Falling for Autumn
I love contemporary romances set in big cities, so this second in Ms. Green’s Bare Sophistication series featuring three sisters who own a high end Chicago lingerie boutique seemed perfect. Unfortunately, a great setting can’t make up for an unlikable heroine. Nor can it make up for such stylistic issues as a tendency to “tell” rather than “show” the characters’ traits, abrupt transitions within chapters and sudden changes in POV that forced me to reread passages to attempt to make sense of the text.
The prologue starts in the middle of a disagreement between Autumn Dupree and Ajay Reed. Autumn’s sister and Ajay’s brother (the hero and heroine of the Enticing Winter, the first in the series) have summoned them to a meeting, and while they wait for their siblings to arrive, Autumn lectures Ajay about the unhealthy food he serves at his bars and lounges. Ajay mostly tunes Autumn out, puzzling over why he’s entranced by such a complicated, annoying woman. When their relatives arrive, they announce they’re planning a destination wedding in Bora Bora and want Autumn and Ajay to be their Maid of Honor and Best Man. Autumn isn’t happy with the position as she doesn’t believe in the “wedding enterprise” and makes her views known.
Skip ahead eight months, and Autumn’s still opinionated, still unhappy with the “wedding enterprise,” but goes along to make her sister happy. As Ajay and Autumn get involved with such things as invitations, themes, and travel logistics, and attend various parties, their relationship evolves. There is an overemphasis on such details as the settings for various pre-wedding and wedding events and Ajay’s and Autumn’s clothes, as well as numerous trivial pre-wedding issues, that shortchanged both the plot and character development. There are also far too many characters from the authors’ previous books making cameo appearances for my taste. I would have preferred more focus on Ajay and Autumn; as a result, their interactions during the first part of the story feel superficial.
I had major problems with Autumn for the first half of the novel. She spends a lot of time thinking about – or telling others – how she’s different, socially awkward, and too intelligent for most men. I could have done with a lot less telling and far more showing of how she’s actually different and intelligent. Pretty much all I did see is that Autumn’s very opinionated.
Eventually Ajay and Autumn open up to each other and get beyond the superficial to reveal major formative events in their lives, both of them having suffered traumas that shaped who they are as adults. I found the reveal about Ajay’s background well done and interesting. Autumn’s childhood experiences were especially painful; if revealed earlier – at least to the reader – they might have made her more sympathetic a character in the early stages.
The last third of the book is more enjoyable than the beginning; it doesn’t feel as uneven or as choppy. If the first section had been more like this my grade would be higher, because for most of the first half of the book, I vowed I’d never read anything by Ms. Greene again. Based on the last part of Falling for Autumn, I might actually consider it, but I’ll wait for someone else to review it first before taking the leap.