All the Way
Kristen Proby opens up a new contemporary romance series set in New York, featuring a troupe of dysfunctional siblings with All the Way, a romance between an actress and a lawyer.
Finn Cavanaugh is a highly successful lawyer with a lot on his plate. He owns a law firm with his brother Quinn and brother-in-law Carter, and is taking a vacation to care for his motherless teenaged niece, Gabby, in the peace and quiet of Martha’s Vinyard. His peace is punctuated by his pursuit of a beautiful but troubled young actress.
Jet-setting Tony winner London Watson has a lot going on, too. Trying to clear out her family’s expensive and oversized mansion in the wake of the deaths of her parents while rehabilitating a badly broken leg that results in her being fired from the cast of the Broadway play in which she featured, she’s also planning on a summer of peace and quiet on the Vinyard, away from her addict brother Kyle. Those hopes are quickly dashed, as she’s next door to Finn – who happened to be her legal representative in the reading of her parent’s will, and she is both intrigued by his attractiveness and charmed by Gabby‘s theatre-obsessed belting. Finn already offered to take her out in the wake of the dramatic reading of her parent’s will; now that she’s trying to guide Gabby through the rites and passages of life, Finn is quite tempted to ask again.
He does, and they begin dating, but between Kyle, Finn’s mother, his busybody brothers and London’s career issues, their romance turns out to be the easiest part of their complicated lives. Will they make it to their happily ever after?
All The Way is lightweight, which isn’t the worst thing a book can be. It’s a fluffy story about fluffy matters, and there’s very little conflict that isn’t solved quickly, probably due to the fairly short length of the novel.
There’s not much by the way of plot for the majority of the book; there’s no real conflict between our hero and heroine, and thus no major plot friction until shortly before the end. The identity of the villain is painfully obvious, and the book’s needlessly melodramatic final act ends up working against it.
London and Finn have a funny, playful relationship – funny, playful and a little bit dull. Watching them awkwardly squirt each other with crab juice on their first date is somewhere between playful, gross and sit-commish; Finn is irritatingly pushy though, and considering the speed at which their relationship develops, their sole major conflict is a bit ludicrous.
Everyone feels a little wooden, a little cardboart cut-our; sometimes that’s a fun thing, but sometimes it results in bland characterization, as with Gabby and Kyle’s relationship most of the time. Finn and London are both decent enough people, but the novel doesn’t let them spend a lot of time getting to know one another; they’re ready to jump into bed within the first sixty pages. It all moves way too fast for something that starts as a client-employee relationship. Also, as a Massachusetts native, I was disappointed with the lack of detail in the mostly-Martha’s Vinyard setting.
All The Way isn’t Proby’s best; disjointed and snoozy, with more color it could’ve flown higher. As it is, it’s just mediocre.