Released on Valentine’s Day, “Ruby Spencer’s Whiskey Year” by Rochelle Bilow is a must-read swooning-vacation romance. Bilow is a fairly new romance author who was first in the world of food and social media and is now a writer. This is not her first book though, as back in 2014 she wrote “The Call of the Farm” which, similar to this one, showcases her experience with the food industry and writing.
Bilow has a very light and casual writing style that has you going along word by word with the romantic storyline. Her informal tone and third-person structure helps the reader become more part of the story and be more involved with the characters. Typically books leave the reader on the outside looking in, but this author has you pull up a front row seat alongside the action.
With the sea of love and relationships of Valentine’s Day, this read was projected to perform very well, but it unfortunately did not. This book did not have a following on “BookTok” like other books have had, and unfortunately that reflects on the book and the author. But do not despair, even though this book is not being talked about, it is one that will definitely have you falling in love.
This book follows the main character Ruby Spencer who moves from her bustling 9-to-5 life to Scotland to write a bestselling cookbook. Ruby was tired of running around and dealing with failed relationships, and she looked to Scotland for a creative outlook to change her mindset on her career.
Along the way, Ruby falls more in love with Scotland and the people that have guided her since she arrived, including the handsome handyman Brochan and the friendly inn owner Anne. Ruby must make the choice to leave her newfound family or stay and create a new life for herself. Plans do not go her way, but Ruby does not give up on her new life and instead goes on a search for more.
Much like her other book, Bilow writes from her heart and provides the love and calmness that help readers transport themselves to Scotland. Her story is somewhat whimsical and relaxing. It makes you feel as if the story is real life and you are partaking in it.
However, not everything in the book was up to the five-star level. One issue that I had with this book was the inevitable breakup scene. The author did not give enough detail when it came to this scene, causing it to fall flat and feel a bit rushed. The scene was more about pointing fingers for who was to blame rather than an actual issue that would cause a rift between the two characters. The characters were both making pointless arguments that made the breakup unnecessary and a bit uncomfortable. However, the author made up for this scene by having the love interest, Brochan, produce a meaningful romantic gesture that had Ruby falling back into love.
Throughout this book, I was falling in love with the different characters and falling in love with the warm, welcoming Scottish life. Bilow’s sweet and spicy romance has a found family and a found friend to lovers trope that will have you wanting to read all the way to the end. While the cartoon cover leads you to believe that it is a PG book, be mindful there are a few scenes that are definitely more adult than advertised.
If you are looking for a cheesy romantic book set outside the U.S., then give this book a try. You will be pleasantly surprised. This novel brings the creative, slow-burning love and culinary expertise that will have you wanting more and traveling to Scotland to live in your very own fantasy.
Featured photo courtesy of James Bold, Unsplash