Review: Yours to Keep by Serena Bell

Posted December 2, 2013 by Shari in Reviews / 3 Comments

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I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Yours to Keep by Serena Bell
Yours to Keep

One StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

Genres: Contemporary Romance
Published by Love Swept
Released on November 11, 2013
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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Ana Travares is a young woman always on alert to make sure no one finds out she is in the US illegally after her Visa expires when she is a child. Taking jobs that pay cash, not driving in case she is stopped, and most of all, not forming long term relationships outside of her family. Tutoring kids and new immigrants learning English, the school suddenly requires she fill out a CORI form which basically does a background check. The guy in charge of the tutoring list at school makes a move on her, knowing she doesn’t have status. But when she says no, he doesn’t listen, but a concerned father hears it anyway and helps to get her out.

Ethan Hansen is a single father and widower, trying to raise his son, Theo, right. He is a pediatrician and good with kids, except his own. When he hears a woman say no and interrupts the situation, he walks her out and finds out she can tutor his son in Spanish. But every time he sees her he falls a little more in love with her. Not just her looks, but her giving and loving personality.

The two fight the attraction, give in, fight it and give in several times throughout the story. While they are falling in love, obstacles keep arising between the two and secrets cause big issues. Ana lives with her two older sibling, two nephews and niece in a two bedroom apartment, they can barely afford. Not that they can’t work hard, but because they can’t get jobs without social security numbers and they refuse to use someone else’s. They live under the radar and try very hard to keep out of trouble.

While I liked the story, I didn’t feel the attraction between the two as I thought I should have. There was an age gap, but not a huge one. A son in the mix. Throw in some siblings, nephews and nieces and you had a lot of side characters giving their thoughts, derailing things and just plain making a nuisance of themselves.

The romance just felt pushed when it should have been the most natural part. The two ping pong around  on what they should and shouldn’t do and are reminded constantly of their differences. I wanted to smack Ana’s older brother Ricky a few times and the goon he calls his best friend. Ethan’s brother is a horn dog. We only get to see Ethan’s parents briefly and I liked them for the most part. Theo was a typical teenager and boy I am not looking forward to those years with my own.

What I did like was the eye opening look into US immigrants and the system they have to deal with to stay in the country. What happens when you have a Visa to enter legally, but your mother dies of cancer and it never gets renewed? If caught and deported, you have to wait 10 years to enter the US again (legally)? How some have to go about earning money to live in sub par places?

This isn’t a review of the immigration system, these are just the questions you ask yourself as you are reading this. I make no comment on the system or the immigrants here. That would be a different blog.

While I wanted to like a story that took a look into something I have never addressed in my romance, the romance was kind of dull and boring. No great leaps of love, nor did I feel the desperation that should have been there for each of them.

A good story, but not as powerful as I would have liked.

Do you like reading books where there seems to be no hope,
but hope shines at the end? Does love conquer all?

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Shari is the Delighted Reader. Married to her Prince Charming and mother to two Princesses and one Prince. When she is not slaving away as Cinderella she loves to get lost in the pages of a good book. Never without a reading device and a few good paperback books, because she never knows when she might get 5 minutes to read!

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Anna@herding cats&burning soup
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Aw that’s too bad. I really need to feel that romance in them. That is interesting the different set up and immigration being involved. I haven’t read any along those lines that I can remember.

Shari Delighted Read
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Shari Delighted Read

I think I might have liked it better, but it just didn’t seem real. I don’t mean they tried to fool anyone because they obviously felt attraction to each other and he fell for her before he knew she was here illegally. But once he finds out he jumps immediately to getting married and doesn’t love her fully yet. It was an interesting new take for romance. I appreciate that part at least.

Sophia Rose
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Sophia Rose

Immigration would be an interesting backdrop, but it would all fall flat if the romance wasn’t there. I have to be in the right mood for the ‘no/little hope’ type romances because there is always this part of me that isn’t quite sure the HEA will come.