Tuesday, November 28, 2017

ARC Review: The Bachelor Contract by Rachel Van Dyken

Series:     Bachelors of Arizona #3
Pub. Date:Nov 28, 2017
Publisher:Forever Romance
Length:336 pages

This was my first read from Rachel Van Dyken, and I have heard good things about her books. Unfortunately this one just didn't work for me. But I'm not giving up yet, I will try another one and see if it's a better fit.

I should mention that this is the third book in the Bachelors of Arizona series, and I have not read the earlier books. I didn't feel like I was lost or missing too much information, but after reading some other reviews I understand that this story may have been playing out in earlier books. Regardless, I didn't feel like I was missing anything vital.

Brant and Nikki married very young without a blessing from either of their families and they attempted to make a go of it on their own. Unfortunately a horrible tragedy struck the couple and they were just too young and naive to deal with it. We meet them again four years living apart and tortured by the past. Brant has become an alcoholic asshole, and Nikki is blind and struggling through life as a masseuse. Determined to drag Brant out of his misery, his family orchestrates a situation where the two won't be able to avoid one another.

Nikki was a tortured heroine, who I found to be somewhat sympathetic. I liked that our heroine had a disability... well not that she had a disability, but that she wasn't perfect. It provided some nice diversity, and I thought she managed her life quite well for her blindness. In totality, Nikki's situation was heartwrenching, and my heart went out to her for what she has suffered. However, she cried All. The. Time. Seriously, even before she encountered Brant again, she was tearing up left and right. It was just a bit too much for me.

In contrast, Brant held his emotions in check until they exploded out of him in a rage. He was an angry alcoholic asshole, though he did seem to stop drinking cold turkey without any pesky withdrawal problems. I didn't get why he was so determined to be a jerk to everyone around him... but it seemed like being a hardass with his employees was a reputation he earned from a young age in the company business. I understood that he was supposed to be depressed and angry and sad and guilty, but I didn't find that his motivation matched his behavior.

Speaking of, all of the emotions just felt forced to me. I didn't buy anyone's motivations, feelings didn't feel authentic, and behavior seemed erratic. The writing was disjointed at times where I had to go back and read to see if I missed a section. And all of the comedic attempts fell flat. To have such a heavy subject between the H/h, Nadine and Grandfather's antics seemed more inappropriate and awkward than comedic relief.

So while this one did not work for me, I am in the minority of reviewers as of the date I wrote this review. So don't let my feelings dissuade you from giving the story a shot. I'd love to discuss your thoughts!

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book that I received from the publisher, Forever Romance.

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