Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 1/2
One of my favorite parts about writing is the growth of the writer as they generate writing. When I was first introduced to Stacy Travis, I had signed up for an ARC of her first romance book, French Kiss. And while I enjoyed her details of France, I struggled with the chemistry between her hero and heroine in that book. It felt manufactured to me, and my review reflected that. Fast forward to her newest book, In Trouble with Him. What her first book lacked, this book has in spades. Billed as a forbidden romance, Annie is an attorney hired to fight a court case brought against the enigmatic, acutely handsome Finn, a professor who has been accused of insider trading when he consulted with various companies. His talent in understanding the stock market nets him a huge paycheck, and Annie must prove that it is his ability as an economics talent that earned it for him. Unfortunately, Annie and Finn have met previously at a mutual friend’s wedding, and their interest in each other from that moment feels undeniable. However, since Annie is his lawyer, this complicates their want to be a couple. However, their chemistry flies off the page, and you yearn for these two to figure out a way to be together.
I love how Stacy Travis has grown her ability to generate chemistry for her characters. It is undeniable with Finn and Annie. Along with their chemistry, there is a camaraderie between these two. You absolutely root for them hard, but be prepared for a serious slow burn here. Their banter is their foreplay, and it takes a while for them to finally acknowledge their fire.
Integrated into this romance is a story that compels you forward too. Travis has carefully woven in ideas about representation for women in the legal world. Annie’s backstory illustrates the difficulties that women endure in finding a job based on their ability, not just their gender. Additionally, Travis points to difficulties in the academic world. When Finn’s job is threatened by a peer, Travis shows the tenuous nature of collegial relationships. There is a competition to achieve and publish that oftentimes muddies relationships with colleagues.
Beyond that, this story has family. Finn is the only male in a family of independent females. To underscore the pro-woman aspects of this book i.e. Annie’s journey, Finn’s mother and sisters show how to raise a feminist male in a character such as Finn. So interspersed with a book of romance with two characters so suited to each other is a bigger discussion of feminism.
All of these attributes conspire to offer a story where Finn and Annie’s story feels important. Not only does it challenge our thinking, but it also titillates and plays your heartstrings. Like I said at the beginning of this review, I love the evolution of an author, and, as far as I’m concerned, Stacy Travis’s In Trouble with Him is an indication that she is indeed shooting for the romance stars.
In love and romance,