Review of ‘In the Black’ by Luci Dreamer
After seeing that Luci Dreamer’s debut historical novel ‘Heart of Gold‘ had great reviews, I was interested in reading her lesbian second chances romance novel ‘In the Black’. I’m happy that I did as I’ve enjoyed it a lot.
Captain Michelle ‘Mitch’ Mitchell is happy with her job as a firefighter and her life in general but when her first love Lilly comes back to her hometown, the walls that she built around her heart start to crumble. Lilly Tan was Mitch’s first love. Lilly didn’t intend to break her heart but she wanted to broaden her horizons beyond their hometown. So when she comes back after ten years to deal with her ailing aunt and a failing family bar, the old wounds with Mitch are reopened and their feelings reignited. But will they give themselves a second chance?
‘In the Black’ is a return to hometown, butch-femme, second chances romance set in a small town in California full of endearing secondary characters. Ms. Dreamer takes her time to introduce us to the characters who are both realistic and relatable. The small-town setting surrounded by the beautiful Californian landscape, plays a big part in the story, in addition to the dangerous fires that are typical of that region.
As the story progresses, the reader learns that the motive of the main characters break up as young adults was a misunderstanding that could have been avoided with proper communication. I normally have issues with the miscommunication trope, especially when conflict is a result of characters refusing to have a simple conversation, but in this story, it doesn’t sound contrived and makes sense considering the leads’ ages back when they broke up. I appreciate that they found, later on, an adult way to deal with the miscommunications of their past.
I have to warn readers that this is a very slow burn romance, but it makes sense because the plot starts with Lilly having an established life in Atlanta with a girlfriend and a business there. Additionally, there are a few things going on beyond the romance, including a mini-mystery and a bit of wildfire action. As a result, the mains don’t spend that much time together as a couple so, in this case, an epilogue is needed.
Good thing that the author wrote one, though it’s available separately from the book (for free) if you subscribe to Ms. Dreamer’s newsletter. I emphatically recommend to read this epilogue as it gives complete closure to the story and without it, there’s a sense of a rushed ending. I understand the marketing reasons behind the author’s decision to separate the epilogue from the rest (I experienced the urge to subscribe to read on) but some readers won’t bother to get the promised epilogue. I really recommend you do, plus you will also receive a free short story ‘Knight in Shinning Armor’ which is very hot.
Overall, this was a very entertaining read, with endearing characters and some firefighter action. 4.5 stars.
ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.