Series: Love in the City, #3
Release Date: September 7th, 2021
I keep my nose stuck in a book where things are safe. But after a night out with friends, it becomes painfully obvious that while I’ve lived a million lives between the pages, I’ve never had an adventure of my own.
So when my sister asks me to fly to New York for her wedding, I decide to become Harriet 2.0: a bold, outgoing version of myself. Who knew this little experiment would initiate me into the mile high club?
Except, Luke isn’t just the tall, sexy stranger in the middle seat with a devastating smile and gorgeous forearms. He’s here in New York, and he’s totally off-limits.
When I learn that he’s a gamer who gets all my nerdy references, I can’t stay away—even if it might jeopardize my sister’s wedding. With my time in New York running out, I find myself wanting to do the most outrageous thing of all: take a chance on love.
CW/TW: mentions and scenes of bullying, mention of self-harm, anxiety and panic attacks, family discord
Jen Morris’ Love in the City series is something truly special. What started with Alex making an impromptu plan to visit New York and then finding love has now turned into all of us falling in love with every other character mentioned in these books. And now in the third installment of the series, we see Harriet going on a journey to find herself while also finding love in the unlikeliest of places!
Harriet is the complete opposite of her sister, she’s not always comfortable in her body and she doesn’t do wild and crazy things like her friends. And for a good part of her life, Harriet is okay with that. But when the question is posed about what is the most outrageous thing she’s done, Harriet draws a blank. She hasn’t done anything except maybe return books late to the library, if that. She’s not a risk taker and she’s not someone who jumps at the chance to do big things, she goes with the flow and it works just fine for her. But this question prompts her to shake off her fears and do something different. Which includes flying to New York to see her sister and be there for her on her wedding day. It’s a big leap – especially for someone who isn’t a fan of flying – but Harriet is on a mission to do something different and become a different version of herself.
Her first point of order – outside of getting on a plane to go to New York? – having sex with a stranger in the airplane bathroom. It’s way out of character for Harriet, but once she takes the reins, there’s no stopping her. And it’s wonderful.
I really liked these characters, mostly because of their dorky personalities. As a nerd, all of the references, all of the subtle hints and mentions of things through the course of the book made my life. I mean, Luke has a turtle named after a Ninja Turtle, for crying out loud! That alone should tell you just how much I love him. Harriet’s journey to become a different version of herself – I will not say ‘better’, because I believe there’s nothing wrong with who she was back home – is about taking risks and chances and trying new things. And I really admired that. While I didn’t think a makeover of any kind was necessary, I do understand where that comes from. I liked watching her blossom and grow into this confident young woman who steps out of her comfort zone and does something different with her life.
While the book is about Harriet and it’s about her journey, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my undying love for Luke. One, he looks like Casey Deidrick which is a big plus point in his favour. Two, he’s a nerd with Star Wars memorabilia and all the nerdy and geeky things that give me life. Luke is also a really great guy. Sure, he’s got a lot of baggage that he keeps from Harriet at first, but he’s got his reasons. Jen is really good at creating book boyfriends – Michael and Myles, now Luke and obviously Cory coming next! – so it’s no surprise that I loved Luke and know that everyone else will as well!
“Defuse it?” Mirth colors his tone. “You make it sound like a bomb.”
“Well—” I huff a laugh. “I do kind of feel like I’m on the brink of exploding when I’m around you. And I know it’s not just me.”
It took me some time to really feel the connection between Harriet and Luke, and even then a lot of her choices and decisions really had me struggling to feel their romance. Because they’re working on Alex’s wedding together (I don’t want to give away why, because I feel like that’s a huge part of the story), they’re putting together name cards, centrepieces and everything else that goes with it, and the tension keeps building. There are secrets and things they’re avoiding talking about lingering between them, so there’s a lot of ‘should we, should we not’ going on, but it all builds up to something great. While I do love Harriet and Luke together, not seeing Luke’s side of things did really impact the way I felt about their relationship. I know that Jen writes first person single POV, but I think for this book to be able to see where Luke is coming from would have heightened the relationship considerably. All that aside, they have good sexual chemistry and I love how with Luke, Harriet doesn’t hold back. All the things she’s ever wanted to do, things she’s wanted to try and experiment with all come out with Luke. And he’s a willing participant, which makes it so much more fun for Harriet.
Outrageously in Love, like the previous two books, is not just about finding love when you least expect it. But it’s about finding yourself. I love that about Jen’s books, it’s the focus on self-love, self discovery and really piecing yourself together when put in a tough spot. As someone who has ‘upgraded’ herself over the years to become more than what I was as a teenager, I understand where Harriet is coming from and I love that she doesn’t suddenly drop her transformation, but sticks with it and continues on that path she’s set out for herself. And I respect that!
Thanks to Jen Morris for generously providing me with an advance copy. I am voluntarily leaving an honest review.