Love at First Flight
Juliana Gregorio and Michael Maguire happen to be on the same flight from Baltimore to Florida, where both are going to meet their significant others – Juliana’s long-time boyfriend and Michael’s fiancé. They hit it off right away, and quickly become friends. However, when they meet again on a return flight at the end of the weekend, their circumstances have drastically changed. Juliana is taking a three-month break with her boyfriend after she suspects infidelity, and Michael has ended his relationship with his fiancé, who is selfish and has a manipulative and domineering father. Even though they hardly know one another, Michael offers Juliana a place to live while she sorts out her life.
Michael, however, is a prosecutor embroiled in a high-stakes mob murder trial, with a teenage witness in protective custody. As he and Juliana get closer, she becomes a target of the defendant’s associates. However, the greatest threat to their budding relationship isn’t the mob – it’s Juliana herself, as she refuses to let go of the relationship that she put on hold, despite her growing love for Michael.
I was hesitant when I read the summary, thinking that maybe there would be infidelity involved, which I don’t find terribly romantic. However, the author did a good job in keeping things separate; before Michael broke up with his fiancé and Juliana went on a break with her boyfriend, their connection was one of friendship, not romantic desire. There may have been some attraction, but it never moved beyond that until they were both (relatively) strings-free. However, I had a problem with how long things went on between Juliana and her boyfriend. While I understood it, I didn’t like it. It had its purpose and fit into the plot, but it was just frustrating for me to watch.
Michael, though, was a surprisingly good character. His treatment of his fiancé wasn’t exactly praiseworthy, but how he acted with Juliana was wonderful. It certainly shows the difference in respect and caring he has for the two women, despite his seemingly happy engagement. Juliana was a good character too, but the ending made me want to rip her hair out a bit – more out of frustration than dislike, though. However, Michael was memorably sweet and understanding, and despite my early misgivings I totally fell for him.
The writing was one of the biggest deterrents for me. It felt clunky, uneven, and unpolished for most of the book; there was contrived dialogue and emotionless narrative, and it just lacked smoothness. However, as the story went on, and I became more and more engrossed in Juliana and Michael’s romance, it became less and less of an issue for me.
I noticed something of a pattern in writing this review; most of my problems or concerns focused on the beginning of the book, and they disappeared as the book went on. Though the story isn’t perfect, it’s engaging and engrossing, and I became far more involved with the characters than I thought I would.