Tuesday, April 28, 2020
Review - - Island Affair
by Priscilla Oliveras
Keys to Love - Book 1
Release Date: April 28, 2020
Reviewed by PJ
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 fake relationship fade like the stunning sunset . . . or blossom into something beautiful?
I was easily sucked into this fun and flirty story with a sensual island vibe and heart tugging emotional authenticity. Yes, the beginning is a bit implausible but Sara and Luis are so likable, and relatable, that I was quickly willing to suspend disbelief and immerse myself in their story. I really loved these two together. The fact that they are complete strangers when they agree to their fake engagement allows readers to learn about each of them as they learn about one another. It was enjoyable to watch their friendship begin to form, then gradually deepen into something more.
Both Luis and Sara have families that are integral to their emotional journeys. I enjoyed watching those challenging, and sometimes heartbreaking, family issues play out over the course of the book. By incorporating each of their families into the story and giving them significant page time, readers are able to get to know the secondary characters and more fully understand the nuances, and challenges, within each family. I especially enjoyed time spent with the Navarros and am excited that they will be the focus of this series going forward. I want to sit at their dinner table, cook with Luis's mami, and bask in the loving chaos of this tight-knit, but complex, Cuban-American familia. I am more than ready for more Navarro romance!
If you've ever visited Key West (or even if you haven't), Island Affair will transport you to the laid back island's sunny days, sultry nights, and rich cultural diversity. The love this author holds for her childhood home, as well as her ability to craft a sweet and sassy story with satisfying emotional depth, shines through on every page.