One of the kinds of romances I’ve come to enjoy more in recent years has been the reconciliation story: that is, two people who used to date/be married getting back together after a breakup. It’s a much different kind of story than the regular romances, which start with the meet-cute and proceed through the initial courtship.
Rather, this is a story about two people who already know each other, and knew each other extremely well at one point in time. And I love watching them come to know each other again as they learn what’s changed about their relationship and what remains the same, and seeing if they can learn to avoid the pitfalls that brought about the breakup in the first place.
In Exclusively Yours, Keri Daniels is a writer for a celebrity magazine, and her boss could give The Devil Wears Prada‘s Miranda Priestly a run for her money. And when said boss learns Keri once dated reclusive bestselling writer Joe Kowalski, she gives Keri an ultimatum: get an interview, or find a new job.
They may have broken up 20 years ago, but Joe Kowalski certainly hasn’t forgotten Keri. And when she comes to town looking for an interview, he decides to have a little fun with her. Joe’s about to go on the annual two-week family camping trip, where there’s no electricity and no cell service, and lots of mosquitos. He invites Keri along, and for every day she sticks around, Keri gets to ask Joe one question.
However, it’s not just the mosquitos and lack of amenities Keri has to contend with: there’s Joe’s entire family, who wants them to get back together, except for Joe’s sister (and Keri’s former best friend), who definitely doesn’t. And then there’s the fact that their former chemistry comes roaring back with a vengeance. Can Keri and Joe survive the family vacation?
I don’t read nearly as many contemporary romances as I do historicals, but if this is any indication, I need to read more. Exclusively Yours is HILARIOUS.
I loved Joe’s unique idea for giving Keri the interview, and Keri’s tenacity in the face of activities she hadn’t done in twenty years or more. I loved the sections from Terry’s point of view, seeing why she was so angry with Keri and seeing her own romance as a subplot. I really loved watching both broken relationship slowly rebuild and rekindle.
Keri and Joe have some great banter, and I loved watching them reminisce about the good old days as they’re getting to know each other again. They’ve both changed a lot over the past twenty years, and Joe has become so reclusive to outsiders that Keri really has no idea what he’s gone through.
Plus, the entire Kowalski clan is fantastic. With parents and siblings and children all running around, the opportunity for shenanigans is endless, and all of them enjoy giving Keri and Joe all kinds of trouble regarding their relationship.
You can see why Keri falls in love with the family almost as much as she falls in love with Joe, which is a wonderful thing to see in a romance novel.
My sole problem with this book came at the end. I (for the most part) bought the happily ever after, but it just felt a little too pat. I didn’t fully understand why Keri made the decision she did, except perhaps because she was supposed to. It felt like certain things that had been important to her throughout most of the novel weren’t resolved satisfactorily.
Which is a shame, because up until then, I loved the book. It’s probably one of my favorites I’ve read so far this year, and the hiccup at the end is a minor thing in the larger scheme of the novel. It just made things feel a little off for me.
If you like funny, contemporary romances, you really should read Exclusively Yours as soon as you get a chance.