Sunset in Central Park
Author: Sarah Morgan
Reviewer: Jen Twimom
Sunset in Central Park is the second book in Ms. Morgan’s From Manhattan with Love series. The contemporary romances share the lives of three best friends: Paige, Frankie, and Eva, who are making their way in Manhattan after growing up on a small island off the coast of Maine. After recently losing their jobs, the friends started their own event-and-concierge business. Frankie’s expertise lies in gardens and flowers, so she spends much of her time creating masterpieces for bridal showers and weddings, which is extremely unfortunate for the anti-relationship Frankie.
Paige’s big brother Matt, who also happens to be the girls’ landlord, just lost his best employee and needs help with a challenging rooftop garden. It’s a job he knows will be perfect for Frankie, the woman he’s been in love with for years. He’s given Frankie all sorts of space, knowing her rocky history and fear of romance, but Matt’s done waiting for Frankie to come to him.
Sunset in Central Park is an enjoyable, light-hearted romantic read. Its best features are the three best friends and their deep and true bonds. Each woman felt genuine to me and treated each other with the utmost love and care. It was their connections that drew me into the story and kept me reading. And although this is standalone romance and I didn’t need to read the first book, I found that I wish I had read it. I wanted to get to know the girls better, and I felt like I would have known more about them if I’d read the first title.
Matt is the perfect guy… not just for Frankie, but in general. Good looking, successful, caring, generous… need I go on? And as much as Frankie tries to push Matt away, he is understanding of her reasons, not letting her “get away” with her behavior. He pushes just enough, confusing Frankie, as her mind, body, and emotions don’t know how to process Matt’s actions. Watching Frankie get flustered and turned on by Matt was entertaining. But also heartbreaking, as she slowly revealed her insecurities. Each layer pulled back brings with it pain for Frankie. Memories she needs to get past in order to learn to love. Matt is just so incredibly sweet, that when he finally hits his limit, my heart broke for him (and Frankie).
I was ready to give Sunset in Central Park an “A-” because I enjoyed it so much. However, that changed with about 5% left in the title. Without giving spoilers, I will state there was a dramatic situation injected into the storyline just as the book was reaching the culmination of the romance. I felt it was completely unnecessary drama that was added purely to heighten the situation. It literally pulled me out of the romance and story all together. Luckily, it was over fairly quickly, but by then, the book was almost over, and I was a bit distracted.
Overall, Sunset in Central Park was a lovely “weekend escape” to the big city. I enjoyed meeting Frankie, Paige, and Eva. Frankie and Matt’s story was sweet and passionate. Frankie’s backstory was honest and meaningful – I think a lot of women will relate to her on some level. I do wish I’d read the first book – not because I needed it to enjoy this one, but because I liked the characters so much, I wanted to know more about them; read their introduction and discover Paige and Jake’s story. Honestly, it was an extremely enjoyable tale, all except the drama of the last 5%, which was completely unnecessary for the story. With that said, I look forward to reading more and discovering Eva’s story – another girl who deserves her own HEA!
Love has never been a priority for garden designer Frankie Cole. After witnessing the fallout of her parents’ divorce, she’s seen the devastation an overload of emotion can cause. The only man she feels comfortable with is her friend Matt—but that’s strictly platonic. If only she found it easier to ignore the way he makes her heart race…
Matt Walker has loved Frankie for years but, sensing how fragile she is beneath her feisty exterior, has always played it cool. But then he uncovers new depths to the girl he’s known forever and doesn’t want to wait a moment longer. He knows Frankie has secrets and has buried them deep, but can Matt persuade her to trust him with her heart and kiss him under the Manhattan sunset?
Release Date: August 30, 2016
Series: From Manhattan with Love #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format(s): paperback (384 pages), e-book, audiobook
Book Source: NetGalley