on February 23, 2021
Published by Park Row Books
Setting: United States
With her newly completed PhD in astronomy in hand, twenty-eight-year-old Grace Porter goes on a girls’ trip to Vegas to celebrate. She is not the kind of person who goes to Vegas and gets drunkenly married to a woman whose name she doesn’t know…until she does exactly that.
This one moment of departure from her stern ex-military father’s plans for her life has Grace wondering why she doesn’t feel more fulfilled from completing her degree. Staggering under the weight of her father’s expectations, a struggling job market and feelings of burnout, Grace flees her home in Portland for a summer in New York with the wife she barely knows.
When reality comes crashing in, Grace must face what she’s been running from all along—the fears that make us human, the family scars that need to heal and the longing for connection, especially when navigating the messiness of adulthood.
I’d seen this book around but hadn’t really planned on picking it up until I saw it listed on a Best Romances of the Year list. I was intrigued by the premise.
Grace wakes up after an uncharacteristically drunk night in Vegas wearing a BRIDE t-shirt and with vague memories of a girl she met the night before. She is at a transition point in her life. She just finished her graduate degree and isn’t sure what exactly she wants to do next now that she’s checked off all the steps on her plan.
This is not a light and fluffy book. I wouldn’t exactly call it dark but it is deep. Grace has a lot of issues that come crashing down on her now that she isn’t focused solely on her studies. In fact, she’s used her studies to hide from a lot of emotional minefields that she would prefer not to negotiate.
Grace has a lot of parent problems. Her father is military. He makes everyone call him Colonel – including his family. (That made me wonder what they called him before he got that rank.) He has extremely high expectations of her and she’s breaking under the pressure. She’s able to achieve her goals but what if that doesn’t actually make her happy? Is it ever ok to settle? I hated his character. He really messed her up.
She has a different issue with her mother. After their divorce, her mother was mostly out of her life. This gave her abandonment issues. She is working on getting closer to her mother and detaching from her father for her own good.
The writing in this book is more lyrical than I normally see in romances. That is especially true of Yuki, Grace’s wife, who is a storyteller. Grace finds out about her by listening to her radio show where she talks to lonely people about monsters. Their relationship is beautiful. It is instalove while drunk and then they step back need to decide if they want to try to make this work for real.