AUTHOR: Kathryn Freeman
PUBLISHER: Choc Lit
PUBLICATION DATE: June 21, 2016
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When life in the fast lane threatens to implode …
Melanie Hunt’s job working for the Delta racing team means she is constantly rubbing shoulders with Formula One superstars in glamorous locations like Monte Carlo. But she has already learned that keeping a professional distance is crucial if she doesn’t want to get hurt.
New Delta team driver Aiden Foster lives his life like he drives his cars – fast and hard. But, no matter how successful he is, it seems he always falls short of his championship-winning father’s legacy. If he could just stay focused, he could finally make that win.
Resolve begins to slip as Melanie and Aiden find themselves drawn to each other –with nowhere to hide as racing season begins. But when a troubled young boy goes missing, everything is thrown into turmoil, including Aiden’s championship dream.
I pre-ordered this book back in May and as it happened the moment I chose to read it coincided with the Formula One summer break, which was perfect timing as Before You is a contemporary romance set in the F1 world and reading this book was a great way to spend a weekend sadly lacking in real-life F1 race action.
I really loved this book. It had all the components of a brilliant romance novel for me – characters you could truly believe in, realistic conflict, idealistic locations and a romance you cannot help but root for. And yes, fictional F1 driver Aiden Foster was a little bit dreamy, which helped, and I did fall for him a bit more than is probably normal whilst reading this book..! I loved the way his character was crafted and despite getting to know more than just the media representation of an actual F1 driver is near impossible in reality, I found his story and his background came across very realistically and I could easily picture him and imagine him racing alongside my favourite real-life drivers (Button, Alonso and Vettel, I’m looking at you…) I was that involved in the story I’ll probably be a bit disappointed once the F1 returns and there is no Aiden in sight…
Mel is press officer for the Delta F1 team. The media are really interested in new driver Aiden Foster because his dad, who died during a race when Aiden was a child, was extremely successful, winning lots of titles, something Aiden has yet to emulate. Mel notices that Aiden holds back a lot in his interviews, never opening up in them. But Aiden finds it easy to be honest with Mel and there’s a connection there. Things happen that I really want to talk about but can’t! But I was so engrossed in this book and really enjoyed watching everything play out.
I really liked the premise to this story. I liked how both characters had an equal share of conflicted emotions and things from their past coming back to haunt them. This is a bit different to many other romance novels where the guy doesn’t do relationships or the woman is simply too scared of getting hurt. Though Aiden wasn’t exactly known for his relationships and Mel had been hurt in a relationship before, this didn’t really define either character – they were multi-layered with so much more to them than that. I really, almost instantly, liked both Mel and Aiden and the further I got into the story, the more I liked them.
My favourite bit about this book was the way Kathryn represents life on the F1 circuit. Though you don’t need to be a fan of the motorsport to enjoy this book, it’s doubly good if you’re a fan of Formula One because Kathryn makes you feel like you’re there for every single race. The descriptions of the location for each individual race were divine, as well as all the mentions of tyres and team radio and pit stops etc. The author builds the perfect picture of a race weekend and all the pressure and emotion that comes with them for everybody involved.
Before You was a warm and hugely satisfying novel which I didn’t want to see come to an end. It’s much more than your typical romance novel with the various locations and the added atmosphere of the F1. It’s a current and extremely refreshing read and I’m definitely excited to read more from this author in future.