When I finished book one of the Gansett Island series, I picked up the next two because I liked how the series modeled the supportive aspects of love, whether between partners, parents and adult children, or true friends. Fool for Love turns that on its head by making a good part of the conflicts arise from the clashes between those types of love, especially where meddling is concerned.
It’s weird to point to the brotherly and friendship loves as the main issue in a book that starts with Janey catching her fiance in bed with another woman, but it’s true. If the book is about David at all, it’s about him showing his true colors and the fallout from that, though I have to say I was surprised by how the David situation wraps up. Can’t say more without spoilers, but it took an unexpected turn.
It’s not a spoiler to say Janey breaks up with David. That should be obvious. But that she turns to Joe without knowing he’s been deeply in love with her for as long as he can remember is only the first complication. Her big brother Mac is also Joe’s best friend and confidant, making for another problem, one I’ll leave to your imagination except to say he’s as protective of Joe as Janey.
The troubles Janey and Joe face as they explore where their true emotions lie (or at least Janey does) while trying to keep their relationship secret were a little obvious at points. Still, being telegraphed only made them more tension filled as I anticipated how, and where, a particular slip would catch them out.
There are a lot of detailed open-door encounters in this book, but it works because it builds a connection when the emotions are still too tangled up in everything else going on. Even more, this traditional resolution of a romance serves to complicate their situation pretty much every time.
Having noticed the above, I have to say I had issues with the consent situation of their first encounter, though not in the direction you’d expect. However, Joe’s reluctance given the circumstances proves critical as the story continues and in no way is it glossed over or considered unremarkable, so it works.
Joe has no interest in being Janey’s rebound relationship. He’s in it for the long haul. Despite the attempt at secrecy and concerns about them jumping in bed together too quickly, their relationship really demonstrated how it should be, especially when compared to how David treated Janey during their long engagement. Joe and Janey’s connection happens pretty fast, but Joe would say it had taken forever, and Maddie, Janey’s soon to be sister-in-law, would agree.
This book starts right on the heels of the first and is fascinating in how it’s interlaced with the previous story. Not only is Mac and Maddie’s approaching nuptials a key part of this story, but their relationship has challenges raised by Joe and Janey’s attempt to stay a secret. Mac and Maddie even take over the viewpoint at times, and for scenes unrelated to the main story. I found this interesting and engaging, supporting how absorbed I was in this place and the people who live there. I read the first book over a year ago, but I recognized pretty much everyone and remembered their issues, too.
Fool for Love is different in every way from Maid for Love, offering a new story set in a familiar place with old friends. Not quite second chances, not quite unrequited love. A beautiful story of patience rewarded and surrounding your friends and family with support and love. It’s easy to see why so many enjoy this series. I have clearly joined their number.