Katiebabs is a self-proclaimed present day bluestocking with her head always in a book. She runs her own book blog called Babbling about Books and More!
The Bridge to a Better Life (Dare Valley #8) by Ava Miles should be a winner of a romance. It has so much to offer with appealing characters, great setting, a too good to be true hero (who is also a sexy retired NFL football player still head over heels in love with his ex-wife), and a cute beagle named Touchdown. The big blaring issue with his book that almost made me DNF is the heroine and her reasons why she divorces her loving prince of a husband. That premise is a big fail whale because of the heroine, who is overall one of the most annoying heroines I’ve read this year so far. Natalie doesn’t deserve Blake,. The way the author tries to explain why Natalie turned away from him and became distance doesn’t make sense at all. She shuts down in every which way because her sister-in-law, her brother’s wife, and her best friend has died of cancer.
Instead of The Bridge to a Better Life dealing with a still married husband and wife trying to save their marriage, and the heroine working through her grief, we have a confusing and ridiculous plot point to cause too much unneeded tension for the main couple and the long road the poor hero has to take in order to get back his wife, who treats him horribly. Because of the heroine’s selfishness, I couldn’t believe in their HEA at all.
Blake is a mega NFL superstar (think Tom Brady) who retires from the NFL right in the middle of an outstanding career. The reason is because he wants to get his ex-wife Natalie back who divorced him 2 years ago after her sister-in-law, Kim died of cancer.
Because Natalie is so grief stricken, she divorces Blake for reasons that don’t make any sense. Blake moves to the small town she now resides in, even moving into the house next to hers and building an actual bridge between their properties. He will do whatever he can to get Natalie back. Why? Because he loves her so much and they belong together. He takes baby steps with her by becoming her friend, which she accepts, and then going on innocent dates, until their attraction for one another can’t be ignored. Natalie still loves Blake, but can’t be with him, stringing him along because she is still suffering over the loss of her sister-in-law. It’s cruel of me to say this, and people deal with death of family and friends in different ways, but it’s not like Natalie lost a child or even a parent. Maybe if we had flashbacks of Natalie and Kim’s relationship, it would make better sense. But because we are only told about Kim, and not shown, there is no sympathy toward Kim, her husband, and Natalie’s feelings. I felt Natalie was beyond selfish. Her actions and motivations aren’t noble or admirable. She’s a heroine I can’t connect with or would want to. I wanted Blake to find someone else more worthy of his love.
I would have given The Bridge to A Better Life a solid B grade aka 3 stars because if not for Natalie, it really is a nice romance. The writing grabs you, there are nice moments of humor, and Blake is a near perfect book boyfriend. But this fails on the delivery because of Natalie, a heroine who isn’t what I feel a heroine should embody. I wish this would have been about Blake moving on from his selfish ex-wife and finding a woman who completes him and respects him. Very disappointing. Pass on this one.