December 3, 2013

Book Review: Cherry Girl

So Raine Miller surprised her fans and snuck in a book–who does that?!?! Quite impressive. Apparently, no one saw this one coming, including Miller. She said she didn’t intend to write the story of Neil and Elaina, but I for one am so glad she did! (And what a pretty book cover.) Miller is one of my fave authors and the creative mind behind the Blackstone Affair series, which I fell in love with at book #1, Naked. Throughout the Blackstone series, the namesake–Ethan Blackstone–interacts with his best friend and right hand man, VP and Chief of Operations at his company, Neil McManus. Neil is engaged to Elaina Morrison, who happens to be the receptionist at the company. Which bring us to…

Cherry Girl. This is Neil and Elaina’s story. It’s no secret that when I love a book, I can essentially devour it in no time–suffice to say, I read this one in a day. And when I was done, I had an overwhelming sense of guilt because I have been loyal to Ethan Blackstone since book 1 and now it’s quite possible that I love Neil just as much. (Miller has assuaged my conflicted feelings by assuring me it’s ok to love both men, if not equally.)

We know from the 1st three books in the series that Neil was in the British Special Forces with Ethan and that they share a very close friendship. We can sense that Neil is an alpha male in his own right. What we don’t know is that Neil is also a romantic. Yes, he’s madly in love with Elaina and we know that she’s beautiful, but what we didn’t know was the hardship of Neil’s upbringing because of his dysfunctional family life. We become privy to how Elaina’s family essentially adopted Neil because he’s always been close to her brother Ian. There’s a 7 year age difference, making the story of their coming together as a couple even more challenging. It’s not all hearts and flowers, or hearts and cherry blossoms. (wink, wink)

Neil and Elaina have to endure misunderstandings, conniving ex’s, and Neil’s deployment due to that whole ‘service in the British Army because of the war in Afghanistan thing.’ Truth be told, I think Miller could’ve gotten more than 1 book out of the Neil and Elaina pairing, (perhaps wishful thinking on my part?) or at least made this one longer. Yes, longer.

We know that after the tragic events of 9/11, Elaina’s family was personally impacted, but we aren’t given an in-depth look at the toll it takes on her, specifically. We understand that she’s made poor choices in more than one area of her life but it would’ve been nice to have this explored a bit more. In a similar vein, while we know the condensed version of Neil’s family history, I think a closer look would’ve made us fall even deeper in love with him (though, considering my already admitted amorous feelings for him, I argue if that’s even possible).

Cherry Girl is a welcomed pre-Christmas surprise and I am so glad Miller treated us to this book as we wait for the fourth and final installment in the Blackstone series, Rare and Precious Things, due to come out in February 2014. How I’m supposed to wait 2 more moths for that to happen, I simply don’t know?!?! Guess I’ll do some re-reading…

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