I received a copy of Here to Stay from Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Starting over is more about who you’re with than where you live…
Julia del Mar Ortiz is not having the best year.
She moved to Dallas with her boyfriend, who ended up ditching her and running back to New York after only a few weeks. Left with a massive—by NYC standards, anyway—apartment and a car lease in the scorching Texas heat, Julia is struggling…except that’s not completely true. Running the charitable foundation of one of the most iconic high fashion department stores in the world is serious #lifegoals.
It’s more than enough to make her want to stick it out down South.
The only monkey wrench in Julia’s plans is the blue-eyed, smart-mouthed consultant the store hired to take them public. Fellow New Yorker Rocco Quinn’s first order of business? Putting Julia’s job on the chopping block.
When Julia is tasked with making sure Rocco sees how valuable the programs she runs are, she’s caught between a rock and a very hard set of abs. Because Rocco Quinn is almost impossible to hate—and even harder to resist.
Adriana Herrera is a relatively new to me author, and Here to Stay is the second of her books that I’ve read (so far). I came to her books through some of the interviews and discussions she’s done through various podcasts I follow and so I’ve been really interested into more of her work.
Here to Stay is the story of Julia, a NYC exile living in Dallas after she followed her boyfriend to town only to be ditched by him shortly after the move. In spite of that, she’s built a life for herself and works hard at the charitable foundation she’s been tasked with managing. Enter Rocco, the consultant hired by the company Julia works for – the consultant hired to decide what the company should continue to fund and what they need to let go of.
This was a really fun, afternoon romance read that was exactly what I needed during the tail end of round 2 of pandemic lockdown here in Melbourne.
Julia is at an interesting point in her life – she’s moved away from family to follow a guy who didn’t deserve her and ended up alone and without close friends or a family network to support her. She’s working hard to adjust to a new city, to maintain her job to a standard she’s proud of and trying to make friends. She’s a very relatable character who has strong ties to her family and their Afro-Caribbean. By contrast, Rocco is someone who’s going through the motions of his life – he’s got a successful career and travels for work, but he’s estranged from his parents and trying hard to support his younger sister and her child. He’s not looking to change up his life much until he meets Julia and is intrigued by her.
Aside from the romance – which was great! – I also liked how the story of finding friends (and even ‘found family’) while living interstate was handled. Julia spearheads this by inviting all the NYC explants from her company out for drinks in the hopes that a few people will turn up and that group of people band together over the course of the narrative and it was really delightful to see how beautifully this was handled. Making friends as an adult can be tricky and I think it was a wonderful inclusion.
I also deeply appreciated the cultural undertones in the novel – Julia’s passion for her (and her family’s culture) and the way she dedicates herself to building the best possible program to help children of migrant workers gives the story a lot of heart. As an Australian, it also gave me insight into a culture and experience that I don’t have a lot of first-hand knowledge about.
This is an easy, comforting romance read in the best possible way.