Right Beside You by Mary Monroe
Publication Date: September 24th 2019
Publisher: Kensington Books
Genre: Romance / multicultural
Stars: ★★★★☆ (3.5)
New York Times bestselling author Mary Monroe presents a heartwarming, uplifting novel about two long-time co-workers who seem unlucky in love. But this Christmas may give them a surprising chance to find themselves—and each other . . .
With a successful career, money in the bank, and a solid future, Felicia Hawkins has almost everything she ever wanted. But getting married is the one holiday wish she can’t seem to get. And it’s not helping that she’s hopelessly in love with her co-worker, widower Richard Grimes. They have the perfect office partnership, and he’s as supportive as he is kind. But Felicia doesn’t want to wreck their friendship by letting him know how she really feels . . .
Richard has his hands full juggling pre-Christmas work demands and raising two teen daughters. But he’s not too busy to wish his relationship with Felicia could become much more. He’s drawn to her calm spirit and determination, along with everything they surprisingly have in common. And just once he’d like a chance this season to dare tell her the truth . . .
But what Felicia and Richard get instead is a cascade of misunderstandings; messy, well-meaning matchmaking from family and friends, and a long-distance transfer Richard can’t refuse. Finally, in the middle of one chaotic snow-struck day, it will take all their courage and compassion to risk opening their hearts to each other—hopefully for many more holiday happily-ever-afters . . .
*** Note: I received e-copy from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. ***
Right Beside You was holiday themed romance that revolved around Felicia and Richard, two coworkers and commuters who were friends for long time and fancied each other from afar. It was about love from afar, being happy for someone you love, and letting your loved one know about your feeling before it’s too late.
I liked secondary characters. Grandma Lucy was my favorite. She was adorable, fun, and fussy old lady. Both teenage daughters of Richard were loving, well behaved, and disciplined and helped their father in keeping house after their mother’s death. They were so unlike the usual teenagers. Regina was clingy and always following Richard to get his attention and in hope of more serious relation. She added little drama and made the thing interesting. Pam was nosy, meddlesome busybody, but she was honest and good at heart.
Both Felicia and Richard were caring, smart, generous, kind, sensitive and beautiful. They made cute couple. I liked Richard’s banter with his daughters, his good nature and his not-so-coincidental encounters with Regina. While Felicia was such lovely character who helped her elderly grandma, did charity and used her free time helping old people and friends. They both had many common things and respected each other.
They all were developed and realistic.
What I liked-
It was my first book from the author and I liked the writing style, the way author described characters and their life, the conversations between characters were realistic, I liked the chilling wintery setting. The story was told in alternative POV of Felicia and Richard. I enjoyed Richard’s POV more than Felicia’s. Both introduced their family members who were most important in their life, their past life, pressure from family and friends about finding someone to spend life with, and how they turned from just coworker and commuters to friends and lovers.
Title and synopsis said it all. Two lovers knew each other for long time, loving each other secretly, the person they want as life partner was ‘Right Beside’ them. It started with introduction to main characters and people in their life. How Felicia and Richard knew each other and what their feelings were. They both secretly loved each other but couldn’t confess their feelings in fear of losing the beautiful, long term platonic friendship. But as the day passed, they found it hard to keep emotions in and it hurt see other with someone else. The story was all about when and how they will find courage to reveal their feelings or will it be too late by the time they declared their love.
I liked the message behind story about sharing your feelings, put aside your fear; give an end to feelings and relationship, either good or bad, rather than stuck in it that hold you back; and be happy for someone you love in all kind of situation.
I liked Pam’s intervention in the middle of the story. Pam, of course, didn’t prove very reliable friend by doing so but I don’t know what they would have done without her interference. There were some misinterpretation because of Regina-satellite hovering over Richard all the time but by climax it was all cleared. Richard’s idea of confessing his feeling was like shooting arrow in dark, I was sure Felicia would refuse to help him but she surprised me there. Like Pam I felt it uncomprehending, but I got what she wanted to show by helping him and going along his plan. End was dramatically, soothing, and happily-ever-after. I still wonder how they could not hint their feelings, no in-love-behavior or those lovey-dovey eyes?!
Why 3.5 Stars-
All characters in the book were good. Main characters, Richard’ daughter, coworkers, boss and even characters’ date! Well it gave all goody goody feeling but the setback was, no drama.
Main characters were developed, love and feeling was developed, and they knew each other well and were just telling about their life and their thought for each other in the story. It was like platter of delicious food was served, you just need to eat it. No fun in cooking the meal, relishing the aroma or pouring love in it… Likewise I missed the fun of reading their growing love. I felt like I know them alright and understood their confusion but couldn’t feel their feelings. They didn’t make lasting impression.
Overall it was quick, light, cute romance with Christmassy feel that you can read in one sitting. I enjoyed it but it won’t be my most favorite.
What do you think about the book and review? Have you read this book or any book by the same author? Which book are on your Christmas reads? Which one is your most favorite holiday themed book?
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