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If you enjoy forced proximity and enemies-to-lovers, Romeantically Challenged, the first book in Marina Adair’s new When in Rome series, is a cute summer read.
After her fiancé leaves her, only to get engaged less than a month later, Anh Nhi “Annie” Walsh knows it’s time to change things up. Eager for adventure, she accepts a position as a physicians’ assistant in Rome—only, it’s not the Rome she’s thinking. No, she ends up in Rome, Rhode Island. Still, it’s the fresh, new start she wants, and Annie is determined to enjoy her time, location mix-up aside. She’s got some fun new friends, a new job, and a new home—the only problem is that when the rental’s owner unexpectedly comes home, she also finds herself with a new roommate.
My main issue with Romeantically Challenged is that I felt like I had been dropped in, mid-series. While I generally enjoy when books start with action and appreciate when authors can provide background while also jumping right into the story, I was disoriented and found that I needed more information about some of the characters’ relationships with each other. I checked online and I think this is the first book in a new series so I’m not sure if this is a spin-off and there’s a book I should have read first, but it took me a while to get a sense of who everyone was. I also felt like the ending was very abrupt and could have definitely used more to the resolution.
Still, Romeantically Challenged is great fun and I always enjoying reading authors that are new to me. Annie’s story was so important to read about and I appreciated how the author really took great care in discussing Annie’s identity politics and her longing to feel a sense of place and belonging.
There are a lot of romances that are marketed as rom-coms but really lean more heavily towards one or the other (more often than not, it’s more romance heavy than humor heavy), but Romeantically Challenged is an honest-to-goodness rom-com. From the get-go, I enjoyed Adair’s voice and her clear grasp on the genre and its elements. Plus, I’m always a fan of forced proximity and enemies-to-lovers. I would have appreciated more context, but overall, I thought this was a very cute start to a new series.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This has not impacted or influenced my opinions.