Overall Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Three phrases to hook the potential reader of Kandi Steiner’s On the Rocks: whiskey + hot burly guy from the other side of the tracks + gorgeous mayor’s daughter. While Steiner’s book suggests in its blurb that it is an “opposites attract” contemporary romance, it is actually nothing like that. It’s so much more.
First and foremost, Steiner’s book is an ode to Tennessee. All of the beauty of this state coupled with a listing of its glowing achievements greets the reader of this book. Personally, I have never had a strong feeling of visiting Tennessee (don’t hate me!). After reading this first book in her current series, her descriptions of Tennessee’s merits coupled with Noah and Ruby Grace’s conceptions of it, have piqued my interest in this state. In some ways, the state acts as another character in this story.
The power of this story is its hero, Noah, and heroine, Ruby Grace. This is a story about resilience in the face of the judgment of others. Noah and Ruby Grace should not work as they come from different backgrounds. Noah works as a barrel builder for the whiskey business where his grandfather and father worked. He wants a simple life: a wife, children, and a life in the town where he has grown up. He does aspire to travel the world by sailboat, but it doesn’t drive his daily decisions. He grew up with a simple life, filled with the love of his parents and three brothers.
In contrast, Ruby Grace was raised with luxury. As the mayor’s daughter, her childhood was lived in obligation to others. Her mother required her to act obediently for appearance’s sake. She knows her parents love her, but this love seems contingent on her obedience to the rules.
Ruby Grace returns home from college engaged to an up and coming politician. Through the course of the story, she realizes that everything she believed in was false. Instead, she begins to find her truth in Noah. And this is the beauty of Steiner’s On the Rocks. Noah sees the real Ruby Grace and loves her just as she is.
Noah is probably one of my new favorite heroes. At first sight, he’s a player, a hot guy looking for an easy lay. Yet, we recognize quickly that he’s simply waiting for the “right” woman. Initially, it appears that he is all man. And he is, but there is a sensitivity to Noah that I fell in love with. In acknowledging Ruby Grace’s essence, he gives her strength to live her life on her own terms. He loves her through her choices, no matter the expense to himself. His sacrifice for her is beautiful. Honestly, he’s a true feminist in this story.
There was so much I loved about this book besides Noah. I loved Ruby Grace’s devotion to volunteerism. Her relationship with Betty illustrates the impact that one person can have on another’s life. Ruby Grace’s willing sacrifice for her family is noble, while also frustrating, but it shows the depth of her character. It’s the crux of this story.
In Steiner’s On the Rocks, you can’t help but love the soft hearts of its characters. Yes, it is steamy, and Noah and Ruby Grace encompass $exual fire. But these are people with hard exteriors and soft underbellies, and this sensitivity is what’s lovely about this book. I didn’t expect Noah to show this so readily, but he made me swoon. If you loved The Notebook, then I think you’ll love this Noah and Ruby Grace just as much. One-click Kandi Steiner’s On the Rocks. You won’t be able to put it down.
In love and romance,