If You Ask Me by Libby Hubscher
For a character who goes truly off the rails and has some GENUINE work to fix, for some really satisfying moments of rage, love, forgiveness… all of the emotions!, for side characters who matter
Violet Covington pens Dear Sweetie, the most popular advice column in the state of North Carolina. She has an answer for how to politely handle any difficult situation…until she discovers her husband, Sam, has been cheating on her. Furious and out of sensible solutions, Violet leaves her filter at the door and turns to her column to air her own frustrations. The new, brutally honest Dear Sweetie goes viral, sending more shock waves through Violet’s life. When she burns Sam’s belongings in a front-yard, late-night bonfire, a smoking-hot firefighter named Dez shows up to douse the flames, and an unexpected fling quickly shows potential to become something longer lasting.
A lot of people want to see the old polished Violet return—including her boss, who finds her unpredictability hard to manage, and Sam, who’s begging for another chance. But Dez appreciates Violet just the way she is—in fact, he can’t get enough of her. The right answers don’t come easily when Violet finds herself at her own personal crossroads. But maybe, by getting real, Violet can write her own happy ending.
This is one of those books where I struggled with the initial meeting setup because of how extremely creepy it would be if the MC wasn’t attracted to the romantic interest. Think of it: someone who provides a service to your house — let’s say, an Uber driver, or delivery person, or a frickin plumber — comes and does that service as requested. THEN a day later, they show back up to your house uninvited. Y’all, I would not be opening that door and would be calling their company to report some extremely not OK behaviour. Maybe that’s my own trust issues, but daaaang does that seem just CREEPY to me. But as often happens, because he’s attractive, it’s fine. 🙄
Moving on. Besides that, it was pretty entertaining! There are snippets of the advice columns she writes, which (clearly) reflect her state of mind and play a big part in some pieces of the plot. There are some really funny and delightful moments, and it was pretty easy to fall in love right along with them and cheer them on.
I really appreciated the attention to relationships she has with other people besides lovers (and ex lovers). She has a close friend / coworker who is so solid and absolutely calls her on her shit and keeps her accountable. Her mother is present throughout as well, with themes around repeating the mistakes of your parents and keeping information from others under the guise of “protecting” them. There’s a lot of that, actually, so if that annoys you then just brace yourself a little. xD And last but not least, there’s even The Other Woman and their relationship, per se. It’s complex and flexible with a range of emotions.
When you’re promised a spiral out of control, that is absolutely what you get. There are some genuine, really serious issues that she has to work through. Some are of her own making, and some are just shitty circumstances she has to deal with. Both felt very reflective of someone going through the situation though, which was fab.
She’s an idiot. The thing she self-sabotages over is something she knew he already knew about her and it came across as a really bizarre issue to take since they’d already talked about it. Not in the context of their relationship, but still. She clearly has trauma over it though, so I peg it to that and let it go, but I was giving some side eye there before deciding to just suspend disbelief and enjoy it.
8 thoughts on “Review: If You Ask Me by Libby Hubscher”
I agree, Jennifer, it is a bit creepy, but…. Sometimes it is hard to suspend all your belief. I’m still on the waiting list at the library for this one, but I may pass. Nice review.
Oh, no no no. They should have met on day two at the store, or a park, or ANYWHERE ELSE beyond him showing up at her home unexpected. That’s more disbelief than I want to suspend in a ROMANCE NOVEL. (In a book where the creepy factor is okay, that’s another matter entirely.)
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Yes! The whole time it was in the back of my head like, “but this guy just showed up at her house after.” 😐
It might work in other genres… urban fantasy, cozy mystery, whatever. But IMO not a romance.