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Vanessa Jared's Got a Man - Review

*I received this e-ARC from St. Martin's Press and audio from Orange Sky Audio via Net Galley. All reviews are my own.*

I think I messed up. I checked out an upcoming romance novel, Vanessa Jared's Got a Man by LaQuette, and this one wasn't doing it for me. There are many factors to my dissatisfaction, and I will explain, but before I go in, IT HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE STORY.

"Vanessa Jared, a 40-something divorcee, decided that the best way to pull herself out of their post-divorce slump was to form The Savvy, Sexy, Singles Club and start the "Do Me" portion of her and her friends' lives.
But on the two year anniversary, a sexy sheriff shows up on Vanessa's doorstep wanting her to help him keep his little sister from marrying her no-good ex. Vanessa is not down for this at all. She wants nothing to do with her ex...until she spots a photo of her ex's new fiancee wearing her grandmother's ring--which he clearly stole from her. So now it's on. Vanessa is ready to take this trifling (fill-in-the-blank) down. What she does not expect is to fall in love along the way."

The storytelling of this novel was fine. LaQuette weaves a tale about a recently divorced 40-something-year-old woman trying to navigate life after a 20-year relationship. All of that comes to an abrupt halt when a man appears on her doorstep asking her to help him save his little sister from marrying her shitty ex-husband. The premise of the story was intriguing. It's what made me pick up the book in the first place. It has all the qualities of a good romance: a good-looking small-town sheriff, forced proximity, open jalapeno spice level, and petty revenge. God, I love petty revenge! But the story alone could not make me bypass my feelings on the experience of the book. The biggest infraction dealt with the audio narrator.

I understand this novel is meant for the older crowd. And it makes sense to have a person in that age range tell the story of that generation. But dammit, I'm 30-something years young, and even I can admit that the narrator sounded.... seasonally aged for this story. I could not connect with the characters because of this. Try as I might, I could only picture the describer sitting in the studio reading the book. It took away from the imagination of the story, and that's where I messed up. I did end up switching back to the text to fill out what I've missed in the character's personalities, but I think the damage was done by then.

Besides the audio injustice, I had some problems with the dialogue in the story. Nothing was jarring or scandalizing about it; it just wasn't believable. The conversations (specifically when the men were speaking) sounded like they came from a woman's perspective. What group of men is having a full-blown discussion about failed marriages at an eatery? With services like sensitivity reading on the rise, I'm surprised that LaQuette didn't ask a group of guys what a particular conversation between men sounds like. I won't say men's circles don't have deep discussions about marriage and relationship advice, but in my opinion, it didn't translate well on the pages.

Overall I rated this book 3-stars. It was okay. I appreciate this black romance novel not being the typical ghetto love story to which most people connect black and romance, so that was a breath of fresh air. Obviously, I do not recommend the audio, and I feel like you will not get the true experience of the story if you take that route. Vanessa Jared's Got a Man is a quick read that could be done in a day, so if you need to knock off your reading goals for the month, this book is the way to go.

Vanessa Jared's Got a Man debuts September 20, 2022

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