My review of 'So Far Into You' by Lily Malone *****

Reproduced from Anna Clifton's Reviews on Goodreads

I was first drawn to this book by its gorgeous cover and the promise of a vineyard (intensely romantic places are vineyards). But from the first scene I loved the early premise and the author's vivid, effortless writing style.

In this early scene winemaker and CEO of Lasrey Estate Wines, Seth Lasrey, is trapped within his own oppressive responsibilities (mostly of his own making) as he watches his employee, Remy, in her dress the colour of a ripe slice of watermelon (love this) as she flirts with his ne'er-do-well brother, Blake, at a wine festival. Yet with every disapproving glance Seth shoots in their direction there is a give away to the reader that he's falling for Remy, even if he won't admit it to himself. The way this first attraction begins and grows between Remy and Seth is portrayed in a surprisingly sweet and innocent way, especially against the backdrop of Remy's 'second job'. It surprised me, as did the characters, but I love being surprised like this when I read.

I also love romances where characters are so caught up within their sense of duty and obligation they can't see the wood for the trees when it comes to recognising their soul mate, not even when they're standing right in front of them. In this way Seth reminds me of the classic older brother characters in film and literature such as Linus in the film, Sabrina, and of course Darcy in Pride and Prejudice. As with Linus and Darcy in their slow-burn relationships with Sabrina and Elizabeth Bennet, for Seth too it will take a Remy to gradually wake him up to what he really needs, wants and deserves.

Another lovely quality in this story is that the reader has a rare opportunity to experience first hand the way the main characters mature with time and separation. It's not always regarded as de rigueur to take a giant leap forward into the future as is done in this story but I thought it worked really well. I loved being introduced to Seth and Remy when they were still trying to scrabble their lives together. Unfortunately it was not meant to be for them at that time. Then again, I'm not sure they were quite ready for each other either - there was just too much stuff going on in the background for both of them. Experiencing their reunion again years later when time and maturity and experience had mellowed them both was a treat, and it was wonderful to see that attraction manifest again in a way that was so different to their first meeting and yet not so very different at all.

So Far Into You is a lovely read about two decent people who find love in the beautiful if challenging environment of the Australian wine industry. Adding to its charm was the author's familiarity with the wine industry which made the setting feel very authentic rather than just a vehicle to get the characters together.

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