Author: Christina Lauren
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Dates read: 17 Apr 19 – 19 Apr 19
Publication date: 29 Oct 13
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre(s): New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
A bombshell bookworm. A chronic Casanova. And a lesson in chemistry too scandalous for school.
When Hanna Bergstrom receives a lecture from her overprotective brother about neglecting her social life and burying herself in grad school, she’s determined to tackle his implied assignment: get out, make friends, start dating. And who better to turn her into the sultry siren every man wants than her brother’s gorgeous best friend, Will Sumner, venture capitalist and unapologetic playboy?
Will takes risks for a living, but he’s skeptical about this challenge of Hanna’s…until the wild night his innocently seductive pupil tempts him into bed- and teaches him a thing or two about being with a woman he can’t forget. Now that Hanna’s discovered the power of her own sex appeal, it’s up to Will to prove he’s the only man she’ll ever need.
It is definitely, by far, my favourite story in the series. It’s so much more playful and more enjoyable than the other stories. The characters seem so much more relaxed and focused on their own lives as much as their growing relationship, and there is a lot more happening in this book that sits alongside their romantic feelings and life.
I do like the aspect that the third of the male trio in the story so far is a complete player. I feel like that really does fit with the story so far. The group of men really are playboys of the highest order, and Will is the most shameless of them. He doesn’t string women along, or play them for something more than he or they wants, but is honest and plans his forays with precision and emotional detachment. He doesn’t let romance dictate his life or his choices until Hanna, and even treats that with caution and restraint. He is clever, of course, rich, because that goes without saying in these books, and he is funny, because of course he has it all, but I don’t actually begrudge him this at all.
I like the fact that the female character is strong, intelligent, and willing to stand up against his sometimes questionable and silly behaviour. It’s nice to really enjoy a powerful female portrayal in a story that is essentially yet another love story. Hanna is funny and fiercely intelligent, but is also aware of her shortcomings and how to fix them. She is wanting to expand her social and sexual horizons and the comfort and closeness Will provides is the perfect match for her experimental ways. I absolutely love that she has a STEM career that she is both really good at and really invested in. It’s uncommon to find an intelligent woman pursuing a career in STEM in this sort of romance novel and I am please that it has been done and it has been done well.
These two fits together so well. Their relationship feels natural, it grows on a longer terms basis and not from thin air. Jensen, her brother, is Will’s best friend, so they have known each other for years, grown up together, trusted each other and though about one another throughout their formative years. I feel like this makes their relationship seem somewhat more organic and genuine, and less like the insta-romance that is so common in these books. They also fit in so well with the characters round them. Will is charming and lovely so of course he both gets on with his friend’s partners, but also wants Hanna to as well. They are all lovely and inclusive, so everyone goes out of the way to make her feel welcome and part of the group, a group in which is is completely in sync with at the end of the book.
Of course, these books would not be these books without the sexual content. As always, I wish there wasn’t as much, but for the first time, they were slightly more bearable. Hanna’s simultaneous vulnerability and almost desperation to learn is endearing and well explored, and it is made to fit perfectly with Will’s experience. Although there is an almost teacher/pupil relationship in terms of their sexual exploits, it never actually feels like that and really feels like exploration in a mutual trusting and appreciative couple.
I also really liked the miscommunication element within this story. A lack of communication or understanding is used to hide and wash away a multitude of sins in writing and is often unreal or unnecessary, but in this story it is used both well and for a real plot point. The two are obviously on different feet when it comes to their relationships. Will’s player nature is something that Hanna believes is ingrained in him, so no matter her thoughts on anything happening, she really believes that he is not looking for anything serious. Will clearly likes Hanna, but believes she is only experimenting and wants to date other people (to be fair, she actually does) and is more of the I’ll take what I can get standpoint. This creates legitimate, thought through, and actually well explored friction. They never actually discuss anything about it, and the hints and developments that happen, as well as the characters themselves admitting that communicating is not their strongpoints, really supports that miscommunication could be and ultimately is a huge issue for them.
Ok so it has a predictable trajectory and ending, but for me it was just more enjoyable than usual. I hope these two feature heavily in the rest of the series because they are a great edition, and a seemingly more genuine addition, to the weird and wonderful Beautiful world.