by Tillie Cole
I have sat on not only this but Sweet Rome for months, more fool me!!!
But when I heard that there was to be a third book released soon,I took that as my queue to settle down with the series so far and indulge.
Molly Juliet Shakespeare has travelled to Alabama to continue her studies under the continued tutorage of her Oxford professor. Never part of the in-crowd – Molly has learnt to block out the need to feel accepted and refuses to cowtail to many of the pressures that college life can bring. She has so far succeeded, happy in her own skin, she is determined to get her Master’s degree and become a professor as soon as possible.
Love is not and has never been on the agenda – definitely not part of the plan but when we first meet her she is parading through college in bright orange crock shoes, –which I hasten to add are the most hideous of items- without a care for what others may consider a serious crime against fashion, she made me proud to be British because it is only with the unerring confidence and complete disregard for the social niceties in life (which we British excel at), that like Molly, we feel obliged to use the word “fuck” regardless of the circumstances– good girl!!
Oblivious to everything and everyone around her, she makes the most of her day and although a run in with the loathsome Shelley leaves her slightly rattled – it also puts her front and centre in the path of Romeo Prince – and boy, is that a place that most women would give their eye teeth to be.
Romeo – and yes that is actually his name, so no laughing because when we get the explanation as to the origin of him being blessed (or cursed) with the moniker, we can understand that it is not through joy and expression of love – and hence why he insists that everyone calls him Rome!
Anyway, star Quarterback for the Crimson Tide Romeo Bullet Prince is a giant among mere mortals on campus and revered for not only his prowess on the football field but his conquests off the pitch. This guy goes through women like a duck through water – he is relentless.
But when he meets one shy, nerdy Brit – his perspective may just have shifted, because for a man who has no interest in relationships – the tide is about to turn!
The pace of the book is fairly swift,Molly is expected to pledge into a college sorority with her two roommates – Shelley has it in mind to have the girls perform a final test to gain entry to the sorority and having taken an instant disliking to Molly has the most unpleasant suitor lined up for Molly to kiss. Unfortunately for Shelley the pull that Romeo is feeling toward Molly negates his reputation and he takes on the task – the pair of them enjoying the resulting kiss a little more than anyone had thought.
Confusion abound, the pair of them realise that whatever there is between them is going to be pretty hard to ignore , they part ways when Shelley stumbles into the room and drunkenly make a play her for Romeo – He has a convoluted connection to her that is as twisted as it is abhorrent!
Molly is convinced that Shelley is his girlfriend and avoiding trouble is her method of choice so she steers clear but when an all too innocent theoretical debate between the two of them takes a turn for the personal, the touch paper has been lit – and it is now a case of stepping back to watch the fireworks – because this pair are going to set each other alight like a firework display on the 4th of July!
Knowing nothing about his beloved football, gives Romeo a chance to see that Molly likes him for nothing other than him – she sees the real person not the persona that everyone idolises.
Can he get his girl – oh hell yes – the QB knows a good thing when he sees it and he will do whatever it takes to make her see what she means to him.
Inviting her to the game – even though he is not really sure that it is a good idea because just when he needs to be at the top of his game in order to be first pick for the NFL – he is suffering his worst run of form –ever!!
But her first ever visit turns out to be more eventful that either of them could have ever imagined because when Romeo catches a glimpse of Molly in the crowd being jostled to the ground he leaps the barrier to make sure she is Ok, and when the whole exchange is played out on the huge screen their fate is sealed –but when the hometown hero steals a kiss, the crowd go wild -
"You gonna give up that sweet kiss?"
"If that's what you want."
"It definitely is."
The change is instant – his game has never been better and Molly is now the good luck charm for the Tide!
Rome has a complicated home life and parents that are beyond revulsion, but what he doesn’t lack is the ability to love – because he shows nothing but love and respect to Molly. He has tendencies that are sort of baby “alpha” – he is yet to grow into his full blown dominant side but when Molly gives him the control he needs he knows that he has found his soul mate.
“ Mol—you’re gonna be my fuckin’ salvation!”
They are perfect for each other and when push comes to shove they have each other’s back.
Molly struggles to understand the relationship that Rome has with his parents and having never had parents to rely on, she tries to see the best in what is a truly awful situation but when his folks are responsible for stripping the one thing they had been treasuring for themselves from them – all bets are off.
The last few chapters were the most poignant for me – they covered the whole ethos of the book – the fact that no matter the pain, we all need somewhere to call home, somewhere and someone that is your anchor and that will hold you firm when the world around you has shaken you to the core. For Molly that was Rome and despite her pain, she knew that he was her “Home” and for the first time in her life, she ran back… to him.
“A home is not a place. It’s not a country or a town or a building or possession. Home is with the other half of your soul, the person who shares in your grief and helps you carry the burden of loss. Home is with the person who throughout it all never gives up on you and brings you eternal happiness.”
This couple were delightful and the story was not all sugary, it had just enough angst and attitude to keep me interested. It had some characters that were more absorbing than others and some situations that I hope gather more impetus as the series progresses.
Overall, great start to what I hope will be a fabulous series from a gifted author