What tickled my fancy: Sweet beta hero.
What ticked me off: STAY IN YOUR OWN DAMN BOOK!
Who might like it: fans of beta heroes and/or matchmaker stories.
“I’m not hooking up with Max. I like him too much for that.”
“That makes no sense to me.”
“When it comes to fairy-tale romances, he’s Disney and I’m Grimm.”
This is the
267th 9th book in the Kowalski series, and there’s a heavy weight of history to it. I got a little bored five books back, to be honest, and having frequent reminiscences about every single previous character’s love life got so dull I was tempted to quit the book. I kept reading for Max.
I started out by armchair diagnosing Max with a mild case of RHA — Romance Hero’s Aspergers. (Not to be confused with Romance Hero’s Alcoholism.) It’s a spot on the autism spectrum where there are many common symptoms of Aspergers syndrome, yet oddly enough, none of the associated issues that might make a person seem less sexy.
As I read on though, I decided that Max is definitely within the realm of believable for someone on the spectrum. He’s blessed with a lot of self-awareness and has worked out many coping mechanisms, so problems like anxiety don’t get beyond his ability to deal with. It’s a thoughtful and appealing characterization. Max is generally accepting of himself, and a reasonably content guy: he’s got a job that makes use of his particular talents, and he’s found a social in by making his home the local gathering place to watch sports events. But he wants a wife and a family.
“I don’t have a preference as far as hair and eye color. Or height or weight.” He paused, and gave a little shrug. “I’m just looking for a woman who’ll love me enough to marry me and risk having little odd duck kids. That’s pretty much my list.”
I hate portrayals of unfeeling, robotic aspies with the fire of a thousand suns, so I appreciated Max’s warmth and kindness. He may not be very socially adept, but it’s not for lacking of trying, or lack of caring. And he’s got a good sense of humor!
Unlike many reviewers, I also like Tori. Her aversion to relationships because of her toxic parents is plausible to me, and I appreciated that she gets proactive about dealing with them, with a little nudging from a friend. And it’s refreshing that some of the drawbacks of small town life are realistically depicted.
He really wished Whitford had a movie theater, though. Or a bowling alley or even a mini-golf course. Sitting across from a woman with nothing to do but hold a conversation was a lot of pressure.
A small town romance in which small town life isn’t perfect — now there’s a romance unicorn.
Final thoughts: There are way too many people in this book for someone like Max. But I fell for his romance anyway.