Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
The idea behind Dreamspinner’s “World of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the globe” series is sound, and actually pretty exciting. Combining exotic locales that most of us would love to see (but probably won’t) with a sweet romance is very attractive. This one, unfortunately, was somewhat disappointing – I got the impression that the author had never even visited Reykjavik, much less put in some serious research into it….
Ben is an American, a recently graduated engineer from Colorado who has been working as a mechanic because he couldn’t get a better job. His boyfriend, rich, and oh, BTW, a complete douche, broke up with him right before a planned vacation to Munich, and so Ben decided since he already had the time off and a passport that he would go somewhere else. Reykjavik, Iceland was cheap because it was October, the shoulder season, and Ben thought it sounded like as good of a place as any. Until he arrived, and he immediately started wondering what the heck he was thinking, to go so far away from home, alone, with no idea what he would even do when he got there.
It was cold and raining, and Ben was literally standing at the front door of the apartment he had rented thinking of how he could arrange to fly back home the next day, when a cab dropped off a beautiful nordic looking man with a sling and cane whom Ben dubbed the “Icelandic god” right next door to him. As Ben walked in to his apartment, he heard a crash from next door, and rushed over to help.
Solvin had been injured in a car accident, and though he was still recuperating, he had decided to stay in Reykjavik alone rather than moving back in with family. He didn’t want to need help, but he had to admit that it was pretty convenient that Ben was available, and willing, and it just seemed natural to start hanging out, and to show Ben the city.
Unfortunately, that is about as good as it got. Ben kept thinking about the douchey ex, and endlessly comparing him to the perfect Icelandic god that was Solvin, but instead of making Solvin look good, it just started convincing me that Ben was a doormat and an idiot for staying as long as he did. Americans were stereotyped as loud and obnoxious and the worst kind of tourists, Icelanders were stereotyped as calm and “nice” in a way that just made them sound boring. Ben and Solvin hit all the touristy spots of Reykjavik, and it felt like a poorly written travelogue more than anything – I swear I learned more about Iceland from watching Bizarre Foods on the Travel Channel than I did reading this book. The author spent a lot of time justifying why “nice” was a virtue, and so much better than “exciting” and that bothered me because I don’t agree that the two are mutually exclusive. And don’t even get me started on the ending – I get that books in this series are supposed to be sweet HEAs, but this ending was over the top unrealistic mush.
Cover art by Brooke Albrecht is really pretty! The Northern Lights sold me on Iceland, but I have to say the model looked like he came from a California beach, not Iceland.