Title: Brown-Eyed Girl (2015)
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Extent: 240 pages
Review: I’ve been fond of the Travis family ever since I read Sugar Daddy. My favourite will always be Blue-Eyed Devil, but the series, as a whole, has a solid place in my heart and will always be one of those contemporary romances I revisit every once in a while. Brown-Eyed Girl, the latest of the series, is the story of the last of the Travis siblings, Joe Travis, and a cynical, somewhat career-minded wedding planner called Avery Crosslin.
Joe Travis is smooth, charming, and like all Travis men, a gentleman, in both the best and worst possible ways. Unlike his two older brothers, he chooses to stay out of the realm of business and is instead a photographer.
I have to admit that for a book dedicated to his story, I didn’t get a strong feel of his character—I didn’t feel like there was anything unique about Joe, especially compared to his brothers. He’s also persistent and occasionally pushy, and while I realise the other Travis brothers are as well, there was just not enough in Joe to make up for that fact. In short, I didn’t quite fall in love with him the way I wanted to.
Avery, personally, is another thing altogether. She’s cynical, which I can get behind, but more than that, she’s also really insecure and often suspicious of other people. Hearing her monologue can be quite exhausting.
If Joe didn’t leave much of an impression, Avery frustrated me. Her development was too slow for my liking, and I just didn’t really like her or find her relatable in general. What I can respect, however, is her dedication to her career as well as her integrity as a wedding planner.
The Love Story
I’m not a big fan of the ‘love at first sight’ trope—I’m not even a big fan of the ‘attraction at first sight’ trope—and it does bother me when it unfolds unnaturally, especially when the heroine describes herself as not caring for her appearance. Unfortunately, that’s Avery.
Joe and Avery’s relationship, personally, lacks much of the intensity and draw that the previous three books in the series have in abundance. Even until the end, I didn’t really know why Joe was so attracted to Avery except for her looks. It feels flat, unsatisfying, and forced at times, making it hard for me to suspend disbelief and really immerse myself in the story.
The Supporting Cast
Perhaps the best part about this book is the supporting characters. Most of the Travises make an appearance in this story and I really enjoyed reading about all their brilliantly loveable antics. Gage and Liberty, Hardy and Haven, Jack and Ella… the scenes when they carried the story were to me the most entertaining.
It pains me to give Kleypas, one of my favourite romance authors, just 2.5 stars, but I didn’t really enjoy this book. I don’t necessarily hate it, but I also had to push myself to finish it. It became more of a chore than an entertainment, which is frankly quite disappointing.
Would I recommend it? Not to a Kleypas first-timer—there are so many other books that really showcase her amazing talent as a storyteller—but a Travises fan who’s less picky than me can probably enjoy this quick, short read.