Eyes Like those – Melissa Brayden

Eyes Like Those – Melisa BraydenBook 1 in a new series set around the Seven Shores apartment complex in Venice Beach, CA and the wonderfully named coffee shop The Cat’s Pajamas, this is Brayden at her best.

Isabel is working dead end waitress jobs to force herself to write. She gets fired, again, but just as she starts to feel the pressure her bff calls to tell her she is lined up for an interview as a staff writer on the top TV show around, and suddenly Isabel’s world is transformed.

Taylor is Isabel’s role model, a hugely successful writer now running her own show and at the top of her game, a Hollywood player. Just getting the chance to work with her is huge, but when the sparks start to fly both women have hard choices to make about their personal lives and their careers.

This is a great start to a new series. A wide-ranging cast from Isabel’s new friends at Venice Beach to the crew and writers at the TV studio and Taylors wonderful friend Scarlett. The setting is well drawn, with the complex and neighbours sketched in ready for more detail and the coffee house a perfect meeting place.

Isabel and Taylor have the classic traditional romance, the “should they, shouldn’t they – but can’t resist”, the “obstacles to overcome; work, ex’s and career choices”, the “heart-rending break-up” that we all know will resolve into a crashing HEA. But while that might sound like a criticism Melisa Brayden does it so well that the formula sinks into the background. We all know how it will end, we can predict many of the steps along the way, but it’s such an enjoyable read that we still wait with bated breath for the story to unfold.

Melissa BraydenDespite being Isabel and Taylor’s story the other characters are incredibly strong; lightly sketched but still drawn in as complex multi-layered people; Scarlett with her excellent wit and grounding role in Taylor’s life, Gia, Hadley and Autumn at the complex who will no doubt be leading future books, even the grumpy landlord and the lead barista are memorable. These characters are people we want to be friends with – and more than anything this is a celebration of friendship and that wonderful bonding between women that simply makes our world a better place.

Brayden’s writing is just getting better and better. The story is well done, full of well-honed wit and humour, the characters are complex and interesting and the whole wrapped in the excellent craftsmanship of the master.

I will admit that I sometimes get bored of reading ten or more traditional romances a month and long for something different, but “Eyes Like Those” rejuvenates my romantic side. Excellent reading, highly recommended, can’t wait for book 2.

Did you know? If you purchase any of the books reviewed on the LRR from our Amazon shop or Amazon page links we receive a couple of cents per book which will help us support the Lesbian Reading Room GCLS Scholarship Fund.

(publisher review copy received)

Product info:

  • Paperback: 287 pages
  • First published 2017
  • Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (October 17, 2017)
  • ASIN: B075RYS527
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