GENRE: Romance, Contemporary
This novel started off strong, and I want to precise STARTED because sadly it did not end on a high note. I am not sure what it is about the last few books I’ve read, they start off strong but fizzle out and eventually leave me annoyed.
Let me start off with the aspects of this book I thoroughly enjoyed. This romance is between Khalil and Vanessa. It is an interracial relationship. Khalil is a white man of Algerian decent and Vanessa is a black woman building a multimillion dollar company (she’s amazing, I love her). The biggest GREEN FLAG for this story is that Khalil is actually impressive. I read a book last year (I don’t want to slander but I’m sure you can find the review on my blog) where the white male love interest was bland and boring and just unremarkable and the main focus/interest is that he was white. In this case, Khalil has a big heart, owns his own business, helps out in the community and deals with very real issues. Vanessa is beautiful, intelligent and caring, and I really like that she approaches her relationship with Khalil with caution. There are culture differences, and different values when two people of different backgrounds come together and it doesn’t just “magically” work.
Now lets get to the stuff that annoyed me and here is the gentle spoiler warning. I love that the book wanted to touch on mental health. What I did not enjoy is how Khalil handles his mental health. I am tired of men who close themselves off when there are issues (in fiction and in my real life). I really hate when men leave relationships because they cant bare to open up to their partners because its “me-strong-man-you-sensitive-weak-woman.” Like the fact that the entire conflict in the relationship is him shutting her out because “he’s supposed to be strong” is realistic but not what I wanted to read in a romantic novel. Also, the OTHER men in the novel are so passive… like Khalil’s twin doesn’t even tell him what’s going on, and how is life is going to shit until it implodes… Khalil’s bestie AND business partner KNOWS there’s something wrong with Khalil and doesn’t take any action whatsoever until Vanessa reaches out to him and takes on the bulk of the emotional labor? This whole thing about men not wanting to be taken care of emotionally but are totally fine with the physical/having maids is annoying.
I know these are my personal icks and if they don’t bother you, then this may be a book you enjoy more than I did. The writing style and structure of the novel was super on point. It had a great pace.