Overall Grade: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
“‘What’s going on, Dash?’ With us?’ ‘I don’t know. It’s more than I thought it would be.’ He tucked a lock of hair behind my ear. ‘You kind of snuck up on me.’ I smiled. ‘You snuck up on me too.’”
Just when my heart seemed mended from my sadness over the Jamison Valley series ending, Devney Perry finds a way to revitalize it. Yes, she published Tinsel and Letters to Molly in the meantime. Yet, it seemed as though there was unfinished business with the Jamison Valley folks. And there was. Namely, we needed stories born out of Nick’s life. Remember Nick? The dreamy, mechanic hero of The Clover Chapel. Emmeline’s Nick? In that book, it takes Nick’s father and brother to help save Emmeline from being kidnapped. With their aid, the family finds some reconciliation after Nick fails to join the family MC group, The Tin Gypsies. From that experience, the Tin Gypsies decide to disband, and a story is created: Gypsy King, Perry’s newest offering. And this one is an edge-of-your-seat page-turner of a book.
Following the tropes of romance, the Gypsy King is an enemies-to-lovers story. Centered around Bryce, a new-to-Clifton Forge-reporter, and Kingston “Dash” Slater, the son of Draven Slater and former president of the now-defunct MC group, the Tin Gypsies, the romance follows their undeniable attraction and eventual involvement. Dissatisfied with her career as a television newswoman in Seattle, Bryce joins her father’s newspaper in Clifton Forge intent on righting her life. Disappointed that she failed to meet her life goals, she sets about investigating on and writing about the dissolution of the Tin Gypsies. She believes there is more to the story and sees it as an opportunity to meet new personal goals, rectifying her perceived failures in Seattle. Complicating this is Dash Slater. He’s handsome, intelligent, and shrewd. However, Bryce challenges him from their first meeting, and he finds himself instantly attracted to her. Unfortunately, a murder occurs in Clifton Forge, causing the arrest of his father. Dash believes in his father’s innocence and challenges Bryce to investigate the death with him. In order to do that, though, he may need to allow her access to the Tin Gypsies’ secrets, and he’s not sure if this will help or hinder his father’s investigation. In the midst of all of this, Bryce and Dash fall deeper for each other, potentially complicating their lives further. Do they find a happy ending together?
I have to admit that I haven’t read too many MC books. They aren’t my usual draw. However, this is Devney Perry, one of my favorite authors, and the idea of meeting Nick and Emmy again built a definite interest in this book. And Perry did not disappoint. From its outset, I was hooked. Around every corner of this book is drama, a challenge to keep you reading. If it isn’t Draven’s arrest, then it’s family secrets coming to light. Each page reveals a new part of the story, and it pulled me in until the very end. Even in the midst of Dash and Bryce’s struggle to be together, I simply couldn’t put this book down.
Even more, the characters, Bryce and Dash, are complex in their development. Bryce is an older heroine. She believed that the goals she set for herself in her early twenties would come to fruition eventually. She wanted a career, a husband, and a family. However, her career in Seattle fails to launch her. She doesn’t find a husband, and there are no prospects on the horizon when she comes to Clifton Forge. She represents anyone who holds dreams and flounders at achieving them. In a world where success is oftentimes measured by meeting life goals, Perry’s depiction of Bryce asks us to question our own goals. Is it possible that goals can be re-defined and met later? In the midst of her romance with Dash, her thinking is challenged in ways that change her and change her prospects. Her growth and journey are representations of our need to remain open to life and change.
Similarly, Dash’s life is also challenged. At the beginning of the story, it has really only been a short time, a few years, since the dissolution of the Tin Gypsies. He’s developed a strong business working on cars, but there is a hole in his life, a ghost of his former life left in his soul. He attempts to fill that hole with meaningless one night stands with women, his friendships with lifelong pals, and his family. But that void still exists. Interestingly, Dash doesn’t realize it until his enemy, Bryce, the reporter, challenges him. Like Bryce, he must make choices that run contrary to his past decisions. His involvement with Bryce pushes him out of his comfort zone and rattles his life. Together, Dash and Bryce’s evolution add depth to the excitement of the story. Their character growth is the meat to the potatoes of Perry’s story.
It is always an emotional journey when reading a Devney Perry book. What I found most interesting, though, is the grittiness of this new book. Maybe it’s the MC influence. Maybe it’s the hero who reminds us multiple times in the story that he doesn’t “do” love because no one could love a man who has engaged in the dangerous and violent activities of his past with the Tin Gypsies. Or maybe it’s the engaging and oftentimes heart-pounding action of Perry’s story. This isn’t Jamison Valley. It’s Clifton Forge and something dangerous is afoot here. In the midst of this danger, Devney Perry grows a deep and abiding love between her hero and heroine. She takes a woman with broken dreams and allows her to dream again. She creates a man who doesn’t believe he can be more than his past, and she knits them together into a seamless quilt of past, present, and future. Face value, the Gypsy King is a daring suspense-filled story with a fiery chemistry between its hero and heroine. Below its surface, however, is a story reminding us that, in the midst of our brokenness, we can become whole again when we give our broken pieces over to a mender who loves us deeply.
“For so long I’d wanted this. Never would I have imagined I’d find it, a home—love—with the man I’d set out to expose. The enemy. A criminal who’d stolen my heart. All the foolish days and nights I’d spent wondering if I’d end up an old maid had been for nothing. The timing simply hadn’t come together. I’d been waiting for my Gypsy King (my emphasis).”
In love and romance,