Well that was a sweet, breezy little read! I’ve never read anything by this author before, but that gorgeous cover paired with a fake relationship plot made Island Affair impossible to resist. It’s the light, beachy kind of read that I was looking for – but it also has an incredible amount of depth, with plenty of serious moments sprinkled throughout the book. Though it’s a tried and true storyline with an element of predictability, the characters are real and complex with complicated backstories that are fully explored. I loved the level of depth Oliveras was able to achieve in a relationship that – let’s be honest here – sparks over the course of less than a week. There were times when the author’s excessive descriptions seemed a little much, but they helped give the characters a real, fleshed out feel.
The story follows Sara, a social media influencer who has always felt like the outsider in her family. When the guy she’s been dating bails on her at the last minute, she’s left in a lurch – her family has planned a stress-free trip together to celebrate her mother’s remission from cancer, and Sara may have embellished the seriousness of their relationship in an attempt to make her mother happy. At a loss for what to do, Sara meets a kind, caring firefighter who is willing to step in. Luis has his own family drama, and helping a beautiful stranger with her problems seems like the perfect escape. As Sara and Luis spend the week together, their friendship – and the spark of something more – grows as they dig deep and get to know one another.
This straddles the line between romance and women’s fiction, with family being a huge component to the book. Sara and Luis are the heart of the story, but their closeness comes from facing their demons head-on, and it was an interesting journey to read. It’s definitely more laidback than the contemporary romance I normally read – there’s a seriousness to the story that gives it weight without being angsty, and though it’s sexy, there are no explicit scenes. There were a few times that I struggled with just how descriptive and serious the tone was, but that would really be my only complaint. Sara is an interesting and dynamic heroine, while Luis is such a kind, compassionate hero. I also loved the inclusion of Luis’ heritage – so often minorities are depicted in over the top, stereotypical ways, but it felt natural and realistic here. It’s an understated romance that was a breath of fresh, and I’d definitely read more by the author in the future. My thanks to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC. I am voluntarily leaving a review of this tropical romance.
Releases April 28th
Kindle Edition: https://amzn.to/2XpRboC
Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/3ejZ4SG
Sought-after social media influencer Sara Vance, in recovery from an eating disorder, is coming into her own, with a potential career expansion on the horizon. Despite the good news, her successful siblings (and their perfect spouses) have a way of making her feel like the odd one out. So, when her unreliable boyfriend is a no-show for a Florida family vacation, Sara recruits Luis Navarro—a firefighter paramedic and dive captain willing to play the part of her smitten fiancé . . .
Luis’s big Cuban familia has been in Key West for generations, and his quiet strength feeds off the island’s laidback style. Though guarded after a deep betrayal, he’ll always help someone in need—especially a spunky beauty with a surprising knowledge of Spanish curse words. Soon, he and Sara have memorized their “how we met” story and are immersed in family dinners, bike tours, private snorkeling trips . . . sharing secrets, and slow, melting kisses. But when it’s time for Sara to return home, will their island romance last or fade with the stunning sunset?