Year of Living Contemporary: Book 20 - Good Girls Don’t
This is the first book in Victoria Dahl’s new Donovan Brothers Brewery trilogy.
Okay, so I have to get this off my chest: I didn’t like Tessa. But here’s the thing about not liking her - it was pretty much for the same reasons you never like someone who’s very like you. All of your faults are amplified, and it tends to drive you nuts. For me, Tessa’s insecurities and her almost cowardly unwillingness to risk herself and make herself vulnerable, all of that was way heaps amplified for me, because it reminded me of me in my 20s. And, really, no one likes to be reminded of how annoyingly obvious they were in their 20s. It’s a bad scene.
But, there’s lots I did like, even though you may find it hard to believe when one of the characters hits you like fingernails on a chalkboard. Because I did like the book a lot, enough to request the follow-up for (professional, grown-up) review.
- Sex. Can I just get a Hell Yeah for Victoria Dahl and her not-hung-up-on-sex characters who have healthy desires and act on them? Because it’s just so damned refreshing. I love it. It makes me so happy. Go Team Healthy Depictions of Sex!
- The family dynamics - so there are two more books after this one, so each of the characters are going to grow a bit beyond the boxes they occupy in this novel, but even so the Strict, Rigid Older Brother is not just strict and rigid and the Devil-May-Care, Irresponsible Younger Brother shows definite hints of not being just irresponsible. Watching all three interact and fall back into the roles they’ve played for years and can’t seem to escape feels very real.
- The ending - I have a hard time jumping on the ‘we’ve known each other for 2 weeks, but it’s forever!’ band wagon, so I really like it when the characters themselves recognise that 2 weeks does not a lifetime make, but the ending is uplifting, positive, and moving forward, but not in a leap-before-you-look kind of way.
- Luke. He’s a damaged cop who’s all macho but vulnerable and he makes dumb mistakes, but it’s because he’s trying to protect that gooey caramel core and just *swoon*
- The resolution of the secondary plot line with Luke’s partner that I won’t go into in great detail because I don’t want to spoil anything, but I liked how this was handled in a bad-things-happen-and-don’t-always-work-out-sunshine-and-lollipops way that still felt like a win overall.