Author: Sarah Ready
Welcome to Romeo, NY where it’s not a matter of if you find your soul mate, only when.
Book-loving librarian Jessie has loved Gavin Williams for practically her whole life. So when a psychic predicts that Gavin is Jessie’s one fated soul mate, she’s ecstatic.
There’s just one itty bitty little problem.
Gavin’s engaged to marry another woman.
What’s a book lover to do? Easy. Check out dozens of romance books, study the (totally realistic) way characters fall in love, and make a foolproof plan on how to win her soul mate (in one week).
Meet cute? Check.
Dance under the stars? Check.
Kiss in the rain? Check.
Romance books don’t lie – it’ll all go perfectly.
Except, there’s another problem. Gavin’s twin brother: William Williams IV.
Jessie has hated William for as long as she’s loved his brother. William is grump to Jessie’s sunshine, stand-offish to her extrovert, cold to her warm. And when William learns of Jessie’s plan to derail his brother’s engagement he swears that he’ll do anything to stop her.
But after William and Jessie (unwillingly) share a dance…a romantic dinner…a kiss…Jessie starts to wonder, is William actually her soul mate? Or is this just another one of his games?
She can’t tell, because this romance definitely isn’t going by the book.
Romance by the Book returns readers to Romeo, New York, the Official Town of Love USA. Although this is the third novel in the series, it can be read as a standalone since a new couple is featured in each novel. Now that Chloe (Chasing Romeo) and Veronica (Love Not at First Sight) went through their journey to be with their soul mate, it is time for their friend Jessie, who works at the local Romeo Public Library and teaches a seniors’ computer skills class, to find hers. Miss Erma, the official soul mate psychic, who also has a 100% success rate, has finally seen Jessie’s soul mate! Erma tells Jessie that her soul mate is the Williams boy that she has loved since she was a little girl. When she was younger, Jessie met one Williams boy when she was eight years old soon after her mother’s funeral. He called her ugly and pushed her in the mud. Afterwards, she met the other Williams boy who took her to climb a tree and offered to be friends. She is excited to learn that it is the second boy who is her soul mate!
The two Williams boys are fraternal twins (almost identical). William Williams IV is 28 and has been busy running their family’s international accounting firm, Williams and Williams. While he has loved Jessie since they were younger, his twin brother Gavin that has Jessie’s attention. Unfortunately, Gavin is set to marry Lacey Duporte, an an ER physician for Doctors without Borders, who he met while traveling in Cambodia. Not only did they bond while adventuring together, their union has a business benefit as well. Lacey’s father, Alan Duporte, is the owner and CEO of their largest competitor and their pending acquisition. Even with the “obstacle” of the fiancé, Jessie is determined to be together with her soul mate, Gavin. She creates a plan to use all the romantic clichés, from bumping into each other on the street to eating spaghetti Lady and the Tramp-style, in order to get Gavin to recognize that they belong together. When William learns of Jessie’s plan, he is determined to stand in her way to protect everyone involved with various motivations for each party.
The general concept of a woman trying to match up with her soul mate, who is already engaged to someone else, may not be for everyone. I admit that it is not for me almost every time, but the story makes a lot of sense with this set-up. Gavin, William, and Jessie all have backstories that support their motivations in this type of scenario. The duel point of view also supports this concept as the reader gets an insight into both Jessie and William’s lives, including Gavin’s through William’s perspective. Each action and personality trait for the characters initially seem one way, but they are revealed to the reader over time. At first, Jessie’s determination to go after an engaged man might seem a little over the top with her efforts, but they make a lot of sense by the end of the story. Both Williams and Gavin’s motivations are not clear to the reader with only some pieces given, but, again, everything comes together in the end. For me, I greatly enjoy these types of stories as the reader follows along the character’s journey and “watches” them development as the story moves forward.
Overall, this was a fantastic addition to the Soul Mates in Romeo series. Each couple, so far, have all been a delight, so it is difficult to pick only one. I enjoy how the author takes the same soul mates concept set in this small town and manages to create unique stories. Chloe, Veronica, and Jessie may all go through soul mate journeys, but they are completely different from each other’s. Each story is filled with humor and heart, while providing an excellent easy escapism read. So far, I have finished each of the three novels in one sitting as it is easy to get caught up in the stories. I cannot wait to read the next novel as the town of Romeo still provides very sweet love stories!
**I give a special thank you to Book Sprout and the author for the opportunity to read this entertaining novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**