Caught Up in Raine by L.G. O'Connor
The Two Sentence Description: Romance novelist Jill refuses to let herself fall for the sweet, sexy (and much younger) landscaper-turned-cover model who agrees to pose for the cover of her next book. When she’s unwittingly pulled into his family drama and learns that his safety is in jeopardy, she offers him safe harbor.
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series? Standalone in a Serial Universe
Primary Tropes: May/December (Cougar), Tortured Hero, Familial Strife
Secondary Tropes: Organized Crime, Retribution, Widow
What Makes it Stand Out: L.G. O’Connor’s books always nail the balance between the fantasy of romance and the reality of life. Her true-to-life worlds—ones that include family problems, the loyalty of friends, work responsibilities, and finances to work out—create supremely believable circumstances. “Caught Up in Raine” has all the suspense and sweetness of any romance rolled together with the messiness of life.
What You’ll Love About It: The character interplay—from major to minor—contains emotion that makes for some amazing scenes. A particularly memorable fight between Jill and Raine (which is too intense to be considered a lover’s spat) may be the best fight I’ve read in a romance novel.
Truisms, Complexities, and Other Themes: Settling for mediocrity vs. risking something to get what you really want from life is a theme in “Caught Up in Raine” as well as the other books in the “Caught Up in Love” series. Sub-themes of what people (whether women or men) sacrifice for family, and also specifically of what grown women sacrifice for their men are woven in, and across the books in this series you will find both coming of age and middle-age female empowerment.
The Standout Side Character: Every great book has a secondary character who stands out. In “Caught Up in Raine”, it’s John, the friend-of-Jill’s-family police officer who steps in to help Raine with his family mess. He would be memorable in any case, given his role in exacting justice, but a subplot that explains his connection to Jill’s family makes you want to know more. Though it won’t release for awhile, a spinoff of John’s story is planned for the same universe.
Final Notes: We’re not at all surprised that “Caught Up in Raine” recently won Bronze in the 2017 IPPY Awards for Romance.