Friday, July 13, 2018

Chelsea's Review: Cherish Me

Say hello to Chelsea, one of my new reviewers! Today Chelsea's reviewing her first Farrah Rochon book, a marriage in trouble contemporary romance that came out just last month. Enjoy!

Cherish Me by Farrah Rochon
Publisher: Wandering Road Press (June 25, 2018)
Series: Holmes Brothers, 7
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Harrison Holmes has it all: the perfect job, the perfect family, the perfect life. Until it all comes crashing down around him. Of all the problems suddenly complicating his life, the troubling state of his relationship with his wife Willow scares Harrison the most. In an effort to rekindle the dying flames of his once-perfect marriage, he makes plans to whisk Willow off to Italy for their wedding anniversary. But will it be enough, or will Harrison have to face his greatest fear of all, losing the woman he cherishes?

Willow Holmes has the kind of life she’s always dreamed of: a handsome, successful husband, a palatial home in the suburbs, and two remarkable children. So why is she so unhappy? Maybe because she had other dreams that went unfulfilled. Now she's rethinking the career and life she sacrificed to devote herself to marriage and motherhood. When her husband gifts her with a delayed honeymoon in Rome, Willow sees it as a first step in setting their relationship back on track. But how can she make Harrison see that one trip won't fix all that ails their marriage? And what will become of them when the secret she’s been keeping comes to light? 

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Chelsea's Review:

She’d expected her husband to fight for their marriage. She’d expected an impassioned tirade, for him to demand they work out their problems then and there. She’d expected him to start the conversation she just couldn’t bring herself to start. What she hadn’t expected was for him to pause for a couple of seconds before going upstairs to pack a bag.

Cherish Me by Farrah Rochon, the seventh book in the Holmes Brothers Series, is the story of a marriage on the rocks, and the belated Italian honeymoon that might just be the first step towards fixing it. It’s a summer romp down the crowded canals of Venice, a sip of limoncello as the sun slips below the horizon and the long shadows bring into view some cracks previously hidden

Harrison Holmes is sleeping on the couch in his law office, and he’s not entirely sure why. He and his wife, Willow, have always been in love. Easily, companionably, head-over-heels in love, and Harrison can’t exactly explain what’s happened over the last several months. But, in between his longers hours at his new, small law firm, and Willow’s struggles with the reality of her life, motherhood, and dreams deferred, a rift has grown between them. Harrison just prays that the anniversary tickets he booked to Italy well over a year ago will be the shake-up they need to get to themselves talking again.

I want to preface this review by saying two things: the first is that this is my Farrah book, which I deeply regret, and also makes starting at the seventh book in the series a little bit of a daunting prospect! However, I’m thrilled to report that it didn’t make a lick of difference to my understanding or enjoyment of this book! While I’m sure there are aspects of the familial dynamics and larger backstory that I missed out on, what is in this book is so rich and well-crafted an experience that never once did I feel like anything was missing.

The second thing I should probably say is that reading this book opened my eyes to a rather large gap in my own romance reading: established relationship stories! I don’t know why I have this blindspot, as heavily domestic established relationship fanfiction is usually some of my favorite! But when it comes to my professionally published reading history, I can’t think of a time where I read a book about two characters who were not falling in love, not getting married, but have been in love and married for  number of years, and are facing the challenges that arise with longevity in relationships, as life shifts all around us.

I really, really loved this book. Not only am I completely enamored with large-family books, Farrah has crafted a family in which each sibling jumps off the page, serving as sounding board, confidant, and comedic relief, in turn. I’m not saying anything that regular readers of the Holmes books don’t already know, but the easy camaraderie between the Holmes siblings leaves them feeling miles deeper and more expansive than the text devoted to them on the page. Harrison is a confused, frustrated, slightly desperate, and ultimately a deeply loveable hero who just loves his wife so, so damn much.

And Willow! Oh Willow Holmes. A woman after my own heart, Willow is coming to terms with the dual reality that she can both love her life in its current form, and also be sad and a little regretful that things didn’t turn out differently. As a woman in STEM, deeply committed to seeing other women of color pursue STEM fields, there is a great deal of potential that Willow feels she left unexplored, and the tension that unexplored aspect of her life is now building in her is rippling out to Harrison and her kids.

She was the one who’d said no. She was the one who’d decided she could better support her family by taking care of house and home. The truth, when she chose to face it, was an ugly one. The only person Willow had to blame for the regrets she’d felt since that dinner was herself.

So many aspects of this book hit me incredibly hard. Willow’s struggle to realize that it’s no one’s fault - not even hers - that her life has progressed as it has. Harrison’s struggle to communicate effectively because he’s never really had to before. The struggle to connect and just be with someone in a world where every day seems to add just more thing to the to-do list.

I took a trip to Rome my junior year, and this book brought all those memories flooding back in a tidal wave of sensory input. The tart of lemon, the warmth of the sun as it disappears behind monuments you’ve only had occasion to see in books — Cherish Me brought all of those sensations and more to life in a way that was truly captivating. And to top it all off, the reunion sex that Willow and Harrison have is so incredibly hot, touching, and emotionally charged. It’s just the bee’s knees, y’all!

I could go on an on about all the various aspects of this book that make it worth you time, but at that point, your effort would be much better spent just buying and reading the damn thing for yourself! Trust me, whether you’re a life-long Holmes family fan, or new to the club, this book stands up as a small beacon of light in the storm that is living in 2018, and I couldn’t be more happy to have read it.

3 1/2 STARS! 

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Source: eARC from the author

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Thanks for the review, Chelsea! I really enjoyed this one as well and plan on reading more from Rochon in the future!

Oh! And if you want to see some of the quotes I shared when I read it a few weeks ago, you can find them all here.

In fact, dear readers, if you want to start the series from the beginning, Deliver Me (Book 1) is currently FREE!


Until Next Time,

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