Author: Sarah Grunder Ruiz
Narrator: Karissa Vacker
Audiobook Length: 9 hours 20 minutes
They have a second chance at love, but there are some rough seas ahead in the new contemporary romance from the acclaimed author of Love, Lists, and Fancy Ships
Commitment-phobe Nina Lejeune lives by two rules:
1. Always have fun.
2. Don’t rely on anyone but yourself.
The first rule is easy; the second, she’s only broken once.
Ten years after fleeing home, Nina is the chief stewardess on the super yacht Serendipity, single by choice, and perfectly content with how life has turned out.
But Nina’s ex-coworker and old flame, Irish chef Ollie Dunne, isn’t so happy with the status quo. One year after leaving yachting, he’s returned as the Serendipity’s chef with an ultimatum: if Nina continues to deny she’s in love with him by the end of this charter season, he’ll go back to Ireland for good.
Nina and Ollie’s shared secret from their past threatens to shipwreck not only their relationship, but the entire boat. But as their connection grows amidst chaotic guests and crew drama, could there be smooth sailing in their future?
Luck and Last Resorts is the second standalone novel in the Love, Lists, and Fancy Ships series. This continues to be a nice homage to the TV show Below Deck with the continued trend of including a ton of direct lines and other reference, including Captain Lee’s introduction line of “Don’t embarrass yourself and don’t embarrass the boat.” The two main characters are even inspired by two Below Decks alums, Chief Stewardess Kate Chastain, and Chef Ben Robinson, who had a similar dynamic.
Nina Lejeune begins her yachting career after trying to find the next step when her promising Olympic gymnastic career came shattering down. When she boards a yacht to interview for a stew job, I really became unsure of her character. She came across as very selfish and unlikable and I cannot see why she was hired. She meets yacht chef Ollie Dunne and the two of them do not get off on the right foot. The timeline jumps around from Nina’s first day of the charter season to nine years earlier. The timelines then move between these two moments in time. The present day one goes through the charter season and the past works its way forward to meet the present day one. Through this dual timeline, the reader follows the ten-year causal friendship/relationship of Nina and Ollie.
Their relationship is complicated, especially with commitment-phobe, Nina, who has trust issues based off her past. She self-sabotages her life while holding on to a lot of resentment. Her character was written in a realistic way as Nina is self-aware of her issues, but she can’t seem to break the cycle to help herself. I can see where the author was going with her character, but, for me, this part of her character is overshadowed by her meanness, especially to her best friend Jo. Even if she has internal struggle, I wish she did not project this negativity on others that do not deserve it. As her on/off goes on with Ollie for ten years and he seems to clearly want more, it just seemed odd that nothing was done or said in that entire time.
Overall, I do love that both characters are in the early 30s (I believe both were 32). Even though they both were in yachting since their early twenties, it was nice to see “older” yachties. It is a very minor detail in the grand scheme, but I love the fact that Ollie is 5’9” as it is very refreshing to finally have a main love interest who is less than the “standard” 6’. Ollie and Nina have great chemistry and their ups and downs were interesting. They have some moments as enemies, they have some as just friends, some with friends with benefits, and some romantic. There is a lot of back and forth between these, so even though readers know how it will end, it is still an interesting journey. Aside from Nina’s character, I did enjoy the structure of the story and the intent behind the personalities of the two characters. The author’s style continues to intrigue me, and I cannot wait to try more from the author in the future.
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