Wait For It
by Jenn McKinlay
Release Date: August 10, 2021
Reviewed by PJ
Stuck in a dreary Boston winter, Annabelle Martin would like nothing more than to run away from her current life. She's not even thirty years old, twice-divorced, and has just dodged a marriage proposal… from her ex-husband. When she’s offered her dream job as creative director at a cutting-edge graphic design studio in Phoenix, she jumps at the opportunity to start over.
When she arrives in the Valley of the Sun, Annabelle is instantly intrigued by her anonymous landlord. Based on the cranky, handwritten notes Nick Daire leaves her, she assumes he is an old, rich curmudgeon. Annabelle is shocked when she finally meets Nick and discovers that he’s her age and uses a wheelchair. Nick suffered from a stroke a year ago, and while there's no physical reason for him not to recover, he is struggling to overcome the paralyzing fear that has kept him a prisoner in his own home.
Despite her promise to herself not to get involved, Annabelle finds herself irresistibly drawn to Nick. And soon she wonders if she and Nick might help each other find the courage to embrace life, happiness, and true love.
This book has many of the elements that have made Jenn McKinlay one of my go-to authors. It's brimming with humor and charm but isn't afraid to go deeper into emotionally sensitive issues. I'm not sure how I would classify it; it's kind of a blend of women's fiction and romantic comedy, with heart-tugging emotion, a solid romance, and plenty of humor sprinkled throughout.
Nick and Annabelle are characters I was immediately drawn to. They engaged my emotions and it didn't take long for me to become invested in their happiness. I'm a pushover for a grumpy-sunshine pairing and they are so that. They're vividly depicted, complex characters with significant emotional baggage to be unpacked and dealt with. I loved the friction between them, the snappy dialog, and especially the notes exchanged back and forth. Who knew snarky notes could be such delicious foreplay?
The romance develops gradually, at a perfect tempo for these two considering where they are emotionally at the beginning of the book. Each has a wonderful growth arc that makes their eventual relationship believable and one to celebrate. At first, I thought the growth emphasis would be on Nick (and his is significant) but Annabelle's self-reckoning is just as important. It's immensely satisfying to watch both of them evolve.
The secondary cast is vividly depicted and adds a great deal of richness to the overall story. The villain is someone most of us have probably had the misfortune to work with at some point in our lives. Watching him handed his just desserts is deliciously satisfying. Nick's relationship/friendship with his physical therapist made me laugh and gave me warm fuzzies at the same time. McKinlay nails that male "are you my friend or just a pain in my ass" dynamic. Then there's an unexpected family situation, a surprising revelation from Annabelle's BD (Big Disappointment a/k/a ex-husband #2), a young boy whose interactions with Nick brought me to tears, and more. McKinlay seamlessly weaves them all together to create another heart-tugging story that made me laugh out loud, wipe away more than a few tears, and enthusiastically cheer the final outcome.
Have you read any of Jenn McKinlay's books yet?
Do you enjoy a grumpy-sunshine pairing?
What the last book you read that made you laugh out loud?
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