Blog Tour and Book Review: Here to Stay by Adriana Herrera
This is the first book I’ve read by this author, and it definitely won’t be the last, because I was charmed by every bit of this romance. From the heroine Julia’s loving Afro-Caribbean family she adores but can’t be around too much because she finds them smothering, to her found-family of New York expats suffering in the cultural desert of Dallas, Texas (lol), Herrera skilfully draws a picture of a successful professional woman making her own way in the world, self-sufficient despite an ex doing her dirty.
It’s the hero Rocco whose life is messy, who needs to achieve and earn more in order to get his sister and nephew away from their abusive parents. This is where the conflict comes in, because in order to achieve his goals, Rocco has to do a job that will very likely cause Julia to lose hers… and hers matters to a lot of people who need her, because she runs a major social work program, funded by the charitable donations of an upscale department store.
Rocco and Julia have fantastic chemistry together, and there are some wonderful (and wonderfully diverse) side characters determined to see them find a happy ending, but life sometimes does set people up in opposition to each other, and that’s what has happened here. Perhaps the only thing I didn’t like is that Julia was essentially passive in the final major decision; she really had no role to play. It was Rocco’s sister who convinced him to make a recommendation he could live with, and it could still have cost Julia dear. Again… that’s representative of real life when sometimes it really is a Hobson’s choice, so I’m not going to knock any stars off for it. Julia and Rocco found their way to a happy ending for themselves and those they loved best, and in a way that didn’t require either of them to compromise their principles. It was believable and beautiful, and I really bought into their romance. I especially loved the portrayal of Julia’s family as a pack of healthy, loving Afro-Caribbean New Yorkers (and oh, the descriptions of the food!) I did read an ARC of this where the brand Goya was mentioned prominently; I’m going to guess that might be hastily edited out in the final edition (lol again).
Five stars for a gorgeous contemporary romance where there are no easy choices, but the couple find their way to a happy ending anyway.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley.