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Back to the Alphabet Variation Challenge:

Letter “F”

For the Letter “F”, I decided to read Avery Flynn’s The Schemer, published in 2018. This book is the third in a series that includes The Negotiator and The Charmer. (All of these book titles refer to the hero in the novel.)

In The Schemer, Tyler Jacobson is a highly successful business consultant. His background, however, was not very illustrious. His parents were working class and not very pleasant with each other or with him. As a result, as a young boy, he spent a great deal of time at the library immersing himself in books and at friends’ houses immersing himself in loving families. Ultimately, both of these outlets, helped Tyler to win a scholarship to prep school and on to a top university, and he never looked back. Tyler has spent most of his life denying his past. He’s ridden himself of his streetwise accent, mixes with only the “right people,” and has bought himself property and possessions that are top drawer. Tyler, long ago, moved out of his old neighborhood, but still sees his old friends every so often, even though there is some tension between them due to Tyler’s purposeful absence from their lives.

Enter Everly Ribinski. Everly has just moved into one of the buildings Tyler owns (and lives in) as well as renting retail space for an art gallery. Everly has something in common with her new landlord. She, too, is from a rough part of town. But, unlike Tyler, Everly has retained ties to her past, particularly to an ailing grandmother who helped her single mother raise her. She’s also retained her accent and her street smarts, and for the first time in a long time, something from the rougher neighborhoods in his past attracts Tyler. Everly and Tyler don’t hit it off straight away. But, shortly thereafter, their somewhat prickly attraction to each other overcomes them and they begin a frenemies with benefits relationship. In addition, Tyler learns that Everly is friends with an older, suave Italian hotel magnate with whom he desperately wants to do business. This latter situation allows Tyler to come to the realization that maybe he can be honest about himself and his past and still be accepted by his upper class friends and colleagues.

The Schemer is a pretty straightforward, sexy, enemies to lovers romance. It took me a bit of time to get through it due to attending Book Lovers’ Con, where it seems one doesn’t tend to read books … only acquire them. ;-) That being said, I managed to put The Schemer aside to do other things, so it wasn’t a hugely compelling read. What annoyed me a bit was the hero’s unrelenting denial of his past and his refusal to accept Everly and consider her good enough for a long term relationship, and therefore, consider himself good enough, period. That being said, Everly also had a chip on her shoulder concerning her deceased mother’s affair with her wealthy boss, who then denied both mother and child once she informed him she was pregnant. I have to say, I appreciated the book’s focus on these issues surrounding class and acceptance. These are themes of which I can relate, but I thought the barrier that they raised between the couple went on far too long. (I guess if I had read the first two books in the series, I might have gotten a better appreciation of the strength of the hold Tyler’s hang ups had on him.) On the upside, the book did have a nice older adults’ romance between the Italian hotel magnate and Everly and Tyler’s mutual friend – an older socialite who has walled herself off from romance ever since her husband died. That was a nice relationship and we need more stories which include relationships between older adults. I’d give this story a B.


The Alphabet Variation Challenge – 11 down, 8 to go (A, D, E, F, G, H, I, K, L, M, S …)

The Phonics Challenge – 2 down, 17 to go