Review: Passion on Park Avenue by Lauren Layne

Three Stars

As a self-proclaimed Lauren Layne superfan, I was really looking forward to the start of a fun new NYC-set romance series from LL. I knew going into the book that this would be a sweet romance with fade-to-black sex scenes, so I tried to temper my expectations accordingly. The story follows Oliver, a hard-working, good guy, who is taking care of his ailing father and Naomi, a self-made millionaire who moved in next door to Oliver with some secrets about both of their lives.

For the most part, I liked this book. LL has a way of writing crazy wealthy and privileged characters and making them inherently likable. Naomi’s meeting of her first really close girlfriends was the spark she needed to move forward and change her life. I thought her character arc was very well done, and I really liked her in the end. I believe her compassion sometimes surprised even herself because to become that successful, she had to be self-oriented for a long time. Oliver is a big old sweetheart, which I love. He really was one of the good guys. I wish he had been a little more aggressive at times, but I know that wasn’t what Naomi need and he had emotional baggage too.

While like all LL books, the banter and sexual tension is spot on, and the foundation for a new fun series has been laid, I really felt like something was missing from this book. I thought that some of the subplots felt a little unresolved: Naomi’s issues with her mom, the television series kind of faded to the background, the awesome secretary, Oliver’s career. I am glad LL decided to prioritize Oliver and Naomi’s emotional development, but even that felt a little undercooked.

I liked Oliver and Naomi, but their story didn’t have the same sparkle and spark I have come to expect in a Lauren Layne novel. This was a quick read, and I think I needed a few more pages of Oliver and Naomi as a couple, primarily because the “big secret” took WAY too long to come out, which made the end of the book feel rushed. I was never super excited to pick the book back up when I took a break, and I feel like that’s pretty telling. I also expected much more time developing the Naomi, Claire, Aubrey friendship. The three women really didn’t have enough page time, and it felt a little forced at times, particularly because I couldn’t really picture them in my mind.

Overall, I would probably recommend some of LL’s earlier books over this one, but it was still an enjoyable way to spend a few hours. I am intrigued by Claire and I am eagerly awaiting her story!

**I received an ARC of this book in order to provide an honest review**

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