Speakeasy (True North #5) by Sarina Bowen: Review by Cupcake
Sometimes you fall for Mr. Right. And sometimes for Mr. Right Now…
Did you hear the one about the girl who walks into a bar and catches her live-in lover kissing someone else? No? You’re the only one in town who missed it.
Luckily Alec is there to wrap me up in strong arms and carry me out the door before things get too ugly. And that’s not all Alec is good at. Our unexpected chemistry makes him the perfect rebound guy.
I should know better than to hook up with my rival’s little sister, but the fiery look in May’s eyes really turns my crank. She needs cheering up, and I’m just the guy for the job.
It’s not like I’ll fall in love. Not even after a string of scorching hot trysts, and the realization that we’re good at the same things: wild nights and familial disappointment. I don’t do love, never have, never will. So this is the perfect arrangement, for both of us.
Nobody would approve, but nobody has to know…
ALL THE STARS!!!!!!!!!!
True story. When I discovered that this one wasn’t going to feature Roderick and Kieran I had a sad, because something is up with those two! But I soldiered on and guess what happened?
I fell in love with this book! I might even like this better than Bittersweet! Bold statement I know, but this book filled up my love tank to bursting.
And now I’m going to squee. A lot. So brace yourselves.
This series always feels like coming home. I love the atmosphere in this sleepy little Vermont town called Tuxbury that SB has created. I love the Shipleys and look forward to catching up with them every time a new book comes out. Tuxbury is really more of an extended family than made up of merely neighbors. They love their craft beers, baked goods, whatever Audrey cooks up in the Shipley kitchen for Thursday dinner, organic farming and the sense of community that pervades the True North series are what make it special for me.
May is the oldest Shipley daughter. She calls herself a hot mess for many reasons; she’s an alcoholic, made mistakes aplenty and she generally feels like she’s always fucking something up. In short, no one is harder on May than May. She’s bisexual and been in love with her best friend Lark for years, but Lark does not reciprocate her feels. She actually went and fell for the nicest of nice guys Zach in Keepsake. That probably sent May into a bad “rebound” relationship with Daniela. Who is a bitch. A controlling, abusive and awful bitch.
Coming home from work one night May spots Daniela’s car at The Gin Mill and in an effort to be a nice girlfriend goes in and finds her putting on a show in a booth. With her ex. Who is also awful. Alec, The Gin Mill’s proprietor, intervenes before blood is shed. Good thing since I’m guessing the Vermont Bar Association would frown upon one of its members being charged with assault.
Alec Rossi is the boy your momma always told you to stay away from. He’s made a lifestyle out of partying. He’s the fun guy that found a way to hold a kegger in high school. Every weekend. He’s allergic to relationships and commitment, an allergy which has earned him a rep as a sex wizard. The ladies are never in short supply. Oozing charisma with an aura of laid back that borders on zen makes him VERY popular. He’s also a Rossi. There’s been bad blood between the Shipleys and Rossis since forever, so there’s a certain Romeo and Juliet vibe about Speakeasy that’s extremely appealing. There’s something sexy about sneaking around, isn’t there? Adds to the excitement or something.
Naturally both of these characters have more depth than they believe themselves to have. Both are well constructed and infinitely likable. The banter between them put a smile on my face and kept it there for the majority of the book.
They have sizzling chemistry and embark on a friends with bennies relationship which of course segues into deeper feelings. They both have baggage but that baggage felt genuine, honest. I never felt that mountains were being made out of molehills or that their angst was contrived. As I watched them fall in love I could see how well they compliment one another which is guaranteed to make me swoon.
May’s addiction is still very much a part of her life and isn’t downplayed. I wouldn’t say that I enjoy reading about addiction but if it’s going to be integral to the character then I applaud when it’s portrayed authentically and SB not only did that for May but she again addressed the opioid epidemic that’s plagued the northeast for several years now and is now spreading like wildfire through the rest of the country.
May’s bisexuality wasn’t sidestepped either. She truly believed that her future lay with another woman but once she realizes that she’s fallen for Alec she doesn’t hold back. She fully commits to him and the possibilities of a future with him, but it’s made clear that doing so doesn’t make her any less bisexual.
The fact that Alec isn’t intimidated by her bisexuality and is prone to “perving” on her lesbian fantasies made me adore him. Well, that and that he’s not afraid to show emotion. He wears his heart on his sleeve and is honest with both himself and May where his feelings are concerned. He’s a refreshingly honest male character who is alpha in many ways without being an alpha-hole. As much as he likes to believe he’s the antithesis of Griff, I noticed a lot of similarities between them. Alec’s just not as grumpy.
Making her happy makes me happy.
The backdrop of their love story is The Gin Mill and its future. It’s Alec’s baby and he has designs on expanding, just not the capital to do it. The way this storyline evolved put May and Alec’s connection front and center. It also showcased what makes me love the Shipleys and this little town so much. It made me a little verklempt a couple times to see it unfold. Maybe it was a little “too easy” but I do not even care. Not. One. Care. It was perfect to me in every single way and I can’t wait to reread it.
I have nothing else to say on this long and rambling road other than I LOVE GRANDPA SHIPLEY AND HIS OLD SCHOOL WORDS! Can’t wait to catch up with everyone in the next installment *side mouths* which I’m rully hoping is about Kieran and Roderick. Please don’t make me beg, SB.
An ARC was provided.