September 2, 2015

Review: Evening Storm by Anne Calhoun

Review: Evening Storm by Anne CalhounEvening Storm by Anne Calhoun
Published by Penguin on August 18th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, General, Romance
Pages: 117
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three-stars

The national bestselling author of The List continues her sinfully addictive Irresistible series...   When it comes to the wolves of Wall Street, Ryan Hamilton is the leader of the pack. But his bravado is all bluff. The bank he works for is up to its assets in fraud and shady deals. And thanks to pressure from the NYPD and FBI, Ryan is working as both a trader and a whistleblower. His only respite from the tension is when he parades his latest arm candy at a fancy lingerie shop.   Simone Demarchelier owns Irresistible, crafting custom high-end lingerie. So she’s more than happy that Ryan is spending a fortune on his women. But she senses that behind the hotshot facade there is something more. Something tortured and sad. And when he flies her out to the Hamptons in the shadow of a summer thunderstorm in order to fix one of her designs, she instead finds herself stuck in the opulent home with a distraught Ryan.   Is Simone the one person who can mend Ryan’s heart and soul?

I really enjoyed The List so when I discovered that Evening Storm was another book in the Irresistible series, I had to pick it up. Evening Storm is loosely connected to The List and we get to briefly revisit Daniel and Tilda. However, I will say that  Ryan and Simone weren’t really the Ryan and Simone I had in my mind when I mentioned this book in Marie’s Corner. I had them totally confused with two other characters.

-face palm-

I am a little on the fence about this book. I liked it but didn’t love it. Let me explain a little further.

Anne Calhoun’s books tend to be character driven which I usually love. However, this one may have been a little too character driven for me as I feel like there were some components missing.

Ryan Hamilton is  a Wall Street executive. He works extremely hard and has amassed a great deal of money. It also seems that he believes in the mantra, “work hard, play hard.” Simone is a high end lingerie designer. These two first meet when Ryan takes one of his latest conquests to Simone’s store. The connection is almost instantaneous and they begin a cat and mouse game. Simone obviously feels a connection between them but realizes that Ryan is holding something back. As a result, she is only willing to give a certain part of herself. Ryan is in a very complicated situation. He stumbled across evidence that his company was running an elaborate Ponzi scheme. In a move unlike Wall Street, he goes to the FBI (Daniel from The List) and is working as an informant when he and Simone first meet. Because of this, he can’t let Simone get close; which is easier said than done.

There’s a lot of back and forth between them before anything substantial really happens. Normally I don’t mind this – a little cat and mouse game, slow burning romance doesn’t bother me. However, something didn’t really click completely with these two. Simone and Ryan’s relationship was missing a spark that Calhoun’s characters usually have. They hardly knew each other and although these two claimed an instant connection, it wasn’t something I believe readers felt right away. They went from 0-100 fairly quickly. There was resistance on both ends, especially from Simone, and then all of a sudden they tripped and were in love.

While all of it wasn’t believable for me, there were parts of their dynamic that I liked. They had a little ritual of sitting outside Simone’s stoop to drink beer while Ryan told her a sexual story about the women he brought to her shop. Normally, I wouldn’t go for this but this part of their relationship redeemed the book for me. It was a little out of the ordinary but it worked for them. It was a really weird way for the two main characters to bond but it gave us a little peek into the minds of both Simone and Ryan.

I didn’t feel like there was much of an evolution for Simone’s character whereas Ryan had more of an arc. We got to see Ryan evolve from this self centered character to one who regained some of his morality and humility when he decided to do the right thing despite the consequences. I do wish that we found out a bit more about the effects of the Ponzi scheme. What happened with the company? How much time are they spending in the jail? What was the real fallout for Ryan?

While the overall story fell a bit flat for me, there were a few redeeming qualities that caused me to give this 3 stars. Despite some of my misgivings, Calhoun still knows how to spin words and will draw you in even if you’re not quite sure if you like the storyline.

 

three-stars

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Natalya