Down With Love
In Down with Love, Charlie Love and Max Henderson are at two opposite ends of the wedding industry. Charlie is a wedding planner, and a damn good one, and Max is a divorce attorney, and a damn good one. They meet when Max’s brother hires Charlie for his wedding and they hate each other immediately. But like every good enemies-to-lovers tale, hate is not the opposite of love at all. They absolutely find a satisfying HEA in this delightful, if uneven, kick off to a new series.
Max Henderson is your bog standard player when we meet him. He comes from money, but also now earns a ton as one of the best divorce attorneys in the city, and blames his profession for his aversion to commitment. He does, however, love his brother, which is why he’s pissed that James is getting married after only dating for a short time. Max, in his infinite wisdom is sure the marriage is doomed and, while he agrees to be his brother’s best man, his PoV tells us he’s not happy about it.
Charlie Love has worked hard for every piece of success and security she now has. She is a 24/7 wedding planner, which is how she got dragged out for drinks with her newest client and there meets Max. Their chemistry may be instantaneous, but so is her aversion to him. Sure, he’s drop dead gorgeous and oozes charisma, but he’s also a cynic and a player.
This story progresses exactly as it’s supposed to, complete with Ms. Meader’s ability to write sparkling and sexy dialogue and to let us into her character’s heads in a way that sucks readers in quickly. The issue I have with it is that it progresses exactly as it’s supposed to too slowly. There are about fifty pages of this story that just rehash conversation we’ve already been privy to and my patience wore thin. I think this particular story would have been stronger if it had clocked in at around 200 pages.
Besides the slightly flabby pacing, there’s something else that dragged the grade down for me. These two are super sexual, both in their fantasies and in their practice, and they get there quickly. Ms. Meader is an expert writer of sex scenes and her talents shine in this book, by the way. Great, awesome, that’s what enemies-to-lovers stories usually do and so check that box. What was slightly off pace was the rate at which they switched from being sexual, to banter, to deep emotional disclosures, back to sexual, back to emotional with no clear transitions between. Yes, sex brings out emotional safety in many characters – so this may seem a weird or puritanical criticism, but the timing of some of it here feels odd and/or rushed and/or dragged out.
Other than the issues with the pacing, I found Down With Love to be a perfectly lovely work from a really solid author who I can always count on to deliver a satisfying HEA. While this book is easily my least favorite of those she’s put out, it will in no way deter me from diving right into whatever she gives us next.