Review: One Night in Boston by Allie Boniface


One Night in Boston won my summer poll. Here’s part of the official blurb:
Can anything really change in 24 hours? Can everything?
Maggie Doyle is about to lose her home, her business, and her last grip on sanity unless she comes up with fifteen thousand dollars to pay off the bank. Her only option? Forget the pain of one life-altering night, find the stepbrother she hasn’t spoken to in years and ask him for help. Everything in Jack Major’s life is going according to plan. He’s rich, powerful, and about to marry Boston’s most successful attorney. There’s just one problem: he can’t seem to forget his first love, the one who left him in college after a whirlwind trip to Vegas with a secret she couldn’t trust him to keep.

It’s damned hard to review when you are also a writer. Really hard to put aside the “I wouldn’t have written it this way,” or “I really wish I could write like this.” Fortunately, I don’t write straight contemporary full length romances, so I had less of that going on this time. My real fear was that I wouldn’t like this book. I did. Here’s why I didn’t think I’d like it: the story is an old one, at least the basic idea. Woman is losing her home/business/inn/restaurant and the guy who wants to buy her out is the love interest. I know I’ve read at least ten books with this plot, but guess what? It usually works.

Second thing that troubled me: the hero and heroine don’t even meet for many, many pages. I usually hate that, and in truth, the first part of the book moved a little slowly for me. But by the time the characters met (and they did know one another in the past), I had a thorough understanding of their motivations, their backstories, and what they were up against in search of a Happy Ever After ending.

Ms. Boniface’s writing is very convincing. Once I got into this book, I really believed that Maggie Doyle was in pain, desperate to save what she’d scraped and scratched to build. I believed that Jack Major was a good guy caught in a world that didn’t quite suit him. I loved the character of Dillon, the “regular guy.”

This is a classic romance, in a sense one that could have been written anytime over the last several decades. But there’s an interesting twist. As much as this book is about loss, self-doubt, redemption, and finally, love, it is also about the definition of success. Maggie is a self-made businesswoman who is losing it all. Her stepbrother Dillon is a self-made businessman who has made it, but still has a hole in his heart. Jack, our hero, was born to wealth, but struggles to define himself in other ways. The way the three come together in forgiveness and a redefinition of family, trust, and belonging was masterful.

I judge a book partly by whether it resonates after I’ve finished reading it. My husband was all anxious for dinner, and I wanted a few moments to reflect on the book. I thought about it for a while. I had been drawn into Maggie’s world, and that says a lot.

One pet peeve: all the references to the Boston Red Sox. Don’t do that to a Yankees fan.

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