Review: Love on High Steel Bridge by Rebecca Rohman

love on high steele bridgeTitle: Love on High Steel Bridge

Author: Rebecca Rohman

Year of publication: Out today! The author kindly gave me a copy to read and review

The heroine: Doctor Robin Drake

The hero: Pilot Dorian Rae

The blurb: Captain Dorian Rae is a wounded soul who gets his greatest pleasures from being in the great outdoors and soaring the skies. When he has a life-changing encounter with a beauty on Washington State’s High Steel Bridge, he never anticipates that one meeting would have an enduring effect on him and change their worlds forever.

But fate seems determined to throw them together when she repeatedly shows up not only in his dreams but also, in reality…and in his past when he finds out that she played a role in the death of his best friend.

When a seemingly impossible friendship develops between the two, the lines between friendship and romantic relationship become blurred and Dorian’s efforts to stay out of a relationship—especially with a woman with such a tattered past―comes into question.

While her past catches up with their present, and disapproving family and friends enter the mix, the already deep-seated conflict that at first kept these two people apart, now threatens to break them up forever.

Love On High Steel Bridge will take you through high altitudes and to some devastating lows. If you like suspense, steamy love scenes and unexpected plot twists, come with Captain Rae as he flies the skies on this riveting journey.

Standalone or series: Book six in the Love on the Pacific Shores series, but can be read as a standalone.

The review: This book was such a mixed bag for me. There were elements I liked, such as some of the characters and the story line in general, but a lot of it just didn’t work for me at all.

Robin Drake has just gotten out of prison after spending seven years there for her part in the deaths of eleven people. A doctor, she was having an affair with a surgeon who, along with his son, was performing unnecessary operations to participate in health care fraud, and these people died as a result of those operations. She didn’t knowingly participate in any of this, but when she put all the pieces together she didn’t go straight to the police; blinded by love, she believed she could talk him out of it. When the police found out, she was arrested, losing her job, her marriage, custody of her children, and pretty much everyone in her life.

The story begins with her at her lowest point, ready to end her life by jumping off a bridge. A stranger, Dorian Rae, happens upon her, and he’s able to talk her down from the ledge and drops her off at hospital. He’s a pilot and can’t stop thinking about her, wondering how she is. When she comes back into her life through chance, he seizes the opportunity to get to know her better, and they rather quickly form a relationship. He faces a lot of resistance from his family and friends, but refuses to bow to their demands to dump her.

I did like Robin and Dorian as characters. I applauded Robin’s approach to life after her release; her guilt in the role she played was totally believable and she sought professional help when she needed it. She tried hard repeatedly to make amends to her family. Dorian, for his part, refused to be bowed by his family and friends who wanted him to dump her. He saw past the criminal record to the woman inside. I liked Dorian’s grandmother, who was wise and adorable.

I believe this book’s main problem is that it is far too long. It clocks in at 146,000 words, and the story could so easily have been told well in half as many words. There was a lot of repetition; scenes that were played over and over. Scenes with Robin’s therapist. Scenes where she tries to push Dorian away because she believes him being in a relationship with her will ruin his reputation and his life. Scenes where she apologises to everyone in her life for what happened.

There was so many subplots that were left unexplored, such as Robin coming across a homeless woman with her children that she buys meals for, even though she has very little money of her own. There was one with her cell mate that could have been explored more. There was one involving Dorian’s ex, who happened to be Robin’s new manager, that also went nowhere. Instead, the book was bogged down with so many of the aforementioned scenes that you got lost, and it was hard to keep track of who some of the characters were and what exactly happened that landed Robin in jail.

I found some of the dialogue and the behaviour of the characters with each other clunky and unrealistic. Some of the details were incorrect; Robin’s cell mate, Joy, was sentenced to nine years in prison for cashing $10K worth of fraudulent checks, but when I googled it the absolute most she would have gotten was three years in a county jail (and I have to wonder if Robin herself would have gotten such a long sentence, given how little she was actually involved in the crime committed). Some of the terminology used during the many sex scenes threw me out of the scene, and it constantly changed from being anatomical to slang and back again. The book was written in first person, and sometimes the POV changed within a chapter from Dorian to Robin or vice versa, and it was confusing.

This book was touted as romantic suspense, and while there was a subplot involving blackmail and stalking, it really wasn’t a major part of the book. To me, romantic suspense is when there’s a mystery from the beginning and doesn’t let up. But there was no mystery for some chapters and it was subtle for more than half the book, before ramping up at the end, so I would not have classified this book as RS and was disappointed by that.

I wanted to like this book a whole lot more than I did and I’m sorry I didn’t, because it had some good characters and had a strong plot, but it was let down by its length and lack of a good, sharp edit which would have elevated it so much.