Scandal meets While You Were Sleeping in a D.C.–set romance
Leighton Clarke is a ruthless and powerful Washington lobbyist, the daughter of a prominent African-American political family. She’s engaged to fellow power broker Thomas Moran, who's white, but before they can plot world domination, there is the pesky matter of her attraction to his younger brother, Jonathan. Jonathan, a world-class chef, just moved to D.C. to open a new restaurant. Thomas is “suits, salary, societal status,” while Jonathan is "food, friends, and fun.” When Leighton suffers a traumatic brain injury and spends time in a coma, Thomas asks Jonathan to pose as her fiance to deal with the doctors while he concludes a business deal in London. When Leighton emerges from the coma with amnesia, Jonathan keeps up the charade without telling his brother. Book 3 in Livesay’s (Along Came Love, 2016, etc.) Shades of Love series, featuring interracial couples, suffers from the paternalism and duplicity the amnesia trope requires. Leighton’s vulnerability and anxiety are touchingly portrayed, although it's hard to understand why she never checks her social media accounts. Leighton’s accident helps her grow emotionally when she realizes her cynicism is less the inevitable result of living in D.C. and more a defensive reaction to some damning revelations about her parents. Jonathan is sexy and sweet, but the deceit at the heart of his romance with Leighton, both toward her and toward his brother, makes their relationship a tough sell. A visit by the two couples from the previous books is a welcome, and amusing, diversion.
A complicated heroine and a sexy chef mix it up in an uneven amnesia romance that might leave some readers with a sour aftertaste.