she good at everything? She’s a master party planner. She’s a culinary genius. She can do any home renovation project on her own, even though she has no experience.
Will. Will is the actual worst. I don’t understand what Adrienne saw in him, because he was mean to her literally from the first second they met.
“Will is not like Eric,” she reminds herself every three seconds, because that’s about how often he snaps at her.
“I’m going to get through this day because it’s for Pops, but I swear, you have no idea how much trouble you’re causing,” Will says to Adrienne, after she literally PAYS FOR HIS PARENTS’ FLIGHT HOME FROM AFRICA OUT OF HER OWN POCKET. After he told her how upset he was that his parents wouldn’t be able to make it to Pops’ birthday party. A normal person might say thanks, but Will thinks Adrienne should stop causing trouble.
For some inexplicable reason, Adrienne is drawn to Will. They’re both grown adults… who think kissing is scandalous? I mean, I don’t need my romances to be filled with sex, but come on. These two blush and giggle whenever the topic of kissing comes up.
So, anyway, clearly I was not a fan of the relationship between Will and Adrienne. I was actually really happy that, throughout the course of the book, Adrienne actually stuck to her guns and refused to let Will take advantage of her. She gave him several chances, all of which he threw away. She was, for once in her life, putting herself first.
Then, of course, Will decides to actually be nice for once… And her friend is like, ‘You’re avoiding him so you won’t get hurt, but you’re hurting yourself by avoiding him’ and I’m just like… wait, what? Whose side are you on, Sammie? Am I supposed to think that’s deep or something? No! Will has been continually acting like a petty child, and your friend is smart enough to put an end to it. You’re really going to stick up for that guy, the one who accuses her of “causing trouble” whenever she does something nice for him? No. I almost stopped there. The notes on my Kindle for that chapter are “NO” followed by “nooooo” followed by “nope nope nope.”
Finally, if you read my romance reviews, you probably know that my biggest pet peeve is this insta-marriage phenomenon that’s plaguing almost every genre right now. Adrienne was 110% done with Will, and then out of nowhere, he interrupts ANOTHER WEDDING to propose to her. Again, what a child. Making everything about him. No, that is super rude to the couple getting married, and it’s super inappropriate to put her on the spot like that. I can’t believe Adrienne said yes. I was so mad. I actually threw my tablet on the ground and walked away. I’m still mad. Will was a jerk throughout the entire book, and Adrienne completely gave up everything that she believed in to marry him, just because he was nice to her one time. She completely disregards the niggling feeling that he’s just like her ex. And this is supposed to be romantic? It’s supposed to be a HAPPY ending that Adrienne realized her feelings and convictions don’t matter and she should just listen to Will, even though he’s a jerk. No. I can’t get on board with that.
Final rating: One star. Maybe less.
For my 2015 reading challenge, I’m checking off #37: a book with a color in the title.