Sometimes it is nice to get lost in a romance that features a really good beta hero. You get so inudated with alpha heroes sometimes, that I feel authors feel like they can't create a compelling, strong hero unless he is also presented with all his uber macho on display.
It is also rather nice to read a book where from page one the hero is deeply in love with the heroine.
The conflict in this book, which is set up rather nicely, is that the hero Zach has been in love with the heroine Abigale all their lives. They grew up together. They starred together as kids in a popular sitcom that was cancelled after they reached the rather less cute teen aged years.
And through it all they became each others absolute best friend. Or in the case of Zach, an unrequited love for his best friend.
Part of reason, also rather well set up I thought, was because of their different childhoods. Although they both grew up in Hollywood and lived the often thankless lives of child stars, their home life couldn't have been more different.
Abigale's mother was a selfish, pushy stage mother who lived the high-life through her daughter, almost bankrupting her in the end and creating a thoroughly chaotic unsettled life for the young girl. Added to this, Abigale's mother also paraded a succession of less and less savory men through Abigale's life.
As a result, Abigale didn't have a very good role model or even opinion of love and marriage. Her one safe harbor was her friendship with Zach. She holds onto that with both hands.
In contrast Zach has a large close knit family who have always been very loving and supportive. He is a lot more open to the idea of love and Happily Ever After. But he knows Abigale's hang ups and how much she treasures his friendship. That and the fact that she has never, not once, given any signs she thinks of him as more.
So he's in love and she's oblivious. Now he is at a point where he no longer wants her to be oblivious so he makes a move.
So at it's base this is a friends-to-lovers story with some family drama thrown in. In most FTL stories I've read the two either have a moment where they both realize they want something more, or there is a catalyst that changes how they look at each other or mybe one of them is feeling a little more attracted than the other. But I think this is the first one I've read where one of them is just obviously heads over heels from the jump.
I think I could have been a little more exasperated with Zach's failure to make his move earlier, especially since everybody on the planet except Abigale is aware of his feelings. Except I think the author did a really good job of establishing the stakes. Zach and Abigale's friendship was so strong and so deep and her issues were so real, that you get why he'd hesitate for so long. Choosing instead to preserve the unbreakable friendship rather than test it with a possibly risky relationship.
And also, I didn't have to be exasperated, there were several characters in the book who were exasperated on my behalf. I also rather liked there were some who were a little pissed at Abigale for being so oblvious when all was said and done. So there were a nice group of supporting characters who I thought reacted rather realistically as observers to the drama should.
This was a sweet romance, rather much sweeter than I am used to with this author. But I really enjoyed it.