Series: O'Neil Brothers #2
Also in this series: Maybe This Christmas, Sleigh Bells in the Snow
Published by Harlequin on June 24, 2014
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Romance
Source: From the publisher through Netgalley
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Fiery French chef Élise Philippe is having a seriously bad day. Not only have the opening day plans for her beloved café fallen apart, but Sean O'Neil is back in town, and looking more delectable than ever. Last summer, they shared an electrifying night together…and the memories have Élise really struggling to stick to her one-night-only rule! Her head knows that eventually Sean will be leaving, so all she can do is try to ignore her heart before she spontaneously combusts with lust.
Being back in Vermont—even temporarily—is surgeon Sean O'Neil's worst nightmare. For Sean, returning home to the Snow Crystal Resort means being forced to confront the reasons and the guilt he feels about rejecting his family's rural lifestyle years ago. But discovering that Élise has settled in Vermont and still sets his blood racing is a very welcome distraction! Thinking he can persuade her into a replay of last summer is tempting, but remembering how good they are together is going to make walking away more difficult than he could imagine…
Words can not begin to express how excited I was when I finished book #1 in this series, Sleigh Bells in the Snow (see my review), last Christmas and found out that each of the fine O’Neil brothers was going to to get their own book and their own love story! Just so you know, this book can totally stand on its own. But why would you want it to? You’ll be sad you missed Jackson and Kayla’s love story. Anywho, I loved reading about Sean (the sexy surgeon) and his relationship with his brothers in this first book, and I was very eager to get my hands on his story! While I did not love it as much as I loved Sleigh Bells in the Snow (because this book had no Christmas in it, and I’m kind of a crazy Christmas person), I did enjoy this sweet romance. As always, my main points are bolded. :)
1. As was with the first book, I LOVE the setting of this series! The Snow Crystal, a quaint ski resort in Vermont, is just as charming in the middle of summer as it is the week before Christmas. And since the weather is warmer now, our beloved characters spend more time outside doing things like kayaking, hiking, camping, and repairing the lodge. I think the best thing about summer here, though, is watching a shirtless, glistening Sean build a deck in the sun. Oh, and kissing in the rain happens. Up against trees. Summer is good in Vermont.
2. Yay for familiar faces! I loved seeing Kayla and Jackson (cute couple from Sleigh Bells in the Snow) again. It was fun to see how their relationship has developed, and listen in on some of their future plans. The entire family at the resort is back, and they are just as sweet and welcoming as ever. I said this book can stand alone, but readers who already know these characters will be delighted to catch up with them.
3. Élise was not really my kind of girl, which was disappointing. She’s a French chef, and is very fiery and dramatic. She jumps to a lot of conclusions, forms opinions without having all the facts, talks before she thinks, and uses her painful past as a crutch way too often. This girl is high maintenance to say the least. But that’s ok! She was definitely a unique character to read about, and did not fit the usual mold. I did wish she would loosen up a little, though. As readers learn more about her, though, and discover her story, they will understand why she is the way she is. I did end up liking her more at the end of the book than I did at the beginning.
4. I really, really liked Sean. He’s devoted to his work, yet he’s got a pretty big soft spot for his family. He is constantly thinking about the people he has the opportunity to save through his talents as a surgeon. He has a pretty heroic moment in this book, and I just love how he is so passionate about helping people. If only everyone felt about their jobs the way Sean feels about his. This characteristic makes him extremely likeable, and that passion makes him, well, passionate.
5. I felt like a lot of the same conversations kept happening. Élise thinks about her past, and how Jackson (Sean’s brother) basically saved her from a pretty sucky life. Then Jackson thinks about this same thing. Then Élise talks to Jackson about it. Then Jackson talks to Sean about it a little. Then Élise tells Sean about it. And all the while, grandpa has known about Élise‘s past, and hopes someone will be able to help her. There’s just a lot of repetition in conversation topics, and I got a bit bored with the hashing and rehashing.
6. The romance in this story is more lust-based and passion-driven than I felt Kayla and Jackson’s was, which was an interesting change of pace. Élise and Sean have this boiling chemistry that is very hard for them to put a lid on, much as they would like. I’ve always been a fan of the more traditional love stories filled with stolen glances and a slow burn. There was no slow burn here at all. While it’s not my favorite kind of romance, some of the kissing scenes… holy moly. Phew! Swoony. And, don’t get me wrong… sweet moments happen too. We’ve just got two very passionate people here.
7. Probably my favorite thing about these books is the family dynamic. I love this family so much, and I love how they stick together and protect one another.
8. LOVE Sarah Morgan’s writing style. I still adore her descriptions of the scenery, and she sure knows how to write scenes that leave you weak in the knees!
All in all, Suddenly Last Summer is a fun read that I would definitely recommend to lovers of Sleigh Bells in the Snow, as well as lovers of summer romances. The O’Neil family is too wonderful for words, and I think everyone should take a trip to the Snow Crystal. Even though I did not love this book as much as the first, I can’t WAIT to get my hands on Maybe This Christmas (CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!) so that I can finally see Tyler O’Neil (sweet single dad of a teenage girl) fall in love.
About Sarah Morgan
USA TODAY bestselling author Sarah Morgan writes hot, happy contemporary romance and her trademark humour and sensuality have gained her fans across the globe. She has been nominated three years in succession for the prestigious RITA© Award from the Romance Writers of America and has won the award twice, in 2012 and 2013. RT Book Reviews has called her ‘a magician with words’ and she has made numerous appearances in their ‘Top Pick’ slot. Sarah lives near London, and when she isn’t reading or writing she loves being outdoors, preferably on vacation so she can forget the house needs tidying. She loves chatting with readers by email and on Facebook and Twitter. More information can be found on her website.