Saturday, February 7, 2015
ARC Review: The Trouble with Love by Lauren Layne
Title: The Trouble with Love
Author: Lauren Layne
Rating: 4 Stars
Release Date: March 3rd, 2015
The Trouble with Love is one of my favorite Lauren Layne novels. I'll admit, having read all of her works to date, I was losing steam with this author. While I remained blown away by her first few novels, I just haven't clicked with her more recent installments. With The Trouble with Love, though, Layne has only reaffirmed what I always suspected and knew: she's an incredible romance author.
The latest in the Stiletto series presents us with Alex and Emma, two ambitious individuals whose past has torn them apart a few too many times. Alex, now the head of Oxford, a men's magazine which rivals Stiletto, the women's magazine Emma writes for, is put in charge of Stiletto for three months while their leader takes a sabbatical. Alex and Emma have tacitly agreed to keep their past in the past--after all, no one wants to remember being left at the altar--but with Alex's new position as Emma's boss, this puts them in closer proximity than they've been in seven years. Although the two maintain a veneer of cold civility, indifference dripping purposefully from their every interaction, it hides a deep hurt--on both sides--and simmering sexual tension. Will Alex and Emma finally be able to give in to their chemistry and put the past behind them? Or can some grievances just never be forgotten?
The Trouble with Love has been teased at ever since the second novel in Layne's quartet and the continued sexual tension that just builds over the course of this novel is both enticing and unbearable. What I loved about the love story here, though, is how authentic it felt. Emma is hurt. Alex is hurt. For them to move on and forget their past will take a lot and Layne really maps out their growth and relationship in a believable manner. It's all in the baby steps. Moreover, the friendship between the women of Stiletto and the men in their lives is heart-warming to read. All of these relationships boast equality, respect, and success on both sides of the equation.
Emma observes her friend's relationships and struggles to define what she wants which is a fascinating struggle. Layne's romances read light and fluffy but there are a lot of deeper themes and connections running through her heroines, making their characters stand out. Emma is, hands down, one of my favorite heroines she has written to date, right up there with Julie. Alex, too, is a pleasantly well-rounded romantic interest. When he assigns Emma the task of writing about her ex-boyfriends, he begins to realize just how he wants Emma to be treated in a relationship. Because of the nature of their past, The Trouble with Love takes a lot of time in establishing what Emma and Alex want individually from a union before finally bringing them together which is so, so worth the wait.
Though readers may be a tad bit concerned that The Trouble with Love starts out with Emma and Alex dating other people, Layne deals with this issue tactfully and it isn't dragged out long at all. No worries about a love triangle here, folks! I'll be sad to see this series end but I've already fallen for many of Layne's other projects and can't wait to see what--or rather who--she writes next.