Veronica Welch has spent the last seven years focused on one thing, making partner at her prestigious New York law firm. She’s been single-minded in that pursuit. Well, almost single-minded. She and her coworker, Avery, had a fleeting relationship that devolved into a friends-with-benefits situation, but Veronica quickly realized that type of thing wasn’t for her. With her 35th birthday just around the corner, there is one more goal she has yet to attain. It turns out, Veronica wants the white picket fence and the 2.5 kids with a woman who is nothing less than her soulmate. In a moment of weakness (too many cocktails), she reveals her dream to her quirky personal assistant, Bea.
Bea immediately jumps at the chance to find her boss the perfect woman. What better, more efficient way than to use a dating app? Much to Veronica’s consternation, Bea sets up 30 dates over the course of 30 days. A very reluctant Veronica decides to go along with the plan as long as those dates are scheduled at the same bar. Why not? She can conduct them like job interviews and see if one of the women has that spark she is looking for.
Rachel Monaghan has no shortage of female companionship, but she rarely moves past a first date. She’s a wedding photographer to the rich and famous and has seen plenty of marriages end in divorce. Plus, she’s been burned by love, so a relationship is the last thing she’s looking for.
Rachel helps out at her cousin’s bar. She can’t help but notice the beautiful woman in the power suits who comes into the bar once a week, at the same time to share a drink with a new woman. When Rachel finds out why Veronica is at Monaghan’s every week, she thinks the plan is ridiculous. Rachel doesn’t shy away from making her feelings known with acerbic remarks and her own advice.
There is an undeniable chemistry between Veronica and Rachel. At first, they think it’s merely a physical attraction, but over time, they realize it’s much more. Veronica isn’t looking for anything casual. Rachel isn’t looking for anything long-term. Do they stand a chance at finding their happily ever after, or is it just not meant to be?
Veronica is so easy to like. Of course, she is gorgeous and successful, but she is that rare main character who isn’t weighed down by a devastating backstory. Don’t get me wrong. I love a character with a past that haunts her and informs her decisions in the here and now, but it was a nice change of pace to encounter a character who had a stable childhood with loving parents. Veronica is very straightforward. She isn’t ashamed that she wants the wife and kids to complement her career. She isn’t too proud to admit that the dating app approach to finding true love really isn’t working for her. When she realizes Rachel’s who she wants, she doesn’t employ any coy machinations to get the girl. She’s upfront with Rachel, and she’s willing to put her feelings on the line. I love that kind of quiet strength and confidence?
Oh Rachel. Who doesn’t love a cocky playgirl who oozes sex appeal but goes out of her way to protect her fragile heart? From the minute Rachel took notice of Veronica, I knew the crux of the romance wasn’t going to be about Veronica’s 30 dates. I had no idea just how deeply I was going to care about Rachel. There’s a lot more to her than the façade she wears like a suit of armor. Her sharp wit and obvious charm make her irresistible, but wow, I didn’t expect so much depth to her character. She’s scared to death to risk her heart, and rightfully so. Spencer provides a couple of shocking truths from Rachel’s past that just broke my heart. The book starts off centered around Veronica’s search for love, but the real emotional work in the story is Rachel’s recovery from a broken heart and her willingness to step out of the past that has kept her prisoner.
The Writing Style
I eased into 30 Dates in 30 Days like it was a king-sized bed with crisp, fresh sheets. Spencer’s writing is clean and efficient. She gracefully introduces the main characters, and they instantly come to life with her sparkling dialogue. The plot naturally unfolds at a lovely pace and there are surprises that I did not see coming. Spencer is adept at dropping an emotional bombshell at just the right time for maximum impact. She adds her own brand of flair, making the romance formula feel new and fresh. Victoria likes.
For fans of Spencer’s The Road to Madison, Madison and Ana make an appearance in 30 Dates in 30 Days. It was so nice to meet up with them to see how their shared life was working out. They aren’t there simply as something cool for fans. Their presence is a catalyst that moves the story along, and it helps Rachel come to terms with the heartache from her past. Don’t worry, if you haven’t read The Road to Madison, you won’t feel like you’re missing out.
The ending of the book felt rushed to me. I definitely got my happily ever after, but I wanted, needed, one more scene. Perhaps, Veronica and Rachel will make an appearance in Spencer’s next book so I can bask in their perfect pairing.
30 Dates in 30 Days is a lovely addition to Spencer’s body of work. I’m thrilled when I read characters who make me smile and laugh. The bits of banter and sarcasm between Veronica and Rachel highlight their chemistry, and I was all-in on the two of them finding true love. The actual premise of the book was fun, and I haven’t read anything quite like it. The angst factor was just enough to make me want to pull Rachel aside for a good talking to without me throwing my hands in the air and yelling, “Enough with the drama, ladies!” The story is also populated with a great supporting cast of characters; there are the regulars from the bar, who are warm and generous, and a couple of Veronica’s colleagues, who add a lot of spice to the book. Spencer has crafted another fun romance, and I’m already looking forward to her next book.
Excerpt from 30 Dates in 30 Days by Elle Spencer
Veronica was dead serious about what she’d said. The courtroom didn’t scare her at all. She thrived in the courtroom. She relished it when she got the judge wrapped around her little finger. But trying to seduce a woman turned her into an anxiety-ridden mess. She took a breath and said, “I’ve been watching you all day. Is that creepy?”
“I’ve been taking pictures of you all day. Is that creepy?”
That made Veronica smile. “No, but only because you’re a photographer.”
“Oh, good. Please, go on.”
“I wanted that dance tonight.” That almost felt like too much honesty, but Veronica took another deep breath. “I looked for you.”
“I’m sorry I wasn’t there.”
“Me too. Is this working?”
“It’s working,” Rachel said. “Keep going.”
The air between them felt thick. Veronica found it increasingly hard to breathe and felt grateful she was sitting. But if she wanted that kiss, she needed to be brave, so she stood and moved closer. She rested a hand on Rachel’s thigh to steady herself. “I’ve been attracted to you from day one.” She felt like such a dork saying that out loud that she wanted to cover her eyes, then she felt Rachel’s hand on her hip.
“Your bridesmaid’s dress today? My God,” Rachel said.
Veronica needed to touch Rachel somewhere. Anywhere. She needed to feel her skin. With a feather-light touch, she put her hand on Rachel’s arm, just below the sleeve of her T-shirt. “You liked that dress?”
“Stunning. The sexiest bridesmaid’s dress I’ve ever seen. I think Tiffany is a saint for letting you wear it.”
It had never been like this for Veronica before. She’d certainly experienced the excitement of something new and even raw lust from time to time. Granted, not many times, but she wasn’t counting. Especially not now. What was happening with Rachel felt like more than that. She caressed Rachel’s arm with her thumb. “Am I close to getting a kiss?”
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Bits and Bobs
ISBN number: 9781635554984
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
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