Second in the From Manhattan with Love series
By Sarah Morgan
Available now from HQN (Harlequin)
I felt that SLEEPLESS IN MANHATTAN (my review) was charming, but spent too much time setting up the other two romances in the From Manhattan with Love series. Luckily, SUNSET IN CENTRAL PARK keeps the focus on Frankie and Matt.
Paige and Eva, Frankie's best friends, don't lack romance entirely. Eva's prospective hero is mentioned once at the beginning of the book, and then she shows up only in a friend capacity, both offering support and needing it. Jake and Paige's relationship is referenced, but Jake only shows up briefly, mostly to serve as Matt's best friend.
Matt has been in love with Frankie for a long time, but Frankie doesn't believe in love and is reluctant to trust any romantic partners. Her father cheated on her mom, her mom decided to continually pursue men, and there was an attempted sexual assault. Frankie's issues did not come out of nowhere. But when Matt's flirting gets blatant enough, Frankie realizes that she wants to respond, even if she has no clue how.
SUNSET IN CENTRAL PARK is really Frankie's story. Matt is cute and wonderful, but the focus has to be on Frankie since she's the one keeping them apart. Matt is all in from the beginning. (A bit too all in for my taste, at times. Let a girl decide to date you on her own!) I did like that as Frankie confronted her past, she realized that some things were as bad as she remembered, but that she'd inflated other things in her mind because she'd been a hurting teen girl.
The bright purple cartoons and hearts cover promises a light read, but Sarah Morgan has served up a cute romance surrounded by darkness. There's also a significant subplot about a woman escaping her abusive ex. It's not a difficult read, but I suspect Eva's story will be the most bubbly and effervescent in the series. Frankie has too many sharp edges for a romance that is smooth summer sailing.
I thought SUNSET IN CENTRAL PARK improved on SLEEPLESS IN MANHATTAN and I look forward to Eva's romance to conclude the series.