by Rebecca Brooks
Publication Date: July 20, 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Standalone
Reeling from a sudden breakup, Casey Webb leaves Brooklyn, drives north, and settles in a sleepy mountain town in upstate New York. She’s convinced she’s happy being alone—until she reads the acknowledgments in her ex-boyfriend’s hit debut novel, thanking his new girlfriend “above all.”
Good thing Ben Mailer is in town. The hot, young Brooklyn-bound chef offers the perfect distraction. Soon the backwoods are heating up… But as their fling turns into more, the demands of Ben’s family and budding career make moving to her idyllic town impossible.
Now Casey must decide what she can’t live without—her life in the mountains, or the man she wants to be hers above all.
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Rebecca Brooks’ Above All! This novel tells the story of a woman named Casey who fled Brooklyn after a bad break up, landing herself at a campground in upstate New York where a loving old couple took her in as one of their own, giving her a job and a place to live. Casey loved her solitary lifestyle where she could enjoy nature and work on her paintings and sketches. One day, a young man named Ben visits the campground with a group of friends, and Ben and Casey are immediately drawn to one another. Despite Ben being younger than Casey and his busy lifestyle in New York training to be a chef, they try to make a go of a relationship between them. Conflicting schedules, demands and dreams take a toll on their budding romance, however, where each is forced to truly examine what their hopes and dreams are, and where that ideal life would take place.
I absolutely loved the idyllic setting of Above All and was honestly jealous at times about Casey’s life in the tiny town in the mountains that she called home. I admired her ability to stand on her own and embrace a life that she loved, but her self-esteem issues were just too much at times. She ended up in Paper Lake and at the campground after a bad break-up, but then refused to move forward, driving me crazy because we all have bad breakups in our lives, often several bad breakups, but we still survive!
Anyway, my feelings about Ben changed several times while reading Above All. One minute I found him interesting, creative, and caring, but then suddenly he seemed heartless and immature. I tried to bear in mind that he was younger than Casey and struggled with standing up to his family and he did win me over eventually, but it was a tedious process.
Overall, I loved the plot and conflict of this novel, finding it relatable and realistic. Casey had her own issues, Ben had his own issues, and they had issues together. Even better, Brooks didn’t solve any of these problems overnight. This book is divided into seasons and it takes multiple seasons to develop and resolve both their romance and their career-related challenges. A billionaire doesn’t rush in after 200 pages and solve every concern or obstacle in Casey’s life, but rather, there is a slow process of discovering their true selves, healing old wounds, and embracing the future.
This is a very good read, but I will warn you that if you are a mountain person, you will be left with overwhelming wanderlust and the longing to swim in a crisp, clear lake!
*Thanks to Indie Sage PR for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest review!
ABOUT REBECCA BROOKS
Rebecca Brooks lives in New York City in an apartment filled with books. She received a Ph.D. in English but decided it was more fun to write books than write about them. She has backpacked alone through India and Brazil, traveled by cargo boat down the Amazon River, climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro explored ice caves in Peru, trekked to the source of the Ganges, and sunbathed in Burma, but she always likes coming home to a cold beer and her hot husband in the Bronx. Her books are about independent women who leave their old lives behind to try something new—and find the passion, excitement, and purpose they didn’t know they’d been missing.
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