Title: Just Kiss Me
Author: Rachel Gibson
Publisher: Avon Books
Release Date: July 26, 2019
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
ARC Received From: HarperCollins Publisher
Reviewed For: Pump Up Your Book
New York Times bestselling author Rachel Gibson returns with this dazzling love story filled with sizzle, sass, and just a bit of southern charm . . .
“Hello, Ms. Vivian . . . it’s been a long time.”
And with those words, Vivian Leigh Rochet nearly melted. It’s been years since she last saw Harrison Whitley-Shuler. She was a teenager scrubbing houses for a living. He was the gorgeous son of rich parents, not fit for the likes of her.
Vivian had vowed to get out of Charleston, become a big Hollywood star, and stick it to the snooty girls who made her cry.
She got what she wanted—and more—but why does her glamorous life seem so trivial?
Harrison got out too . . . making it all the way to Wall Street, until a heart attack forced him to trade in his cufflinks for a good set of hand tools.
Making furniture soothes his soul, but escaping the Whitley-Shuler heritage is nearly impossible. And now he’s come face-to-face with the one who got away. He’s not looking for love. He’s not even looking for sex . . . so why is resisting her the hardest thing he’s ever done?
I really liked this story.
Current day Vivian and Henry were interesting. Vivian hadn't really lost the quirkiness she had as a kid. The seriousness and dutiful son Henry was as a teenager still peeked through the man he became. But, for me, the best parts of the story were Vivian's diary entries.
It was weird, believe me, to see so many of them throughout the story but they made sense. There were events and memories they remembered from their growing up years that wouldn't have made as much sense if those diary entries hadn't been there.
Despite the wealth Vivian had acquired, despite the fancy house and things she bought her mother, I was deeply moved by the significance of the cork. It was just a cork. To an outsider, to this reader, it wouldn't have meant anything. To Vivian, it was a memento of a fabulous day that celebrated her mother. After her mother died and she searched frantically for it, I wondered if she ever would find it. It meant more to Vivian than the money and fame she'd amassed, and I really hoped she would find it.
Vivian and Henry's romance was really, really subtle. It wasn't love at first sight or love born from lust. It happened throughout the entire book. Coming home, for both of them, was the catalyst. Love took its time with them, layering bricks and mortar for a firm foundation that withstood an earth-shattering truth, hurt, and anger.
There are a few surprises in this story that were handled well by Ms. Gibson. They revealed so much about Henry in particular and spoke volumes of his character. He was a fixer, a bearer. He did what he felt was right to keep the world going even though the strain took a toll on him. In the end, the others saw it. Some appreciated it. Someone else, not so much. But it showed how good a man he was, how great a man he could be, and he amazing he would be.
I've only read one other book by Ms. Gibson, What I Love About You, and I have to say I like Just Kiss Me better. The reason, honestly, might seem insignificant to some but it matters a whole deal to me. The way she wrote out their conflict and how forgiveness eventually came was beautifully done in this story. The time span wasn't ridiculously short. The uncertainty of Vivian trusting Henry again. The frustration of trying to prove he was trustworthy and falling short because of Vivian's uncertainty. The ultimate gesture made at the end that brought them together again. I'm telling you, it was a hard but satisfying resolution.
This isn't a fast-paced book so be prepared to take your time if you choose to read it. Like I said, their love doesn't happen overnight or even after a few short weeks. It grows slowly and it is lovely to see happen.
Rachel Gibson is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of fast-paced contemporary romance novels. Publisher’s Weekly proclaims Rachel’s “clever, snappy dialog amuses at every turn” and “With humor and eloquent prose, Gibson brings substance and depth . . . to modern day romance.”
Four of her novels were named among the Top Ten Favorite Books of The Year by Romance Writers of America. Two of her novels, True Confessions and Not Another Bad Date, were awarded the RITA, Romance Writers of America’s highest honor of excellence. Some of Rachel’s other awards and achievements include The Golden Heart Award, the National Reader’s Choice, Amazon Editor’s Top Pick, Publisher Weekly’s Quill nominee, Borders bestselling romantic comedy and Romantic Time’s Career Achievement award.
When not writing, Rachel can be found shopping for shoes or looking for strange and unusual flowers to plant in her garden.