I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affects my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
You know how sometimes you pick up a book expecting to love it and then when you do end up loving it, you give yourself a pat on the back for making good life choices? Well, this is how I felt after reading Opening Act by Suleikha Snyder. This was the first story that I’ve ever read by this author and I have to say that I am now a hardcore fan(girl).
While Opening Act is only a novella that contains 85 pages, it is 85 pages of pure unrequited love goodness. Yes, that is a thing. I don’t know how Suleikha did it, but she was able to capture that pain and angst that goes along with loving someone who is totally oblivious to the fact. I can personally say that it was relatable and true to life. Even with its ending that didn’t happen like it usually does in your typical contemporary romance stories.
Saroj Shah is a reporter who has been in love with Adam Harper, bass player and bartender, since the first time she met him in college. More than half a decade of pining after a guy that is one of your bestest friends in the whole world has taken a toll on her relationships and once and for all she feels that it’s time to move on. After an unexpected but fun little make-out session with Adam’s bandmate, JR
one night after one of their gigs, Adam seems to wake up from whatever la-la land he’s been living in, and is recognising that his best girl friend could very well mean something more to him. Let’s not forget that his hackles were raised when JR – who is bisexual, by the way, and I’d love to read his story so much – decides that it’s time to show Adam what he’s missing by laying one on Saroj. For me, that was definitely the kick in the ass that Adam needed.
It’s not easy for these two to finally come together. There’s a lot that needs to happen. While Adam hasn’t ever shown that he was interested in Saroj as more than a friend, he’s now thinking about that possibility and the fact that he isn’t good enough for her in a very genuine way that made the angst factor soar for me. He’s a hardworking blue collar dude that loves to play in his band but has to work double shifts as a bartender and needs a roommate in order to pay his rent because he’s trying to put away as much money as he can in order to further his education some more.
Saroj’s dad dropped her off on her first day of college in his BMW. While she does work, in the event that she loses it, she has her parents to fall back on. There’s also the fact that, yes, Saroj is Indian and her parents would prefer her to settle down with a well-educated, from a good family, nice Indian boy.
So yes, there is some slight conflict there pertaining to race and culture, which I love so much because interracial relationships happen. They exist. What’s disappointing is that it’s not seen in more stories that are supposedly best sellers.
These two characters, though, were able to see past the colour of each other’s skin and just deal with what was keeping them from being together and being happy – and boy, did they come together in a way that made my toes curl. I’m not even going to lie. I may have also swooned a little bit at some of the text messages that Adam sent to Saroj the night after.
“Why’d u leave?”
“I miss you already.”
“Meant what I said. I don’t regret any of it.”
“Call me, baby.”
The baby part may have gotten to me. What? I’m a sucker for it. But aside from the physical aspect, they really needed to deal with the heart of the whole matter. They needed to decide whether they could even attempt having a relationship and whether it would last and if it would ruin the friendship they’d established all those years ago.
“Making love and being in love were two different things… and as much as she wanted to forget that, she couldn’t. She didn’t dare.”
Overall, I loved this story. I could actually read more of it. The writing is strong and really packs a punch. A story that will leave you aching in all the best ways, and wanting more of it when it ends. A diverse story of love that needs to be read by all romance readers. It was so good. Very, very good. As a bonus I think Suleikha should write me a future-take of Adam and Saroj. Not too far in the future, but at a certain pivotal, momentous occasion. She can decide. I’ll just sit here until she does. No pressure or anything. I think my only complain was that I wanted it to be a touch more explicit, but besides that it didn’t take away from the story, in my opinion.
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