I always love a good second chance romance. And there’s something about those moments in high school that you can’t forget that stick with us. So a combination of the two made me smile multiple times throughout reading this. Particularly when you realise how much of a torch Jed has carried for Lola since the very beginning.
As wonderful as the romance throughout this story is, its the very first scene that truly sets the tine for this whole novel. I mean, she locks her damn keys in the car (I’ve pretty much done this a thousand times). But, to top it off, her keys are in the ignition and the car is still running… I haven’t done that, but the humour and pure frustration of this moment had me giggling. That Cross mentions it in her dedication just made it a thousand times better.
Lola’s quandary about her emotions is a great sell. She starts off trying to convince herself that she’s just dating Jed to sell her podcast, but then… emotions. I also love that she spends a lot of time coming to terms with what her idea of success is. I mean, pride at mentioning who and what you are to people is a big part of our lives. But, most people just don’t actually judge you for your decisions. Its something that I’ve been working at coming to terms with myself.
Parks and Provocation is such a gorgeous and wonderful novel. Pretty much what I would expect from a SmartyPants Romance novel to be honest. It is just so damn gorgeous and sweet. Maybe not as many cameos as I was expecting, but still a sweet, wonderful and fun novel that took me away to a happier place for a while.
I loved that this is a contemporary romance that deals, realistically, with inequality issues. I mean, at the centre it’s just another beautiful and heart-warming romance. But the other aspects of the plot that deal so directly with an issue that many people face? That was glorious. And, it’s not just dealing with a woman working in STEM (I actually wanted to work in the exact same area and eventually just gave up). But it is also about being a POC and how this can further become a restriction on what is available to a person.
I’ve got to admit, that I think Forrest’s quiet and steady pursual of Sierra is kind of adorable. I’m not normally a fan of that whole, steadily and quietly pursuing somebody. It can give off too strong a stalker vibes at times. But, it didn’t in this. Instead, Forrest’s court (even when Sierra was unaware of it) is very respectful and sweet. He takes the time to learn more about her and create a relationship that can be used as the basis of something more. Rather than just making a decision about their potential future.
On that note, I actually really loved the relationship building in this story. Sierra and Forrest slowly build up their knowledge of one another. It starts out antagonist, becomes closer and closer, and then eventually makes its way to something more serious. I love tales which build a relationship around truly getting to one another. I mean, I also love when there is all of that sexual sizzle, but sometimes it’s just nice when a couple takes that damn time to build something.
Alongside the discussions of inequality and the romance, there is also the secondary story line which is a bit of a whodunnit. I spent the whole time trying to figure out just how the fires were getting lit. What the motive was. Who had actually done it. And why there seemed to be a bit of a dodgy cover up throughout. Of course, it was all tied up quite nicely, and I definitely loved the comeuppance at the end when everything was revealed.