*I received a free copy of When It Falls Apart from Montlake Romance via Netgalley. This has in no way influenced my voluntary review, which is honest and unbiased *When It Falls Apart by Catherine Bybee
Series: D'Angelos #1
Published by Montlake Romance on June 21, 2022
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Brooke Turner has always had a complicated relationship with her father. But when his health takes a turn for the worse, she drops everything to care for him. He’s her dad, after all, and he needs her. What Brooke doesn’t anticipate is the unraveling of her long-term relationship and a cross-country move to San Diego’s Little Italy.
Luca D’Angelo is the oldest of three children and a single father to a young daughter. When his mother rents the top floor of their house to Brooke, he’s angry. Who is this beautiful stranger with no ties to the neighborhood? Can she be trusted in such close proximity to his family?
As Luca learns of Brooke’s difficult journey with her ailing father, his heart softens. And Brooke, who witnesses Luca’s struggle as a single parent, develops feelings for him, too. But when it all falls apart, will love heal their wounded hearts?
I was thrilled to see When It Falls Apart land in my inbox. I’ve been meaning to read Catherine Bybee since meeting her in 2013 (yeah, I’m a bit s-l-o-w) and getting to be in on a new series from the ground level was really appealing. Luca and Brooke were a charming way to meet all the D’Angelos and this series.
Brooke was so…REAL! Needing a change following a breakup as well as having to take over primary care of her ailing father, she finds herself relocating to San Diego. Things seem to fall into place when she finds a facility for her father conveniently located and new digs in the area that drew her to San Diego in the first place. As a marketing guru, she works from home which allows her the flexibility to take care of her dad. We gain a deep understanding of her character as we see the way she cares for her dad (who essentially abandoned her), how close she is with her best friend, and her tight relationship with her co-workers. She’s genuine, compassionate, and loyal…someone you want to be friends with.
Luca was equally as genuine. He’s kind, hard-working, loyal. Being Italian and working in the family restaurant only added to his appeal. Add in the face he’s a single dad and I could easily understand Brooke falling for him. The way he was with Franny melted my heart. His having a meddling mother helped move things along and I couldn’t help but smile at her antics.
I delighted in the fact these two characters were a little older and had lived some life. Their relationship happened organically and I appreciated how they dealt with real life situations. And I appreciated the romance – finding real love after having only experienced a pale imitation. CBybee wove in family dynamics and issues, elder-parent care, blending a family, and work details with aplomb. It all combined to make the story that much more realistic.
With the exception of the plot device used to cause tension being a bit predictable, When It Falls Apart was a lovely read. I look forward to continuing the D’Angelos series with Chloe’s story. I’m also eager to dive into some of CBybee’s backlist which I’ve procured over the years. 😉