Review: The Allure of Attraction by Julia Kelly

Reviewed by Jen

I somehow missed that this was third book in a series when I picked this up, but it held up fine as a standalone. In fact, I would go so far as to say that despite the fact this is dubbed a Matchmaker of Edinburgh story, I’m skeptical about the matchmaker element at all, because though a matchmaker character existed, I don’t think she had anything to do with the hero and heroine getting together at all.

This is both an enemies to lovers and second chance at love story. Andrew and Lavina were teenage sweethearts who were deeply in love. Andrew went off to make a name and money for himself on the high seas, but was in a terrible accident and presumed dead. When he made it back home a year later, Lavina was married to someone else. Understandably, he was heartbroken, but he was also cruel, lashing out at her and turning his back on his old life, planning never to return to it again.

Fast forward a dozen years and Andrew is ready to retire. But the foreign office of the Navy has one more mission for him: foil an possible assassination plot against the prince. He’ll need to use a particular asset to do it, a woman close to the prime suspect; that woman, of course, is the now-widowed Lavina.

I liked the idea of this book because it promised lots of angst and it delivered, even a little bit more than I wanted it to. You see, Andrew never gave Lavina the chance to explain how she ended up married to another man. And he’s nursed his hatred for her all this time. I get that, but he held on to it even after he learned she was forced into that marriage… even after he fell back into bed with her… even after he recognized that he still loved her. An undying hurt, I understand. But that he held on to his anger… that he didn’t even consider trying to make things work again until the very last second… it crimped my enjoyment a bit.

Lavina was a pretty solid heroine. She’s built her life back up on her own terms after her heart and her fortune were torn to shreds. She owns her own business and finds self-worth in it. And when called on to help the crown, she does it, even if it is (in part) to pay off her brother’s debts. Lavina was more honest in her emotions with Andrew and I felt much more empathy for her as a result. I do wish, though, there had been a comeuppance for her brother. That thread was left hanging and I felt like he could have been a stronger character and helped her and Andrew find their way back together. He was, after all, Andrew’s best friend. But somehow, he’s become pretty worthless and we don’t know how or why it happened. I feel like he was a wasted opportunity from a story perspective.

The mystery plot was kind of meh. I figured it out pretty early on. Maybe I was supposed to, but it felt a little heavy handed in the clues.

It wasn’t a bad story, though. There was some good push-and-pull with the characters’ emotions and I got a HEA that satisfied.

Rating: B-

*ARC provided by publisher

Click to purchase: Amazon

The Allure of Attraction
by Julia Kelly
Release Date: June 25, 2018
Publisher: Pocket Star

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