Desert Isle Keeper
What You Need
What You Need by Lorelei James kicks off the Need You series about the wealthy offspring of the Lund family of Minneapolis-St. Paul. Lund Industries Chief Financial Officer Brady Lund is everything Lennox Greene isn’t: wealthy, blue-blooded, well-educated, and secure in his employment. But Lennox connects to something in Brady as well – the side of him that has fun, that takes risks, and that has been neglected for eighty-hour work weeks that enabled him to become the youngest CFO in family history. Lennox, meanwhile, has deliberately distanced herself from her dysfunctional childhood and hard-partying early years, where she traveled with a band and got the tattoos she now assiduously covers up at the workplace (which happens to be Lund Industries). She is a hard worker hoping to make a real success of her life. Can Brady and Lennox find each other and a healthy balance between work and life – and will they like and respect each other in their new forms?
Normally, books like these feature generic thirty-something CEO heroes of generic companies and their generic work tasks and generic model/socialite ex-girlfriends. Brady Lund is emphatically not that hero. Socially awkward, Brady was bullied in school and has had minimal relationships since. His CFO work tasks suit his personality, and he’s distinct from other family members like his outgoing PR manager sister Annika or his cousin the social butterfly, whom he has to ask for a recommendation for a nightclub to take Lennox to.
I liked Lennox and her work ethic, which gives her and Brady common ground. (I also loved her social worker roommate, who is one of the rare secondary characters I see and think ‘Oh, I want her sequel.’) Lennox has a push-pull with the figures of her early life, including ones who want to take advantage of her new financial health. She’s also right to completely lose it with Brady when he takes backwards steps in balancing his personal life and his career. This is a woman who expects to have to fight for respect, but is willing to do that. We could all be a little more Lennox.
The Minnesota setting feels authentic. Brady takes Lennox to the family’s cabin in the woods for cross-country skiing. When they go to a nightclub, they walk via the skyway system (which I’ve never seen mentioned in a Minneapolis book before, and which I googled and is seriously cool). Lennox’s roommate’s work in poor areas, and the bar where Lennox used to work and where she sees Brady, provide a realistic counterpoint to what would otherwise be a purely affluent and corporate setting. Speaking of the corporate setting, I really enjoyed the that and the politics around Lennox’s department. The climax, where Brady has to investigate an issue that affects Lennox, is satisfyingly specific.
This is a book I simply enjoyed. There’s bad feelings from everyone’s pasts, but nothing angsty or too traumatic. There are tons of siblings, but they’re not perfection for sequels, coming across as unique and human and sometimes even – gasp – annoying, like real siblings! Do you want a rich-hero fantasy fulfillment that goes above and beyond to also be, frankly, a really good book? If the answer to that is ‘yes!’, What You Need is, well, what you need.
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I'm a history geek and educator, and I've lived in five different countries in North America, Asia, and Europe. In addition to the usual subgenres, I'm partial to YA, Sci-fi/Fantasy, and graphic novels. I love to cook.