After the Storm ARC provided by the author’s publicist for review
You know when you read a book and you want to jump up and down and wave your arms to get people to notice it? That’s how I feel about Katy Ames’ Seven Winds series, including her latest, AFTER THE STORM. Not every book is the perfect 5-star read, but her characters are relatable and competent (sometimes a little too competent). Romance is the A-plot, but corporate intrigue and family drama round out the story.
I first bumped into the series on Instagram and based on the cover of After the Island, the first book, I thought, mmm, I’m not sure this is gonna be for me. The heroine looked too young, the hero on the cover wasn’t my cup of tea. I ended up reading it while we were on vacation in Costa Rica and lesson learned (yet again): Don’t Let the Cover Be the End All, Be All in Your Reading Decisions.
AFTER THE STORM, like the other books in the series, is set at a luxury resort in St. Kitts. Tristan, the hero, is the owner’s cousin and will be overseeing renovations at the resort while Mark and Grace (from book 2) are off-island. Tessa is the pastry chef who’s come in as part of the revamp of the resort.
Mark and Jack from books 1 and 2 were successful, outgoing dudes. Tristan is a bit of a lone wolf who’s pretty inept at relationships. It’s not just that he’s the shy guy. There’s more to the story there. Tristan and Tessa find themselves thrown together over the course of several not-a-date dinners. Tessa is determined to help him come out of his shell. It’s a slooooooow burn, but the payoff is fiyaaaaaah.
No question, AFTER THE STORM sizzles, but there’s more to love. Grace and Tessa have an amazing, funny friendship. Though I didn’t 100% love Grace in book two, after this story, I think she might be a saint. We get the full picture on the family drama with a reveal that left me saying, “Ohhhhhh, daaaaaamn.” (The reveal itself could be it’s own story).
Of course, I was all about the foodie elements of this story. Cooking can be a way to reach out or to take care of someone, and that plays into the developing relationship between these two. Tessa and Tristan’s first meeting happens in the kitchen at the resort when he comes in and just helps himself to some whipped cream for a crepe cake she’s working on. And you know, it’s not like your mom’s kitchen. You don’t just walk in and eat whatever you want. Later, Tristan outright refuses a batch of scones Tessa makes for him. It was such a WTH moment for Tessa that I had to make the cherry almond scones up top.
Katy Ames’ Seven Winds series, including AFTER THE STORM, is must-read. Ames’ books stand out with strong, highly competent heroines, and heroes who aren’t an interchangeable set of hot abs. AFTER THE STORM mixes major sizzle and relatable characters with family drama and an idyllic island setting. It’s a recipe for a very satisfying read. 4 stars.
Read an excerpt from AFTER THE STORM.
Get it exclusively on Amazon (and Kindle Unlimited).