I’m actually going to start this review by talking about reading diversely, and how we all should be doing it. And by that, I mean that you don’t necessarily have to read out of your comfort zone. If you read light and fluffy romance and you get the cold shakes at reading something deep and painful and meaningful, you don’t have to go read The Color Purple or The Hate U Give just to read books by diverse authors. It’s okay. Trust me. You’re still covered.
And if contemporary romance featuring real characters with exactly the same kind of personality flaws and personal life challenges as you and people just like you face is your jam, but those people just happen to be Black, then you should absolutely be reading Therese Beharrie.
Angie hasn’t dealt with the death of her father three years ago. Taking off immediately for a job teaching English in Korea, she’s delayed her return to Cape Town and her dependent, needy mother and younger sisters long enough. Taking that last step is proving a difficult one, though, so making one last stop in the town where she has a great many memories is just another way to put off the inevitable. Stumbling into the middle of a wedding and immediately being mistaken for one of the bridal party? Not something she’s ready to deal with.
Enter Ezra, apparently the only man in town NOT there for the wedding. He’s gentleman enough to answer Angie’s hopeful plea for a rescue from wedding hell, but he’s got his own demons… and his own reasons for being in Caledon on that precise day.
The two of them strike sparks straight away. Angie challenges Ezra, doesn’t let him get away with any assumptions, and in return refuses to let her continue to hide from what she’s been avoiding facing for too long. Together, they have a fun, incredible day, ranging from taking part in a Christmas parade to a hilarious ad-lib Nativity play, ending with some passionate but not quite complete encounters, and a morning after where both of them have to look deep into their own hearts and find the courage to take the next step.
There was only one thing that set my teeth on edge in this book - well, two, but they were part of the same issue. Ezra is a lecturer in Women’s Studies, and though I freely admit I know nothing about the field, a man in that job seems like the literal pinnacle of mansplaining, and considering Angie called him on mansplaining other things, I was a bit surprised she didn’t make that jab. It seemed it would have been in character for her to do that. At least she tore him a new one on the other issue I had, his contempt for those who read and write romance novels, and surely if any man should know better, it’s one who’s a lecturer in Women’s Studies!
Even so, that minor issue certainly didn’t inhibit my enjoyment of this fun, charming, poignant story of two people falling deeply and genuinely in love, which is what is at the core of this story. The fact that they don’t share my skin color? Completely irrelevant. Their love story is what shone through, and the reason why I’m happy to give this charming book five stars.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review through NetGalley.