If You Ask Me
by Libby Hubscher
Rating: 4/5 Genre: Contemporary Romance/Women Fiction Steam: Closed Door Publisher: Berkley Pub Date: March 8, 2022 Thank you Berkley Pub for my Advanced Copy! You're the best! Available: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookShop
If You Ask Me Synopsis:
Violet Covington pens Dear Sweetie, the most popular advice column in the state of North Carolina. She has an answer for how to politely handle any difficult situation…until she discovers her husband, Sam, has been cheating on her. Furious and out of sensible solutions, Violet leaves her filter at the door and turns to her column to air her own frustrations. The new, brutally honest Dear Sweetie goes viral, sending more shock waves through Violet’s life. When she burns Sam’s belongings in a front-yard, late-night bonfire, a smoking-hot firefighter named Dez shows up to douse the flames, and an unexpected fling quickly shows potential to become something longer lasting.
A lot of people want to see the old polished Violet return—including her boss, who finds her unpredictability hard to manage, and Sam, who’s begging for another chance. But Dez appreciates Violet just the way she is—in fact, he can’t get enough of her. The right answers don’t come easily when Violet finds herself at her own personal crossroads. But maybe, by getting real Violet can write her own happy ending.
Content warnings are available on her website. “issues of infidelity, infertility, miscarriage, anxiety, and alcohol abuse. Anxiety/panic attacks and infidelity occur on the page; infertility and miscarriage are discussed several times and are significant themes.“
If You Ask Me Review:
This book gives me conflicting feelings for many reasons. I enjoyed the book for the most part, but that’s only after I mentally took it out of the romance category and into lit./women’s fiction. Once you make that mental shift, this book flows well and Violet’s personal journey was great to follow.
First, I just want to explain why I don’t want to classify this as a romance. It is mainly due to the romance plot line being secondary to Violet’s personal development plot–which is perfectly fine! There was limited conflict in the romantic plot and I was not as compelled to believe in it. Actually, Violet and Dez’s relationship was a struggle for me to believe. Dez was a little too perfect and everything just fell into place too well, but that may just be me. I DID, however, believe and enjoy Violet. Her development and character arc was incredibly messy, but it was truly the focus of the story and to say otherwise is a disservice to this novel.
My Confused Feelings:
Violet is one of those characters that you both like and want to slap upside the head at the same time. But I get why. Violet went from being this perfectly molded wife to everything she held falling to pieces around her. Between her job doing well but stressful and her personal life being held together by strings I can comprehend the lack of rationale for Violet’s actions. Sure, I cringed a lot but I never wanted to stop reading because of it. And honestly, her character was SO well crafted. She stood the line between stereotypical white suburb trophy wife and a woman of her own making for so much of the novel and her growing pains were PAINS.
This is where some of the weaker parts of the story came to place. I disliked the lack of continuity of flashbacks in the later part of the book because those made Violet’s character. Additionally, the secondary characters felt like secondary characters in the sense that I didn’t care too much about them or how they really affected the novel (minus Violet’s ex-husband). Dez was the most disappointing part of the novel, but I kind of wonder if that’s from residual belief in the romance centric plot of the book. Idk.
Long Story Short
Do I recommend this book? Yes, but once again not really as a romance as I feel it’s more of a women’s fic novel. I think that it’s an interesting story about the destruction and rebuilding of a woman entirely made. It’s such a good women’s fiction book. Honestly it would be GREAT for a book club actually. All in all I’m glad I got to read it.
If You Liked This One…
Another book that is similar in the style that it is more of a women’s fic book than a romance novel (and also is more closed door than even this book) is By Any Other Name by Lauren Kate. Or if you want something that’s about changing you life but has a ton more steam and is definitely a romance novel would be Yes & I Love You by Roni Loren. Honestly Roni Loren has become an absolute favorite author of mine!!
Libby Hubscher is an author and scientist. She studied biology at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine and holds a doctor of philosophy in molecular toxicology from North Carolina State University. Her work has appeared online and in textbooks, scientific journals, and literary journals. Her short story “The Unwelcome Guest” was long-listed for the Wigleaf Top 50 in 2018. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, two young children, and a menagerie of pets.