Spotlight Review: WEATHER GIRL by Rachel Lynn Solomon

From the publisher:

A TV meteorologist and a sports reporter scheme to reunite their divorced bosses with unforecasted results in this electrifying romance from the author of The Ex Talk.

Ari Abrams has always been fascinated by the weather, and she loves almost everything about her job as a TV meteorologist. Her boss, legendary Seattle weatherwoman Torrance Hale, is too distracted by her tempestuous relationship with her ex-husband, the station’s news director, to give Ari the mentorship she wants. Ari, who runs on sunshine and optimism, is at her wits’ end. The only person who seems to understand how she feels is sweet but reserved sports reporter Russell Barringer.

In the aftermath of a disastrous holiday party, Ari and Russell decide to team up to solve their bosses’ relationship issues. Between secret gifts and double dates, they start nudging their bosses back together. But their well-meaning meddling backfires when the real chemistry builds between Ari and Russell.

Working closely with Russell means allowing him to get to know parts of herself that Ari keeps hidden from everyone. Will he be able to embrace her dark clouds as well as her clear skies?

One of…

Amazon’s Best Romances of January

Apple Books’ Best Books of January

Goodreads’ Hottest Romances of January

Buzzfeed’s Most Anticipated Books of 2022

Popsugar, Parade.com, The Nerd Daily, and Fangirlish’s Most Anticipated Books of 2022

Library Reads top ten books published this month that library staff across the country love

https://amzn.to/3qdRwZo

Rachel Lynn Solomon follows up last year’s terrific The Ex-Talk with an even better story. This is not a sequel, so no worries if you haven’t read her last book. What I loved most about this new book is the added depth to the story – this is so much more than just a frothy romcom. There are plenty of laughs and some steamy love scenes, but it is the way Solomon has imbued her main character, Ari, with a debilitating mental illness, depression, that really resonated with me.

Ari grew up with a mother who suffered terribly from depression, but she refused to admit it or get any kind of help. Even when her father walked out on the family, in Ari’s mind it was because of her mother’s depression, and it partly was. Her mother dated over the years, but the same issues kept coming up, teaching Ari a valuable lesson: don’t ever let anyone know about her depression. Once Ari hit high school, she realizes that she, too, suffers from this disease, but it’s not until college that she finally gets the help she needs. We learn that with medication and therapy, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Ari has her dream job as a TV weather girl in Seattle, working for Torrance Hale, Seattle’s preeminent TV meteorologist and Ari’s idol. Except things at the station haven’t been the bed of roses she’d dreamt of. While she thinks she’s been doing a good job, she hasn’t had a review or any kind of constructive criticism from Torrance in the three years she’s been there. Ari wants to grow and learn, but it isn’t happening.

It turns out the Torrance used to be married to the news director, Seth, but they’ve been divorced for years. Time hasn’t benefitted their relationship though, they are constantly bickering and are at each other’s throats, to the point where it is creating a hostile work environment. Things come to a head at the company Christmas party, when Torrance throws Seth’s Emmy award out the window.

Russell is a sports journalist at the station. He’s the newest member of the team and that makes him the person covering high school sports. He doesn’t mind, he knows he has time to move up in the hierarchy. He and Ari end up being the last ones at the party and are hanging out at the hotel bar, discussing their bosses. They get the idea that maybe if their bosses got back together, things would be calmer and happier at work. And a plot is hatched. If this sounds familiar, think “The Parent Trap,” which is referenced here. There is also a cute Netflix movie, “Set it Up,” that has assistants matchmaking their bosses.

Outmaneuvering Torrance and Seth isn’t too difficult, but the more Ari and Russell spend time together plotting and scheming, the more Ari realizes she likes him. A lot. But that worries her – her dating history isn’t great. In fact, she was engaged but the relationship was doomed to fail because Ari never told her fiancé about her depression or the meds she was on. But with Russell, Ari feels like she can be herself.

Russell has his own baggage. He’s a single dad to a preteen girl, and his life has been wrapped around his daughter since he was a teenager. He hasn’t had a date in years, and as much as he likes Ari, he isn’t sure how to go about dating and being a dad. But this is ultimately a romance, and while there are plenty of hurdles to their relationship, they get their happily ever after.

There is an author’s note explaining how she, too, suffers from depression, which is undoubtedly why that plot line rings true and is handled with such sensitivity. As someone with family members who suffer from depression, I found it comforting to see someone with a similar affliction living her best life. I also loved that these characters are Jewish and living in Seattle, home to so many inspirational and Christmas romances (I’m looking at you, Debbie Macomber!) It’s not always easy being in a minority, and that, too, is handled with grace and dignity.

I loved Weather Girl, and I hope you do, too.

1/2022 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

WEATHER GIRL by Rachel Lynn Solomon. Berkley (January 11, 2022). ISBN: 978-0593200148. 352 pages.

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