walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

_Afternoon Delight_, Anne Calhoun, spoilers

Contemporary romance, I don't know that this is or is not part of a series. It reads just fine as a standalone novel.

Tim Connor is a paramedic and has been for a while; he is training a new guy ("probie" Casey). His family has been born and lived in New York for generations, within a very small area. In his 30s, he watched his grandparents die over a period of years, and he has managed the stress and sadness of that and his job by being very fast and very good at everything he does, to avoid feeling. The characterization is believable, but it is kinda hammered home hard -- shown and told, more than a few times. Big speed = not feeling theme.

Sarah Naylor is helping her friend Trish get a food truck business ("Symbowl") running. Trish used to be a highly compensated something or other; they both live in Trish's extremely nice digs and Trish's money got the food truck going, but it is Sarah's cooking experience that is making it work. Sarah is from San Francisco and took a couple years off from working at very high tone restaurants to nurse her aunt through a couple years dying of ovarian cancer.

So both Tim and Sarah have well developed personal armor and well developed strategies for connecting very quickly with other people and getting other people to trust them. Tim meets Sarah at the food truck a couple times and banter leads to challenges and challenges lead to a series of sexual encounters that (this really should not surprise anyone who reads Anne Calhoun) quickly lead to a deeply felt emotional connection that neither character was consciously expecting or looking for but both characters were desperately in need of. Both jobs are developed in enough detail to feel like they aren't just there to give Tim and Sarah answers to the question, "What do you do for a living". Sarah's interest in exploring New York and trying to figure out whether she can transplant from SF to NYC on other than a temporary basis is really well developed.

It's an enjoyable read, altho there are aspects to the Brooklyn hipster food truck thing in conjunction with Trish's obsessive social media strategy that make me wonder what it will be like to reread this in a decade. It certainly feels super timely _now_. The joke about the strange men that Sarah finds in the kitchen generally reading The Economist is really funny, especially the one reading the Post not getting invited back.

There were a couple bits I kind of went, "Really?" to: Tim's head injury and Sarah coming over; Tim pulling a soup recipe off of Sarah's blog and cooking it for her along with the brown bread from Mrs. Cohen. The head injury was quite severe. Tim's deprecation of it and going to work the next day struck me as not entirely realistic. The good-at-caring-for-the-injured-without-coddling is _so_ _freaking_ _overdone_. And I would have liked a little more evidence that Tim had any clue how to prepare food at all. Because I've been around young men (and not so young men) who have tried to cook from a recipe for the first time in their lives and it does not go that well.

But these are minor issues. If you like contemporary romance, and in particular if you like Calhoun, this is a good one.
Tags: book review, contemporary erotica
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