Review: La Vie en Rose by Lydia Michaels

La Vie en RoseReviewed by Shelly

I’ve read a few stories by this author and they’ve all been interesting in their own right. I’ve not liked them all with equal fervor, but the themes have varied and that’s what made me read this. The blurb was loose in the description of the sequence of events, and there’s no hint of the heroine or hero’s age but I should have known. The stories (Breaking Perfect and the Surrender Trilogy) I’ve read by Michaels have always had a young heroine while the hero is a tad bit older, but the hero has always had wealth to fall back on. I say that to say this – what happened to Emma is tragic, it really is, but if I had my druthers (which I don’t) I would have had the financial aspect be that additional burden that we mere mortals all struggle with.

Emma Sanders is 24 years old and living the life she’s always dreamed of, almost. Emma’s engaged to the son of one of the partners at the law firm where she’s employed as a PA. She’s a few months away from the wedding, and she’s knee deep in making plans and choosing that right wedding gown. Answering the door on a not spectacularly interesting day, Emma gets a surprise visit from her fiancé who breaks up with her – at the front door. Classy. It turns out that he’s in love with someone else.

This sets Emma off on a crying/ice cream eating/alcoholic induced bender. Her roommates, Riley and Rarity Lockhart, are left to help Emma deal with this update. Well, that’s not quite true either – Emma’s best friend, Rarity, is traveling to a job and can’t watch over her friend. While she’s gone, Rarity elects Riley as the next man up to watch over Emma and his one job is to make sure she doesn’t call the ex. One job.

Riley’s not interested in this job. He only knows Emma as his sister’s best friend and their roommate. He doesn’t know Emma nor does he want to, but he knows that she ate his ice cream. After a few hours of a pity party, Emma decides that the easiest way to get over her ex is the ole fashioned way, so she enlists Riley to fix her up with one of his friends. That’s a debacle, but things move on, and Riley and Emma finally start become friends.

The progression from friends to lovers happens quickly to me. Riley kept saying that Emma’s a beautiful person (on the inside) but the thing is, Emma never changed, she was always the same, so I kept wondering how Riley never ‘saw’ her before. There was something there that didn’t feel like sparks, from a romance perspective, but I also know that I was supposed to like this story a whole lot more that I did. Some of it felt long, but that’s because the reader has courtside seats to the daily grind between these two.

At 26, Riley is working at a bartender for a local inn where he makes decent money – well, enough to pay his share of their NY condo rent and all his incidentals. Riley has no plans for the future. He’s just going along to get along. I’m not sure what his goals would have been without Emma’s presence; I’m not sure that he’s enough of a self-motivator to do better for just himself. But it seemed a lot of his choices were based on his family’s wealth. What got me about both Riley and his sister, Rarity, is the absolute disgust they have for both of their parents. They’ve got the ‘mean’ parents while Emma’s got the ‘loving’ parents . (I’m absolutely over that mean parent crutch.) But I digress.

There’s a lot to like in this story. The romance between Riley and Emma was actually very touching. Riley’s a nice guy – he’s loyal to the woman he loves and to his sister. He’s got a good heart but this is weird for me to say, but Riley was too nice and too perfect, especially for someone that age and somewhat lack of maturity, for what Emma was dealing with.

There’s romance, tragedy, restoration, ups and downs; there’s cancer and all the emotions that can be squeezed out of that insidious disease and then the unnecessary social commentary (think GMOs) which doesn’t belong in romance. In the end, if you’re in the mood for a overly sweet romance about a couple of mid-20 year olds dealing with some heavy issues, give this one a go.

Happy reading folks!

Rating: C

*ARC provided by publisher via NetGalley

Click to purchase: Amazon

La Vie en Rose {Life in Pink}
by Lydia Michaels
Release Date: April 12, 2016

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