Rating: ★★+.5 | 3/2/2018 | 384 pages | Avon | Contemporary | Cupid, Texas #6
After a bitter divorce Ember Azalte is back in her hometown of Cupid, Texas where she’s fashioned herself into something of a matchmaker. Her current prospect is Ranger Lockhart, her childhood best friend now brother-in-law back in town from a year abroad. A year away has made Ranger realize he only has eyes for Ember…if only he could tell her that without ruining their lifelong friendship.
As I’m sure 90% of you have already put together, yes, yes this is an Emma inspired romance.
I’ve been reading a lot of Lori Wilde for Avon Addicts and she writes playfully warm contemporary romances with a little Texas twang. I loved that Ember was an impulsive extrovert who existed opposite the more introverted and pragmatic Ranger who (as I’m sure you tell by the cover) is a post doc astrobiologist. Their life-long friendship felt authentic. This is also a slo-o-o-ow burn romance, like they don’t get together as a couple until like 90% in and then it moves at a break neck pace as they go almost immediately to the black moment and HEA.
All that said, the way in which this book used Native American culture feels incredibly cringe-y. Ember is half Apache and we get a lot of the spiritual parts of Native Americans without any real nuance. I understand half-Native is a common trope in western romances but there are just a few moments where characters make rude comments towards Native Americans and it’s kind of treated like nothing. The worst is a flashback where as children Ember and Ranger are playing with a knife and Ranger’s stepmom sees them and says Ember is trying to scalp Ranger and I’m just like wow, we’re really going to have a character make a racist statement and just blow over it ? Was it supposed to be funny to the reader ?
I’m not saying authors needs to write political thinkpieces but you just can’t strip a culture down to it’s pretty mystical parts. Ranger has this minor backstory about being sick as a child that you don’t really need so I don’t see they couldn’t stick in some of the cultural back story with Ember. In the book Ember has been recruited to make a tourist film about the town’s white founders. Why not make it about the Native American that used to live there ?
Maybe this stuff is fleshed out better in the other books about Ember’s relatives, but I’m rating this one and while the book was passable I have to drop it a star because this stuff bothered me. It’s 2018, ya’ll.
ARC received as part of the Avon Addicts program