Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
I cannot profess to be an authority in all things Meghan Quinn. I’ve recently started reading her stories, and I’ve fallen in deep. Eventually, after reading other ARCs and reviewing them, I WILL read her entire book list because she writes a brand of romance that both amuses and entertains me. Hidden in the lines of hilarious dialogue and sometimes absurd storylines lies a depth that surprises me every single time. Imagine taking a journey that feels light and happy. You knowingly run that journey because it makes you feel good. Then, there is a quick turn and that lightness and happiness is replaced with a knowingness about life: that life isn’t always easy and light and happy. Yet, it isn’t always bleak either. When you read a book such as Quinn’s, you’re reminded that life is made up of moments of light and dark. That your focus is key to determining if you will remain in the dark or choose the light. In Quinn’s novels, thankfully, the light always wins out. Her newest book, The Setup, illustrates this concept beautifully. What seemed like a light romp of romance for a cocky, yet empathic hero such as Lincoln and a fiery, insightful Indie became a master lesson in Quinn’s writing depth. Thus far, The Setup is my favorite Meghan Quinn romance.
What makes Meghan Quinn’s newest book a 5-star read?
- For one, Quinn’s ability to shift between humor and gravity is impressive. I didn’t see the last third of her book coming. What began as a seemingly quick read turned into a story that I didn’t want to put down. I won’t tell you this book’s secrets, but you should know that this journey is not a straight one. However, that was my favorite part of this book. I loved that what I thought I was getting was replaced with what I needed to read. I love that storytelling surprise.
- Quinn’s characterization of Lincoln and Indie is everything. I think the old adage “don’t judge a book by its cover” comes into play through the development of Lincoln. He is not like her other baseball heroes. Lincoln’s ability to empathize and “see” Indie is the reason you fall for him. He is not perfect in this, though. And this causes some of the strife of The Setup. I think it’s also fairly true to life. Additionally, I adored Indie. This is a woman who has set her course, and while she wants Lincoln permanently in her life in some form, she must also choose her own dreams. There are moments when you want to yell at her to be reasonable and just fall, but Quinn does a beautiful job in showing us her “whys.” Together, these two are fated, and you can’t help but hope for their happy ending. Quinn deftly invests you in her characters in The Setup.
- The ancillary characters are romance gold. From Lincoln’s moms (oh, meddling moms are key to romance humor) to his roommates to Scarlett, Indie’s roommate, Quinn is able to weave in humor and wisdom when her characters need it. As I was reading the story, I found myself pining for the stories of Lincoln and Indie’s friends. I’m hoping we will read them in the future because Quinn has piqued my interest through their development. They made this story so full and yet wanting. As those voices quieted in the last third of the book, I found myself missing their influence in the lives of Quinn’s hero and heroine. That shows Quinn’s prowess at character development.
- The story of The Setup is such a keen reminder that life is not linear. It would have been easy for Quinn to write a very linear, typical romantic chronology. However, to be frank, her readers would have been bored. Instead, Quinn wrote the story that we all needed even though the light falls away at some point and the darkness prevails for a time. Thankfully, the dark is never bleak in a Quinn romance, so there is the reward of the perfect ending for Indie and Lincoln here. I honestly didn’t realize that the story Quinn wrote was the story I needed in the end. From start to finish, she had my heart.
I think the crux of The Setup is a life’s journey. It isn’t straight, and it takes us down paths that we never expected for ourselves. However, if we are honest, and if we are open, we will find the path that is fit for us. This is definitely the case for Lincoln and Indie. And in the end, Quinn reminds us why her romances both engage and challenge our thinking about life. For me, The Setup was one of the best romances I read this month.
In love and romance,