Review: Love at First Flight by Marie Force

Posted on February 17, 2010

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What would you do if the man you have loved forever announces that he’s been wondering how it feels to date other women? What if another man who is all kinds of sweet and wonderful says he’s in love with you but you’re not certain you can trust your heart again? Would you give the new guy who treats you like precious a chance or give your high school sweetheart one more try even though he’s bashed your self esteem and trust to pieces?

Quite a love triangle, isn’t it? Yeah, I’m not so sure what I would do. This was the premise of Love at First Flight by Marie Force. I originally passed on reading the book because I’m not a fan of love triangles or cheating protagonists. Bored during my reading slump, I picked up the book based on a recommendation from Mary G.

I should learn not to be so hasty in my decision to skip a book. The characters really blew me away. Surprisingly, I was really invested in the relationship conflicts and anxious to know which man would be picked. Another surprising thing – the love triangle was really minimal; the story focuses on Juliana’s struggle to find her balance when her world as she was sure of suddenly changes.

It was a struggle to review without giving any spoilers but here goes! And I’m sorry I wrote so much!

Series: None

Hero: TBD 🙂

Heroine: Juliana Gregoire

What if the guy in the airplane seat next to you turned out to be the love of your life?

Juliana, happy in her career as a hair stylist, is on her way to visit her boyfriend of ten years who’s working out of state. She’s wondering why they’re not engaged yet. Michael is going to his fiance’s parents’ home for an engagement party he doesn’t want. A states’ prosecutor, he’s about to try the biggest case of his career, he hates the distraction, and he’s having doubts about the relationship.

They sit together on the plane, and discover they’re on the same flight coming back. When the weekend is a disaster for each of them, they bond on the plane ride home. But life is full of complications, including their exes, who don’t want to let go, and when Michael’s trial turns dangerous, the two must confront what they value most in life…

Juliana has been dating Jeremy, her long-time boyfriend, with no marriage in sight. They are currently doing the long distance relationship because Jeremy’s job temporarily relocated him. All is well until Jeremy reluctantly admits that he has been thinking about dating other women. Although Jeremy insists that he hasn’t acted on his thoughts, Juliana calls for a three-month break to their relationship. The mere thought of their separation twist her heart painfully but both of them need the time apart to sifter through their feelings.

Michael is engaged to his college sweetheart, Paige, but has doubts about their impending marriage because he doesn’t want to be under the thumbs of her controlling father. For instance, Paige’s father was aware that Michael was swamp with work preparing for a high profile case yet he still planned their engagement party for that weekend. Michael later discovers at the party that his future father-in-law planned their engagement announcement as a part of a political campaign. When he confronts Paige and learns that she was in agreement with her father manipulating his career, Michael has enough and calls off their engagement.

Michael and Juliana met while waiting for the same flight to visit their significant others. And they meet again on their return flight home. The connection that started between them at their first meeting rekindles as if they knew each other forever and never parted. One thing leads to another and they become roommates when Juliana needs a place to stay in lieu of staying at the home she and Jeremy share.

I can’t quite decide who I like more – Juliana or Michael. Juliana is a hair stylist who loves what she does for a living because it makes her feel good when she helps someone feel better about their appearance. She is one of those women who are so very sweet and kind that you wonder how she can be genuine. But what you see with Juliana is sincere; she’s a generous woman even to strangers she’s never met before. And to those she’s known most of her life? She’s generous and loyal – as she is to Jeremy, even though he ripped her heart out.

Michael is a great guy and I thought he was just the perfect complement for Juliana. He is all masculine to Juliana’s femininity. The combination of his strength, tenderness, and confidence make him very attractive. Above all else, when Michael realizes that the depth of his feelings for Juliana ran deeper than with any other woman he tells her so but he doesn’t make her choose to be with him or leave.

Their time together was short of three months but I didn’t doubt the depth of their bond or dwell on how it may have built too quickly. It was a joy for me to see their relationship blossom from strangers to friends and ultimately to lovers. The chemistry between the two was just amazing.

At the same time, Juliana’s hesitancy in leaving Jeremy was understandably realistic – he was her rock for so many years. My heart really broke for her; her allegiance was torn between doing what’s right or following her heart. Just as she did, I kept second guessing the deciding factor for her. When Jeremy comes back remorseful and asks for a second chance, my feelings wavered along with her. Her decisions in the end were bittersweet and frustrating but it makes sense. Juliana needed to be secure with her self first before she could permanently share a part of herself with another person. Her will to be strong and independent even in the months of temptation and loneliness was admirable.

Love at First Flight isn’t a straight romance story. There is suspense added to the plot through the high profile case that Michael was working on. However, I don’t think the suspense was a necessity to the story. I also think that Michael was a bit too trusting with Juliana meeting the witness under protection, especially considering the severity of the case and the importance of keeping the witness’ whereabouts a secret. One other thing that also gave me pause was the way in which Juliana walked away from her conflict. Understandably, one of the guys had to change in order for Juliana to rationalize her decision. In doing so, it changed the tone of her predicament from difficult to easy and negated any sympathy I had for the guy which made me sad.

Nonetheless, this is a really lovely, romantic story. I tortured my nails while reading but it was worth it in the end when I finished the book with a smile and a hug to myself. [Thanks, Mary G!]

Grade: A-

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Posted in: A Reviews, Reviews