NYU professor Laurel Jennings has spent her career climbing the ladder in the academic world. Dedication has yielded a deanship and a home in New York City’s Greenwich Village, but her smile hides her long-suppressed pain of rejection.
Gino Milano is one of New York’s most successful restaurateurs. Family-oriented, generous, kind, and hospitable, the death of his beloved wife of thirty-five years has left Gino wandering from fling to fling, without the intention of finding that kind of relationship again.
On the eve of college reunion season, this reserved divorcee and passionate widower cross paths in the lobby of their building. Faced with the prospect of being the only one of her friends to attend their thirty-fifth college reunion alone, Laurel impulsively asks the first man she sees. Gino, intrigued by her candor, agrees to help — but dismisses any possibility of romantic interest.
In need of help of his own, Gino offers Laurel a deal: he will accompany her to her reunion at Duke if she helps him fend off the advances of women at his own weekend of fundraising events. Initial doubts give way to playful moments and personal revelations as matters come to a head on a beautiful April weekend at Duke University. Can both of them find love after all they have been through?
Love After All was a different book for me. I can honestly say that I have not read a book where the main characters in the romance novel were older than me by around 16 years. And if I am being honest, I was not sure how I would feel about that possibility of a romance novel like that if it led the character’s down the path of sexy times. Kinda like how you never want to know about your parent’s having sex, you know what I mean?
But the description of the book intrigued me so I gave it a fair shot.
This book is about Laurel and Gino, who are both single, living in NYC, and in the same apartment building. Laurel is a divorcee who has been single for a long time, while Gino is a widower. Gino has, in his way, played the field since his wife’s passing, but never settled down. Laurel has had what amounts to one relationship since her divorce with said relationship being over 10 years ago.
Laurel, a professional/independent woman on the outside with a ton of insecurities on the inside. She is employed in the education field and is a very educated woman. Gino is a professional man in the restaurant business. On the outside, assuming these two have anything in common, they would appear to be a match. Also assuming they can get over their own hang-ups and stereotypes.
They meet in the lobby of their apartment building and they start to….for the lack of better words, date. It’s awkward at times, because it starts out as a mutually beneficial agreement. No, I don’t mean sex. I mean, Laurel needs a date to a college reunion and he needs a date to an event he is attending. The initial stages of their relationship appear to be difficult, if not painful. But really, it’s difficult for both of them to get to that place where they truly acknowledge that they have perhaps found someone they can spend the rest of their life with. So, the initial stage of their friendship/relationship is them getting to know each other. Slowly, they develop feelings. And quite honestly, it was pretty great. And realistic. I was explaining it to my blog partner. She said to me…so it’s a book….about real things? And I am like yes, it is. It’s two people who could actually exist in the real world, with real problems, who are older, established, and they fall in love.
There is chemistry between these two, without the all out erotica that seem’s to be the norm today. And please don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy all that other romance-y erotic stuff too, but I also love a solid, normal, realistic love story. Which is what you get with Love After All.