Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
I know that I am late in making this statement. I mean, it’s only taken three years of reviewing to get to this point. But I’ve decided that some of my favorite romances are those where the hero and heroine have a genuine friendship and camaraderie. It isn’t dark romance; it isn’t bullying; and it isn’t an alpha-male who uses degradation to “get his girl.” It’s those moments in a romance when it’s clear that the hero and heroine genuinely love each other’s company…beyond the bedroom, even if that plays a large part in their attraction and eventual coupling. In finishing Vi Keeland’s newest book, The Summer Proposal, I realized that truth is my favorite part of her book; it’s the reason that I hated to leave Max and Georgia’s story. I could find myself lost in any future stories that Keeland might offer for them, but we know that isn’t her brand.
The Summer Proposal tells the story of Georgia, the owner of an eternity roses company. Georgia is set up on a blind date by her mother’s friend. Wanting to “get out there” after her ex-fiance asks her for an open relationship, she’s been reticent to do so. While waiting for her blind date, a man enters the bar where she’s waiting, and he walks a direct line to her. Thinking he’s her blind date, she finds herself instantly attracted to him beyond just the physical. When he asks her to join him later since he has another obligation, she considers it until she realizes he isn’t actually her blind date. Put off, Max, this man, makes one final attempt: he asks her to meet him at Madison Square Garden for a hockey game…of which she declines. However, once she realizes she has no chemistry with her actual blind date, she feels drawn to the hockey game. When she shows up there, he is not in their seats for most of the game, and she becomes dejected. That is until she realizes the star of the team is Max. She meets with him after the game, and he asks her on another date. Max has to work to keep it simple with Georgia as she isn’t sure she should proceed given she’s still attached to her ex-fiance. Yet, Max offers her an arrangement: since he will be moving to a team in California at the end of the summer, they could spend the summer together. He would help her fulfill items on a “bucket list,” and they could investigate their interest in each other. Over the course of their summer, Max and Georgia start to fall in love. As their summer comes to an end, though, will they stay together, will Georgia stay with her ex-fiance, or will they go their separate ways?
Beyond the connection between Georgia and Max (my favorite part of The Summer Proposal), Max is its true star. Don’t get me wrong? Georgia is your favorite uptight, ambitious, overplanned heroine. She has to be the foil to Max so that their romance can bloom as he becomes the light to her heavy. From his dimples to his alpha-esque domination in the bedroom to his compassion (shown through his family and friendships), Max steals each scene he’s in. Keeland has crafted him with shades of soft and hard, and he acts as Georgia’s challenger. As is the case with Keeland, there is also some secrecy around his character. It wouldn’t be a Keeland romance without it.
Beyond their friendship and coupling and Max’s characterization, I’d have to stay how much I love the ancillary characters of The Summer Proposal. Every ambitious, controlled heroine must have a best friend who adds humor to her life along with necessary wisdom. Maggie’s part in the story adds more depth to Georgia’s characterization. Along with Maggie, Max’s family is a necessary part of this book. They too bring humor to his characterization. When they come together at family gatherings throughout the story, I dare you to avoid laughing at their masculine antics. Max’s mother’s part of the book offers up another sage character, helping Max make better decisions.
Honestly, Vi Keeland’s The Summer Proposal is exactly what you expect from Vi Keeland: characters that charm you, a compelling story that has a surprise that you’re never ready for, some humor to ameliorate the tension of her characters, and a happy ending that leaves you mostly fulfilled but keeps you still tethered to her characters. This is indeed the case with Max and Georgia. I mean…I wouldn’t be unhappy with a bonus epilogue of Max and Georgia and their kids. That’s how much I hated to say goodbye to them.
In love and romance,