Hospitality consultant Andrea Sullivan has one last chance to snag a high-profile client or she’ll have to kiss her dreams of promotion good-bye. When she’s sent to meet Scottish celebrity chef James MacDonald on the Isle of Skye, she just wants to finish her work as efficiently as possible. Yet her client is not the opportunistic womanizer he portrays himself to be, and her attraction to him soon dredges up memories she’d rather leave buried. For James, renovating the family hotel is a fulfillment of his late father’s dreams. When his hired consultant turns out to be beautiful,intelligent, and completely unimpressed by his public persona, he makes it his mission to win her over. He just never expects to fall under her spell.
Soon, both Andrea and James must face the reality that God may have a far different purpose for their lives—and that five days in Skye will forever change their outlook on life and love.
You may be thinking, “Didn’t she already review this book?” Yes, yes I did. But it’s that good so I’m reviewing it again. (My blog, my prerogative lol) I practically swallowed this book whole; it was that excellent. Carla Laureano’s writing voice lilts warmly and engagingly and immerses you in the story until you become part of the scene rather than just reading words on the page. The characters reached out and introduced themselves to me … and then quickly became old friends I was joining on their journey. I hadn’t read more than 2 or 3 pages before the brewing romance had me solidly in its cheering section, and the tenderness wielded as different characters wrestled with God was the perfect blend of the reality of faith without being too preachy.
Things I loved the most:
1) James.. oh James. Can we just pause for a moment and have a token dreamy sigh in honor of James? All together now. *Dreamy sigh* I may need another one (or ten) while I’m writing this so bear with me… James is one of my top 5 romantic heroes and the scene where he and Andrea meet ranks as one of my favorite hero-heroine introductions of all time. Classic romantic comedy movie material. The first time Andrea sees James, she thinks of him as “Handsome enough she took a second look and immediately wished she hadn’t been so obvious about it. His grin made her heart do things it was certainly not intended to do.” Are you grinning yet? Because I am. Again.
2) The flirting. James is incorrigibly flirtatious and Andrea doesn’t quite know what to do with him. She figures it out, of course, and their interactions make for some really fun reading. “He grinned, and she almost felt relieved. Playful was much preferable to… smoldering.” Y’all. This was only on page 46 of the book on my Kindle app. I don’t know how it translates into print copies, but either way – we have only just begun and we are already winking and grinning and playful and SMOLDERING! Be still my heart. How did Andrea stand it? How did Carla stand it while she was in his head writing him?? This is a question I must know the answer to one of these days. Carla Laureano is my new hero.
3) Andrea. I felt she was the perfect heroine to contrast James’ character. She’s confident but uncomfortable with life at the same time so she doesn’t really know how to take James’ flirting at first. I got the impression that Andrea has all this natural talent and yet she is still playing a part that society has dictated for her, one which at heart she knows is unnatural for her. (In many ways, she and James share this quality.) One of the most beautiful things about Five Days in Skye is the opportunity to watch Andrea relax and unfold like a cocooned butterfly with each moment she spends in James’ presence. It is not an easily-won metamorphosis though as evidenced by this glimpse into her struggle to put past tragedies aside and accept the potential of the relationship she wants with James: “…she felt like she stood on a precipice. She couldn’t see the bottom, didn’t know if jumping would earn a soft landing or dash her against the rocks. Could she summon the courage to leap?” (At this point I think I may have shouted, “Leap, Andrea! Leap! Look at the man with all the integrity plus the winking and flirting and SMOLDERING, for the love!)
4) The theme of restoration. Both James and Andrea are struggling to find their place with God – James in the public eye and Andrea after she felt God abandoned her. James himself expressed Andrea’s struggle with God as not one who had given up but one who was seeking and “waiting for something to prove her [doubts] wrong. Something to make her believe again.” I think many of us can relate to that idea – either because we ourselves have personally felt that way or we know/love someone who has. It’s not that we quit believing, but instead we are desperate for someone to show us why we shouldn’t quit. As Ms. Laureano so eloquently put it, “We’re all broken. We’re only human. Some wounds only God can mend.”
Bottom Line: Five Days in Skye gets 5 out of 5 stars and a firmly entrenched spot on my favorites shelf! Highly recommended for readers who enjoy contemporary fiction and grin like besotted fools over flirtatious heroes 🙂
Carla Laureano is the author of the RITA® award-winning romance Five Days in Skye as well as London Tides and the Celtic fantasy series The Song of Seare (as C. E. Laureano). A graduate of Pepperdine University, she worked as a sales and marketing executive for nearly a decade before leaving corporate life behind to write fiction full-time. She currently lives in Denver with her husband and two sons
Five Days in Skye is available for purchase through Amazon.com.
Note: I received this book as part of the Five Days in Skye blog tour from Radiant Lit. I received no compensation for this review and only received a copy of the book for review purposes.
Review copy provided by the publisher.