Loving Rowan (Friends Book 1),
by Ariadne Wayne
Publication: Wendy Smith; August 16, 2014
Synopsis: Rowan, Andrew, and Charlie were the best of friends for as long as they all could remember. Rowan adores Charlie because she’s another girl with a boys’ name. She’s in love with Andrew, and sure that one day they’ll live happily ever after. But when Andrew and Charlie break her heart, the painfully shy and socially awkward Rowan struggles to form new relationships.
Befriending Kyle, she quickly slots him into the best friend role vacated by Andrew, assuming that is what he wants, but Kyle has other ideas about the direction of their relationship. When Andrew’s life takes an unexpected turn, he isn’t ready to let go of the girl who grew up idolizing him. And he’s prepared to do anything to keep her.
So today I decided to just randomly pick something that had been on my Kindle for awhile and just indulge in the guilty pleasure of a contemporary romance. I sat down a few hours ago with “Loving Rowen” and was completely engrossed in the story until the very end!
This is the story of a young woman named Rowen, who has grown up best friends with Andrew and Charlie. The tricky part is that she has always been in love with Andrew. When she realizes they have secretly been a couple for years, she takes off on her own. She gets her own apartment and a new job, only to learn that a gorgeous guy, Kyle, that she had met on the bus months before, is the boss’ son and works with her. Rowen and Kyle become very close friends spending most of their time together as Rowen wishes that Kyle would look at her in a romantic way. Eventually, they both fess up and you would hope that they would live happily ever after. However, after Andrew goes through a terrible loss, he sets his sights on Rowen and “suddenly” wants her in a romantic way. Rowen and Kyle go through tons of challenges and drama as they try to cope with Andrew’s possessive and creepy behaviors.
First of all, I loved Rowen, although not at first. Initially, she seemed so withdrawn and had basically no self-esteem. However, her modesty quickly became a bonus about her personality, completely unaware of her unique beauty, loving personality, and quirky sense of humor. I fell hard and fast for Kyle who was not only described as incredibly hot, but he has to be one of the sweetest, most loving and romantic characters I have read about. He was smart, funny, patient, selfless, and incredibly loving. This was literally one of those reads where you swear you can feel the chemistry and connection between the two main characters, more like watching a movie than reading a book. I disliked Andrew and Charlie from the start, originally because of what they did to her, but then their continued behaviors confirmed how selfish and self-centered that they were. Kyle’s Dad and Rowen’s parents were also wonderful, although I wasn’t sure about Kyle’s Dad in the beginning.
“Loving Rowen” has a variety of subplots, so don’t think that this is just a lovey-dovey romance. Rowen fights her internal battles about being betrayed by Andrew and Charlie and then trying to rebuild some sort of friendship with them. Rowen also struggles with her low self-esteem and the ability to trust Kyle and his feelings. Even worse, the poor girl has to put up with her old-timer boss at work trying to sabotage her career. Just when things seem perfect for Rowen and Kyle, then comes conflict and suspense adding even more to this story.
I must admit I was distracted by some editing issues, but otherwise, this is another example of why I love Ariadne Wayne’s writing. Her stories always pull me in and I quickly feel connected to the characters and their circumstances. I hated that her main character thought so poorly of herself at the start of the novel, but I loved how she grew more assertive and sure of herself, as well as, what she wanted out of her life, throughout the novel. I will be reading the follow-up to this very soon, as I already have it downloaded, and am hoping that it will be just as wonderful 🙂