Title: Dating in Retrospect (States of Love)
Author: Lila Leigh Hunter
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: February 15, 2017
Page Count: 216
Reviewed by: Kristin
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5
Giving the commencement speech at his alma mater doesn’t fit Clay Keller’s meticulous schedule. As Chief Executive Officer of Travel Mogul—the largest travel connoisseur company on the West Coast—he has no time to get back in touch with his country roots. He left fifteen years ago without a second look, but a medical scare makes him change his mind about the speech and brings him face-to-face with his only regret.
Time always moves slower in Southeastern Iowa, and Aaron Grant loves it. He’s added solar farms to the Grant Lanes portfolio and has been teaching at the local university for a decade. The last thing he needs is to have his tenure application compromised by the return of his ex-boyfriend. If he had known who the commencement speaker would be, he would never have volunteered to be the administration liaison.
A proposal—to date for a year—will help them discover that time changes a person, even when everything else stays the same.
Oh dear, oh dear. Sadly, this book did not work for me from the start and was almost a DNF.
From the opening pages I was turned off by Clay and his behavior and actions toward Grant. After a fifteen year separation, with NO communication, I found his treatment (advances?) of Grant (getting into his personal space, handsy, overly forward in front of Grant’s peers and co-workers) to be presumptuous and incredibly rude. And to not take the hint from Grant’s body language that the attention and advances were not welcome at that movement? To assume that one could just pick up where they left off (at the immature age eighteen or twenty, mind) with a former boyfriend now 15 years older? I don’t think so.
And that, unfortunately, set the tone for the story. I plugged on…I wanted to be fair.
Now our couple is dating (good), Clay arranging roughly monthly dates of a wide variety (fun!). Then we hit the Christmas date. In Iowa. In a Winnebego. Peeps, this is. Frickin. Cold. Folks, Iowa can hit anywhere between 15-30* around Christmas time and that’s not counting any wind chill. To spend a night in a trailer, even a Winnebego, is going to be COLD. Winnebego’s (generally all travel trailers) are not insulated, see. ((sigh)) I plugged on…I wanted to be fair.
The use of “Love” and “Sunshine” – seriously? After a fifteen year separation with no communication are you really going to call someone by their childhood nickname? This is where I struggled – after fifteen years, finishing college, a masters, a PhD, getting jobs, different life experiences – you aren’t the same person. There’s a presumed familiarity, but neither are the same person.
Which, yes, why Grant and Clay have the year of dating. The dates were rather ingenious.
It was Clay’s health concern that built up to The Big Misunderstanding. I really wanted to put the book down and walk away at this point. Yes, Clay’s untimely and unfortunate revelation (no spoilers) hit a sensitive spot for Grant, but for Grant to react like he did (blowing up and running away) was totally implausible and incredibly immature. Yo, not an eighteen year old anymore. Gah!
So, there you have it. My struggles resided with the characters – plot has merit, the year of dating was an interesting way to move the characters and plot forward, and the dates themselves varied and intriguing. Clay and Grant’s dynamics, though, just didn’t work for me.
As with all reviews, this is just my humble opinion, and perhaps this book will be your cuppa java.