Overall Grade: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Oh my gosh! You know when you read a book, and there is so much to love about it even when you might have issues with some of it? There is something sultry and profound in its message, and you can’t stop reading it because you need it to find its blissful resolution. This is the case with Rebecca Shea’s Unexpectedly Yours.
I need to preface this review with two thoughts about my reading of romance, specifically Shea’s book. For one, I hadn’t read her before this book. I was intrigued by the blurb and decided to sign up for an ARC because there is something exciting and $exy about office romances and the potential for drama. However, and this is my second point, it is EASY for me to suspend my disbelief for just about anything. In fact, if you read my reviews, you know that I’m a fairly easy “grader.” I will believe most tropes for the fun of it, but one aspect of romances where I struggle is “love at first sight.” In the early days of my reviewing, I read nearly everything I could get my hands on, and I read too many books that leaned towards these quick “love” matches. That is one area where I cannot suspend my disbelief. And that is one of my issues with Shea’s romance.
Andrew “Drew” and Grace meet in a one time one night stand. This is something Grace never does, yet life is difficult for her. She uses this moment to fall into a handsome attentive man as a respite, a way to escape her life even for a night. Lo and behold, the next day, Grace finds out that Drew is her new boss, having acquired the ad agency where Grace works. What Grace doesn’t know is that Drew has no intention of letting her walk away. Instead, he has fallen for her, and he needs her to be a part of his life. Unfortunately, Grace’s life is complicated, and her past is very different from Drew’s, putting them in different socio-economic places. She struggles to accept Drew’s love for her. Drew, though, is tenacious, and he works hard to ensure Grace is his…until he makes a fateful decision that could derail their future.
What is amazing about Shea’s book:
- The characters. Drew and Grace have all the chemistry necessary for this romance. They are $exy and steam up the page. It’s also clear that they care for each other, and I appreciate the discussion that Shea sets up in their coupling. These two are seemingly opposites when it comes to economic backgrounds. This allows for Shea to show the disparity of classes and ways to overcome those disparities. At times, however, Drew lacks empathy for Grace, and the tension of this story lies in Grace’s acceptance of Drew’s love. Over and over again, Grace pushes Drew away, only to be met with Drew’s tenacity or, quite frankly, his alpha-persona. He tends to order her into submission, which can be hot, but it makes you wonder if he is pushing too hard at times. That being said, their evolution clearly shows their growing love for each other which the mainstay of a romance.
- Shea’s story. It is really a simple one. She doesn’t need to throw everything at us to understand the beauty of Drew and Grace’s relationship. It flows nicely, and you find yourself wrapped up in Drew and Grace’s progression towards their happy ending. I will say, though, that are some areas that could have used a little fine-tuning. For one, Drew notes his “hardened heart” at one point, but Shea doesn’t develop that prior to that point. It comes as a bit of a surprise. After that moment, we find out more about Drew’s past and it sheds light on his “heart.” For the most part, Drew is your prototypical hero who does everything to win Grace’s heart. Secondly, since Grace’s mother is a big part of her life, I thought she might have made an appearance earlier in the story. It seemed strange that Grace didn’t make phone calls to her mom when she was struggling. I know her best friend, Jamie, is her surrogate family, and Drew’s brother, Aaron, ends up playing a part as family for Grace, but I would have liked to see more development of Grace’s relationship with her mom.
- The book has all the tropes I love. Obviously, it has elements of an office romance, but this story is really more about opposites attracting before it ever really is grounded in the forbidden nature of an office romance. In fact, there is nothing forbidden about Drew and Grace. It’s important to realize that before you enter this story. There are other tropes at play that I love in this story, but I’m going to keep them a secret for other readers. Shea’s book offers you so much to Drew and Grace that you can’t help but fall in love with them.
Rebecca Shea’s Unexpectedly Yours challenges readers to acknowledge differences. It’s a story fraught with the troubles of acceptance and self-confidence. For much of the story, Grace doesn’t fully believe that she deserves Drew’s love. Watching her accept his love and fall deeper into it brings both sun and shade, as Drew almost torpedoes their future. However, by the end of the story, the touching development of their relationship reminds us that opposites can fall in love and find their happily-ever-after. Drew’s ability to accept a different future for himself and Gracie’s acceptance of herself as “enough” for him is a marker of reasons we love to read romance. Love ultimately conquers it all.
In love and romance,