Source: we received an e-ARC of the book through NetGalley for review purposes.
Of all of Harlequin lines, Superromance is hands down my favorite one (closely followed by Medical Romance). These books can be a bit misleading, just based on the cover and the blurb one might expect a light romance, but what you get is so much more than that. The stories deal with serious topics and more than once I find myself crying. One Good Reason delivers all of that and more. If you are not familiar with Sarah Mayberry don’t waste more time and go get her books.
This book is a sequel to The Last Goodbye. If you haven’t read that one I don’t think you will have any problems following the story but I do recommend that you read them in order because The Last Goodbye is a great book, One Good Reason’s leads are introduced there and the backstory will make you much more emotionally invested in the characters.
One Good Reason is about Jon and Gabby. They both are wounded souls going through the motions of life without really living. Some years ago Gabby ended a long-time relationship with a guy she loved very much (this would be Tyler, the hero from The Last Goodbye) because he was emotional unavailable and unable to really open up to her. They now work together and are best friends but she never really got over him. She had to suffer through seeing him fall in love with someone else and even though she tries to convince herself that she is fine with it, what she really feels is pain. Jon is Tyler’s big brother, because they had a very difficult and traumatic childhood Jon left home as soon as he was 18 and never really tried to have a relationship with his brother. When their father dies, Jon comes back and agrees to work with Tyler but he remains distant.
This was a very compelling story. I was glued to the book rooting for Gabby and Jon to find happiness. Gabby was an interesting character, she wasn’t exactly the scorned woman but she was very much in pain. After breaking up with Tyler she just let go a little bit. She stopped dating, stopped using makeup and basically went to a safe place and stayed there while life went passing by. I don’t think she was unhappy, but she wasn’t happy either. It takes some time for her to figure out that she is wasting her life, but once she does it she comes back with a vengeance. I really liked that she learned to put herself first and to not be a martyr. I don’t usually like tomboyish heroines but Gabby was very likeable and one of those people who you just want to be friends with. I found her character realistic, flawed and relatable (and slightly masochistic because I had a hard time understanding how she managed to work with Tyler especially after he went and found true love with someone else).
Jon was a handful. I liked him very much but he was the epitome of a tormented hero. As I said before this book might seem light just based on the cover and the blurb, but it deals with some serious issues, in this case abuse. Jon has spent his entire life feeling guilty and insignificant and it takes a lot of work for him to let go, move on and allow himself to be happy. By the end of the book he is still working on his issues and I was really glad about it. Yes it has a happy ending, yes I felt good and yes I was sure that they will live happily ever after, but they were working towards that and the problems didn’t magically disappear by the end of the book.
I liked this book even more than The Last Goodbye. The real connotations of what the brothers went through were much more evident with Jon than with Tyler. I don’t know if this was because Jon had isolated himself or because he was much more tormented, but this book felt more dramatic. It isn’t a tragedy by any means, it has some light moments and it had a feel-good ending, but I cried for Gabby and for Jon.
I recommend this book to every contemporary romance fan out there. It definitely is a drama, but it doesn’t have any angst and is a short book so if you are looking for a touching story to take to the beach or to enjoy during the summer this one is perfect.
If you read The Last Goodbye, Tyler and Ally play important roles in this book and it pretty much closes the story between the brothers that was left open-ended with that book. As I said I do think that you should read that book first because both stories are intertwined and it can almost be read as one single book, even though this one works as a stand-alone.
Review by Brie
It's time to move on.Any day now Jon Adamson will pack his bags and hit the road. After all, his intention was never to hang around Melbourne once he'd settled his late father's affairs. Yet he hasn't moved on. And it might have something to do with Gabby Wade. The not–so–big office manager with the really big attitude is making Jon's days…interesting…engaging…fun. It's impossible for him to resist her.But he knows himself—long–term commitments and cozy family dinners aren't his style. If that's what the future holds, why is he still here? And why is he spending all his days—and nights—with Gabby? Because maybe she's the one reason strong enough to make him stay.
Harlequin. August 2, 2011.