Overall Grade: 4.5 ⭐️
Tropes: fake marriage; marriage of convenience; Vegas wedding; opposites attract; grump/sunshine; wealthy MMC; found family; romantic suspense elements
I’ve been sitting on my review for Devney Perry’s newest book in her The Edens series, Jasper Vale. Trying to find the words to express my adoration for this story isn’t easy because it’s a story that feels a bit like a departure for Perry. Yes, this is a Vegas mistaken wedding turned fake marriage. It’s a common trope, but Perry’s books sparkle, by my estimation, from start to finish. And Jasper Vale reads grittier. In fact, I think it’s one of her $exiest books in that her main characters, Jasper and Eloise, simply can’t help themselves around each other. $ex comes first for this couple out of a pure chemical connection. Jasper is bossy and super-alpha, and it’s titillating and $exy in all the best romancelandia ways. And it feels so different from Perry’s usual fare, at least with recent stories. I loved Jasper and Eloise’s struggles.
For one, they are opposites. Jasper’s life is one big secret for everyone. It’s not healthy in the least, and it informs how he responds to Eloise’s family in the face of their surprising marriage. This is unlike the other partners of the Edens who fit so seamlessly into the Eden family. And I liked the trepidation and discomfort of his first meeting because he responds to them out of a protectiveness and compassion for Eloise as well as the experiences of his past. Jasper is one of the darkest Perry characters, I believe.
Eloise is the sunshine to Jasper’s grump. She is his light. Perry puts her through her paces in this story as she must mine for Jasper’s secret gold, surrounded by an almost impenetrable wall. For every step forward, Eloise finds herself taking a step back. This tango both wrings out the heart of the readers and sets up the anticipation of the eventuality of their relationship: pure love. It takes much of Jasper Vale to get to this point with quite a bit of heartache woven into the story.
So Jasper Vale reads like this: surprise, $ex, silence, separation, $ex, a building of a nugget of vulnerability, confusion, more $ex, silence, $ex, secrets revealed, deeper involvement, $ex, drama, reconciliation, healing, abiding love. Or at least something like this with more $ex added in.
Perry’s Jasper Vale is a revelation to me. I still think she needs to work on the last 10% of her stories because she deftly develops her plot but the endings always seem rushed, at least until the epilogue and bonus epilogue. Those are always pure gold; however, the falling action and resolution of the inciting incident(s) of her plot points always read underdeveloped to me. Or maybe I want to sit longer with characters like Eloise and Jasper. Bottom line: Devney Perry’s Jasper Vale is MY favorite The Edens romance.
In love and romance,