Top critical review
Loved Ruby and Bancroft's banter.
7 June 2017
Reviewed by Sharon Thérèse
I was really looking forward to this romantic comedy standalone novel; nonetheless, I was a bit taken aback to see a change in Hunting’s style. Her writing tactics took me a while to get used to, one being the inner-dialogue used. Understandably, the main characters’ narrative of their dilemmas, their backgrounds, ambitions for the future and what they thought of each other really helped put me in the picture. Saying that, the interior monologue is as such that I found it a little heavy going in some parts of the story and ended up skim reading. The banter seriously kicks in when Ruby Scott accepts an offer she can’t refuse from Bancroft Mills. Innuendos not only take precedence, but are also so well-construed that the dialogue kept my attention until the end of the book.
Although not new, I enjoyed the variation of the well-to-do parents who have certain expectations for their grown-up children. And of course, romance roommate novels have been around for a while, so coming up with a refreshing plot like this one couldn’t have been an easy feat for the author. Ruby and Bancroft’s dual point of view in present is my favourite storytelling technique too, so why then, after these words, did I give this book three stars? A couple of grey areas seemed to get the better of me. Firstly, Ruby’s relationship with her father. It just didn’t seem to ring true, I felt as if it needed more development and the lack of communication between them frustrated me. Then after considering the time span, I thought the pace could have been a tad faster and the stream of thoughts, shorter. Ruby’s bestie is engaged and her betrothed, hmm…giving me an insight into what he was like (an a-one jerk), and then leaving me hanging, well, I would have been much happier to see what had happened to these two. Especially seeing that I really connected to the bride to be.
Ruby’s full of life, ambitious, and never did she give me reason to doubt her. Her persona is refreshing in the respect that she’s not your pampered rich heroine who runs to mummy and daddy when the tough gets going. I liked her determination and why she wanted to prove herself in itself is interesting. In a pickle, her way of coping with her problems stands out and how she goes about solving them, quite normal under the circumstances. The guy she’s shacking up with who just happens to be MIA, has given her a chore or two! Ah, chores which I have to say were blinking fabulous and for me, the best part of the story underlined and highlighted.
I cannot argue that Hunting hasn't nailed Bancroft’s character perfectly because she has. Time and again I was shown how in control and together he was. He wants his demanding father's approval, a man who has the last word in anything to do with the family business. His reasons are very different to Ruby’s but make for a thought-provoking comparison. Bancroft is a totally gorgeous hunk of a man, (no exaggeration -- he's built like a tank), whose charm and humour won me over instantly. How could he not? Unpretentious and well-mannered, he's better-known in young women's circles for a couple of his...ahem, attributes! The way he and Ruby literally bumped into each other is embarrassingly sexy and the consequences change everything. From here on in, I had the pleasure of watching how they grew close, how they looked forward to their chats, text messages and video calls.
I really appreciated the slow build-up to the climax of their story, climax being the operative word as the bedroom scenes are off the charts! Ooh, and it's a fact that I like nothing more than dirty talkers! The ending… it let me down a tinsy-winsy bit as I felt the two protagonists deserved a much bigger send-off. It's a great pity I had these few issues with Shacking Up because I really wanted to award it more stars.