For Noah Mackie, life is finally back on track. He has a great support system, a promised promotion is on its way, and he’s finally getting the hang of this single father thing. But when the job falls through and his neighbor’s matchmaking efforts become more aggressive, Noah is in for yet another unwanted detour. With his career and two spirited daughters to worry about, he doesn’t have time for dating—especially not someone like Cassie Ellis, his girls’ beautiful and sophisticated dance instructor, who is about as open and approachable as a brick wall.
Rough around the Edges Meets Refined is about two people who think they know exactly what they want but who have no idea what they really need. It’s about learning that people aren’t always what they seem and that sometimes life’s detours take you exactly where you need to go. (Summary from Goodreads)
While I was expecting this novel to be similar to all the others out there, with the same formula, the same general idea, I was happily surprised to find one distinct difference. There wasn’t some outside conflict causing our main characters, Cassie and Noah, to part ways. There weren’t any unnecessary dramas that occurred to make things interesting. The only major conflict the novel saw was the conflict Cassie had with herself.
This was a book of self discovery for Cassie. She had fallen for a man that had changed before her eyes the moment she got married. Landon was controlling, demanding, and an overall jerk that had taken away Cassie’s spark. She lost the person she was, the person she wanted to become. After a reckless incident caused by her husband, Cassie was free to rediscover who that person was. She didn’t, however, expect to fall in love.
And that’s where the conflict begins. She’s tried so hard since Landon’s death to become a different person, to not let anyone control her or take away what makes her, her. She doesn’t want to be hurt again, she doesn’t want her identity taken away from her by rushing into anything. So she pushes at Noah. She pushes until she nearly loses him.
The conflict isn’t from any outside source or any sort of evil trying to do these characters harm. There isn’t some horrible accident that brings Cassie and Noah together. At the end of the day, It’s the conflict within the characters that cause them to struggle, and eventually, bring them back together. That’s a rare commodity these days. This is the age of the shock factor, and you get that quite a bit in romance. There’s always someone wanting to do the characters wrong, or an outside force that causes destruction in their lives. But Anderson gave us the most realistic conflict you can possibly get, and it makes it so easy to relate to these characters and the story.
Cassie isn’t the only one with conflict, though. Noah lost his wife four years prior and has two young daughters to take care of. Even with the help of family and friends, he’s struggling to find a steady income to be able to provide for his girls, and ends up putting his own personal life on the back burner. Throughout the novel you see him start to wonder, start to realize that he’s lonely, that he wants a partner in life. It’s a struggle at first, but he’s easily able to fall for Cassie’s unique charm, and fights for her even when she pushes him away.
This is one of those stories that just hits home with you. I can feel these character’s pain, their love, every bit of their emotions. I’m laughing with them, I’m crying with them, I’m rooting like nothing else for them to fall in love. Cassie is a wonderful character and she goes through the same self discovery that most of us do, and that’s what makes this book so wonderful. I feel like I could be Cassie. Or someone I pass on the street could be Cassie. These characters are relatable, and that’s not always easy to do.
If you’re a romance genre lover, I definitely recommend checking out Rough Around the Edges Meets Refined. You won’t want to put it down.
My Rating: 4/5
Goodreads Rating: 4.05/5
Check out Rachael Anderson’s other books here