Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Hyper rationalism focuses on all things based on logic. Oftentimes, hyper-rationalists disregard the power of the arts to connect to the spirit. For me, good writing has always produced emotions that remind me of my humanity, therefore, indicating that I could never ascribe to the world of hyper rationalism. Good writing reflects our humanity, magnifying our positives and our negatives. There are certain truths to be self-evident about Karla Sorensen. Most importantly, she has her finger on the pulse of romance readers in that she can draw that mirror and craft stories that remind us of the gravity of living. In her newest book, Floored, she once again illustrates her gift of character-driven stories through the journey of Jude and Lia.
What began in The Marriage Effect, continues in Floored, the third book of her Ward Sisters’ series. I can tell you that this book has as much heart as Focused and Faked. I can tell you that it has the typical steam level as her other books, which, for me, is a 2.5 to a 3. I can tell you that the plotting of the story is streamlined in such a way that you easily gobble this book in one sitting. There are never any struggles through Sorensen’s books, meaning that her prose and her storytelling draw you in and keep you engaged. All of the aspects we love about Sorensen’s books are found in Floored.
What I want to focus on in this review, however, is the level of characterization found in this story that bowls you over. There are two lessons to be learned from this book: (1) that the past should not define your present and future, and (2) that family is THE most important part of living. I want to focus on the second message of this book because, for me, it magnifies Sorensen’s craftsmanship. You see, this story began in The Marriage Effect. It is there where the Ward Sisters along with Logan and Paige illustrate the cohesion of building a foundation of intimacy between family members. In Focused, Faked, and now Floored, the consequence of Logan and Paige protecting that foundation undergird the stories of the Ward women. So much so, that Sorensen’s heroes depict the antithesis to the Ward family. We learn from the Wards that familial intimacy is created with vulnerability, transparency, trust that the other people have your best intention, and acceptance. The cohesion of these traits is love. It coats each of them like a protective layer. In Floored, Lia notes it as a team or a “gang.” Yet, what Sorensen does so deftly through her heroes in this series is to show how special the Ward family is through the broken families of her heroes in these stories. We see the ultimate antithesis with Jude’s family, and it suggests that Sorensen knows that families are special whether we are born into them or construct them through our own choices. As Jude and Lia undergo their journey, we can use the Ward family as a measure. Lia and Jude are intimate, but in comparison to the Ward family, they lack intimacy in their relationship. And it’s there where a grown-up Lia must make choices. Besides crafting a “healthy” family in the Wards, Sorensen, through her characterization of Lia, shows us what it means to set healthy boundaries for your relationships. While boundaries can be emotionally painful, as we see developed throughout this story, we also see the fruit of it in her characters’ lives. Again, while this is all culled through the scope of a romance story, we can still learn these truths in a way that feels reflective of our nature. To me, that is the power of Sorensen’s storytelling.
Floored speaks through its quiet moments, making my heart soft, and it speaks through its loud ones, forcing my heart to float to my throat. Jude’s particular story of the past as a harbinger of his present and future is a profound one, and the care that Sorensen takes in crafting his shift feels important. In fact, it makes for some of the most romantic parts of this book.
But, for me, that isn’t the best part of Karla Sorensen’s Floored. For me, the best part of this book is the Ward family. My older mother, who has become a devoted Sorensen fan like me, asked me if I have a favorite book of the series, and while The Marriage Effect isn’t officially a part of the Ward Sisters’ series, it is still my favorite. I adore the girls, but my heart will always belong to Logan because even in his struggles, he crafted a family and a home for his sisters. And that foundation has been elemental in reminding Sorensen’s readers that our true family is the people who ultimately love us in our good times and our bad and accept us no matter what.
In love and romance,