Overall Grade: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
There is this strange dichotomy with Sierra Simone’s writing voice. In her series books, whether it’s the New Camelot Trilogy or her newest offering, The Thornchapel series, there is an academic nature to them, something that is almost didactic. Implicitly, she’s teaching us about some social construct that’s meant to challenge and titillate us. Many have commented on her newest series, The Thornchapel Series, that they need a dictionary while reading her book, which is oftentimes true. But she challenges us with a voice that is heavy in its language and style.
Something else is manifested in her Misadventures books. Whether you’ve read Misadventures with a Professor or the menage Misadventures of a Curvy Girl, she is still didactic, she is still trying to point us to a lesson of sorts, but that writing voice is less academic and more common. And it’s intriguing, at least to this writing instructor.
I love her Misadventures books. Yes. I’ve read them all. But her newest story, Misadventures in Blue, has a message that sits more heavily with this reviewer. This story involves Jace and Cat. Cat is a distinguished detective whose case is puzzling. The book begins with a crime scene of which Jace is the first responder. He is attentive and thoughtful in his work, and he calls it in to supervisor because he believes it affects Cat’s investigation. At this point, he has never met her, but her reputation precedes her: she has been deemed the “ice queen” for her stoicism in the face of trauma and on the job. On meeting her, Jace and Cat feel a strong chemistry, and this book tells the story of their journey to each other. It’s complicated and angst-ridden because Cat is thirteen years older than Jace, and she has already lost the love of her life in front of her own eyes. These are complications to them finding their happily ever after.
So, I said that this Misadventures book connected with me the most because this is a romance about vulnerability. Cat is the epitome of strength. She’s a “ball-buster” for lack of a better term, and she holds her place against any man on the job. She’s intelligent, intuitive, and intentional. It’s what makes her the best. And she is the best. However, it also keeps a wall built around her heart. When a woman has to gird her heart against tragedy and compete with men, she oftentimes loses her ability to be vulnerable. Relationships require vulnerability, and therein lies Cat’s issues within the story. In order to accept Jace, she has to break down her walls and allow him into her heart. A woman with strength struggles with that because it feels cataclysmic. It feels broken, and Simone does a beautiful job of creating this in Cat’s character.
Along with the characterization of Cat, she offers us Jace. This is the second older woman/younger man book I’ve read in the past few months, the first being Vi Keeland’s All Grown Up. What that book has as well as this one is a hero who, quite frankly, is more emotionally mature than the older heroine. It is revealed early on that Jace is an “old soul,” that he has served in the military. We recognize easily that he is not like his rookie colleagues. And in that recognition, we notice that Jace is the very man for Cat. He is not only handsome and her best partner in the bedroom; he’s intelligent and intuitive like her. Jace is the ONLY man who can help Cat be the best version of herself, and Simone uses their relationship to remind us that allowing one’s self to be vulnerable offers up the ability to be loved fully and to fully love one’s self.
This is one of those books that you eat in one big sitting. Jace and Cat’s chemistry, the romantic suspense of the story, and Simone’s lesson about learning to be vulnerable and open make this book a delicious midnight snack. Yes, it can be read in small bites, but I challenge anyone to try and put this book down once you start. Misadventures in Blue is a heady portion of steaminess, steadiness, and story.
In love and romance,