Laurie Nielsen has been at it non-stop for a few years, planning and working towards launching a theme park in Japan. When her chronic 18+ hour days leads to a medical crisis, she’s forced into the personal hell of taking a vacation on one of her company’s family-themed Caribbean cruises.
Laurie hates the cruise, but slowly starts to unwind, sleep off her exhaustion, and eventually gets off the boat to explore. When she charters a small craft from Kaatje Hoogaboom, she quickly learns that not everyone has the same work obsession she does, even if she doesn’t understand it. Despite always identifying as straight, there’s something about Kaatje, and missing her chance to rejoin the cruise gives her the opportunity to explore it. She can’t stay on vacation forever though, and phone, Skype, and email can only take them so far. Can their relationship survive Laurie’s career and Kaatje’s commitment to her own carefree lifestyle?
Laurie is not easy to like at first, and I found her difficult to relate to because I’m not a workaholic. That said, Susan X Meagher does a wonderful job developing her character, and we get to see Laurie change and grow as she becomes involved with Kaatje and eventually realizes she’s in love with her. She may have to make compromises for Kaatje, but I love that it happened in a way that was true to who she is as a person.
Kaatje has to make her own compromises for Laurie and has her own growth and journey as a character. Although Smooth Sailing is told almost entirely from Laurie’s perspective, we see a lot of who Kaatje is through Laurie and their interactions. Laurie is so strong willed that it would have been easy for a partner to be steamrolled by her and her impossible schedule, so I was happy to see Kaatje communicate what she needed from their relationship, rather than simply cave to her.
The Writing Style
The language and writing style totally sucked me in and had me captivated from beginning to end. Not a lot happens in terms of storyline because it’s a character-driven story, and I was fully invested in who these women were as individuals and as a couple.
Laurie’s journey was probably my favourite element of Smooth Sailing, but really, I loved everything.
The cover doesn’t do the book justice at all. If you’re hesitating to read it because of the cover, I’d urge you to at least download a sample and give it a try.
If you like character-driven romances, definitely check out Smooth Sailing. I loved every page and hated that it had to end.
Excerpt from Smooth Sailing by Susan X Meagher
Kaatje put her arms around Laurie’s neck and pulled her into a long, luxurious kiss. “Did you like your first time?” The question was nonchalant, and Laurie took a moment to let it register.
“Oh, God, was it that obvious?” She buried her head in the crook of Kaatje’s neck.
“No, not at all.” Kaatje cupped her cheek and forced her to raise her head. “I’m really happy that you chose me to be your first.”
Smiling, Laurie said, “I think you chose me. I never would have had the nerve to kiss you.” She kissed her quickly, glad she could do it without reserve. “When did you know?”
“It wasn’t any one thing. It was the sum of a bunch of little clues. I’m glad I wasn’t wrong,” she said, chuckling. “Can you imagine how insulting that would have been if you’d had sex with women hundreds of times?” She laughed harder, the sound carrying across the dark, calm water.
“How did you know?” Laurie asked again. “Tell me. I must have seemed like I didn’t have a clue.”
“No, not true. You seemed like someone who knew how to make love. Just not in this variety. Like when I asked you what you liked. You acted like no one had ever asked you that before.”She smiled impishly. “That sounds like someone who’s only been with men.”
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9780983275817
- Publisher: Brisk Press
Susan X Meagher Online
Note: I received a free review copy of Smooth Sailing by Susan X Meagher. No money was exchanged for this review. I will always review books as honestly as possible and on occasion I refuse to review books.