Friday, September 9, 2016

Book Tour Review - - Sunset in Central Park

Sunset in Central Park
By Sarah Morgan
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Release Date: August 30, 2016

Frankie Cole is the resident cynic among the trio of friends who own and operate Urban Genie, an event and concierge service. The opening scene of the second novel in the series, which takes place at a bridal shower for a just-jilted bride, showcases Frankie’s antipathy toward weddings and other things romantic. Behind her cynicism lies Frankie’s childhood experience with a father who walked out on his wife and child and a mother who responded to her divorce with a desperation for male attention that made her—and by extension, Frankie—a Puffin Island scandal. Unlike her friends Paige, who has found grown-up happiness with the guy she has loved since she was a young teen (Sleepless in Manhattan), and Eva, a hopeless romantic, Frankie doesn’t believe in HEAs. Her affections are invested in her small group of friends and the plants she nurtures. If she thinks Paige’s brother Matt, her landlord and good friend, is a very sexy guy, well, that’s her secret, one with which she is most uncomfortable.

It’s also a secret from everyone but Paige and Eva that the thick, ugly glasses Frankie wears have nothing to do with her physical vision and everything to do with her need to create protective barriers. Matt Walker has known for a long time that he wants more than friendship from Frankie, and when he discovers that the glasses are part of Frankie’s armor, he uses that knowledge to begin gently pushing past her defenses. A successful landscape architect whose specialty is roof gardens, Matt turns his legitimate need for a horticulturalist for a summer project into a way to see that Frankie spends more time in his company. Frankie rejects the idea at first, but the chance to avoid Urban Genie’s summer wedding schedule and the guilt she feels at the thought of not helping a friend convince her to accept the job. What follows is a practically perfect friends-to-lovers tale, one that makes the friendship and the romance real and appealing.

Frankie’s cynicism could have made her a less than sympathetic character, but Morgan shows the character’s vulnerabilities early on and thus makes it easy for the reader to understand Frankie and root for her happiness. Best of all, Morgan shows Frankie’s complexity and the changes that loving Matt and being loved by him bring, and she does so in ways that avoid suggesting that love is a panacea for all the ills to which flesh is heir. Matt is my favorite kind of hero—intelligent, kind, honorable, great-hearted, and deeply loyal to his family and friends. I found his patience and tenderness with Frankie and his fondness for his cat, an anti-social abused rescue, as sigh-worthy as his six-feet plus of hotness. The secondary characters provide rich contexts for the central story, and the New York City setting and a visit to Puffin Island offer the best of two worlds without privileging one over the other.

Since I first read Sleigh Bells in the Snow, the first book in the O’Neil Brothers trilogy, three years ago, Sarah Morgan has become one of my favorite contemporary authors. She has a gift for creating characters with depth and authenticity that this reader finds fully engaging. With a novella and two novels, her From Manhattan with Love series clearly meets the standards of excellence set by her earlier HQN series.

I highly recommend Sunset in Central Park. Although it can be read as a standalone, I recommend you also read the novella “Midnight at Tiffany’s” and the novel Sleepless in Manhattan for the richest reading experience. The third book, Miracle on 5th Avenue, pairs Eva with a crime writer in a Christmas story. I expect it to be another wonderful Morgan book, and I am delighted that, according to the author’s web site, there will be another three books in this series. If you love contemporary romance, you really should be reading Sarah Morgan.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sarah Morgan’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Tuesday, August 30th: The Sassy Bookster
Wednesday, August 31st: Why Girls Are Weird
Thursday, September 1st: A Chick Who Reads
Friday, September 2nd: Not in Jersey
Monday, September 5th: Books and Bindings
Wednesday, September 7th: Just Commonly
Thursday, September 8th: Books a la Mode
Thursday, September 8th: From the TBR Pile
Friday, September 9th: The Romance Dish
Friday, September 9th: View from the Birdhouse
Monday, September 12th: Chick Lit Central
Monday, September 12th: Kritter’s Ramblings
Tuesday, September 13th: Walking with Nora
Wednesday, September 14th: Bewitched Bookworms
Thursday, September 15th: Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Thursday, September 15th: Book Reviews and More by Kathy
Friday, September 16th: A Holland Reads
Monday, September 19th: In Bed with Books
Tuesday, September 20th: Becky on Books
Tuesday, September 20th: Books and Spoons
Wednesday, September 21st: Stranded in Chaos
Friday, September 23rd: Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews

Purchase Links

Connect with Sarah

1 comment: