Is this what is known as a beach read in that it is something disposable you can follow easily whilst also making sure your toddler doesn’t drown? Bella Andre’s contemporary romance The Way You Look Tonight is one of the most obvious, pedestrian, and stereotypically bad novels I have ever read. Book one of a series, The Seattle Sullivans, that I will not only not be reading, it is one I would gladly use volumes of for a campfire.
Rafe Sullivan is a physically attractive private detective whose successful business investigating cheaters has left him disillusioned. When his realtor sister shows up telling him he needs to take a vacation and buy back his family’s lake house, he agrees. Arriving at the house the next evening, he runs into his old neighbour, Brooke, who just happens to be, HOMG, so hot. They knew each other as children and last saw one another when she was 8 and he was 14. Brooke is a bubbly and bright chocolatier living in the lake house she inherited from her grandparents. As Rafe’s new home is in sad shape, Brooke invites him to stay with her while he fixes it up. The entire story takes place over five days. Some commentary, including notes I made while reading:
Trite and is that a commercial kitchen?
“He couldn’t lie to her, couldn’t pretend he didn’t want her more than he’d ever wanted another woman in his life.” It’s been TWENTY-FOUR HOURS!
FFS (Rafe had just placed his hands around his brother’s throat for commenting on Brooke’s attractiveness.)
“There was no point trying to deny that what they were doing had turned into so much more than sex.” THREE DAYS!
“He could hear the shower running, and knew he should leave her to finish washing up alone, especially after the way he’d taken her last night – hard enough that she might be sore.” a. That is not how good sex works and b. Could I get a volunteer to take this trope out behind the woodshed and put it out of its misery?
He installed kitchen cabinets alone?
“But how could you possibly justify running a background check on me?” But how could you possibly get access to all of her personal financial records in the space of 12 hours or, you know, AT ALL?
“Don’t you know me at all after the past week? Or how about after we practically grew up together.” It’s been FOUR DAYS and you were EIGHT and he was FOURTEEN the last time you saw each other. Yours is not a reunion of twin souls.
“You really do love my brother, don’t you?” “…I always have.” Again: You were EIGHT YEARS OLD. You were not in love with him. You hadn’t started puberty yet. You probably still wanted to marry your cat.
“I wanted to believe we could make this work, that we could love each through the rough patches, but—” “We can, we will. Let me start by loving you right, Brooke.” FIVE DAYS
“Although Rafe now had a newly renovated and furnished home, a home that had once been filled with the love and laughter…” Have I stressed this enough? FIVE DAYS! He cleaned out, ripped up all the linoleum, laid flooring, installed appliances, found an old family photo in the attic of a house that had been a rental for almost two decades because of course he did, painted, and furnished a house unfit for human habitation in FIVE DAYS!
“She wasn’t just in his arms a moment later…she was finally home.” This book is so bad. When will it be over so I can stop reading it? It’s a soap opera’s notion of romance.
The Way You Look Tonight was trite, banal, hackneyed, hokey, cliched, facile, and mashed itself into what was, even for this genre, the most nonsensically condensed timeline I have ever read. Henceforth, I will be avoiding all Bella Andre books like the plague and thanking my lucky stars that this one was free.