Spitfire Trilogy by Nicole French
Legally Yours (Amazon • Goodreads)
Legally Mine (Amazon • Goodreads)
Legally Ours (Amazon • Goodreads)
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Note: This is a compiled review of all three books and will contain spoilers.
For someone who has very anti-love opinions, I am utterly obsessed with romance. To be accurate, though, I think what I love reading is how romance is portrayed. Perhaps it’s because I personally prefer writing heartbreaking pieces (breakups, moving on, all that dramatic jazz), over falling in love, and that’s why I read about them instead. Spitfire isn’t the first set of contemporary romance I read this year, but so far it’s my favorite (and I don’t use this word very lightly)!
Recently, I’ve taken a liking to checking out books on Amazon’s discount section without spending too much time reading blurbs (just to keep things interesting, plus there are some hidden gems catering to even the most specific of preferences). Sharp and sassy Legally Yours was one of those books that ended up in my library- maybe it was the law student in me that drew my pointer to click the ‘buy now’ button. These books are lengthy but I finished each of them overnight, which goes to show how easy it is to get lost in the story.
First off, let’s talk about Brandon and Skylar. At the beginning of LY, Skylar is a Harvard law student one semester shy from graduation. She is just capping off her last few days as an intern in Sterling Grove (a top firm in Boston) when she meets Brandon after narrowly escaping an obnoxious analyst with a bad tongue.
How they meet isn’t forced and actually pretty cute, but what follows after almost turned me off, mainly because of Brandon’s character. It was initially difficult to get a grasp of his personality because he basically comes off as just another lust-filled rich guy. However, his actions are explained further in the story, and while he’s still lust-filled until LO, it’s comical how he gets awkward around Skylar especially in the first book, with his tendency to shell out surprises worth more than her own apartment.
“A plane to Paris? Really?” I huffed as I wrenched my hand out of his clutch. My accent was starting to come out now. “It’s our first date. I’m a poor student. I would have been impressed with anything more than Dunkin’ Donuts.”
As superficial as I am, all I could do was nod at her in this particular scene, muttering, “Same.” When you’re not used to having disposable money, grandiose gestures like that will make you uncomfortable.
Another thing I like about them is that they’re not overly possessive. I can’t say I’m a fan of characters spouting things like “You’re mine”, or doing some primal, jealous-driven stupidity, because normal guys don’t do that. As passionate as it may sound (for some, if you dig that), this is kind of flag-worthy in real life. Personally, I feel like this is an unhealthy way of expressing your affections. I think this only happened once throughout the books, actually, and I’m glad Skylar speaks up about it.
He looked at me again, eyes full of love. “I just want to be there with you. I want to be your center, where you come back to. Because you’re mine, babe.”
I frowned and shook my head. “I’m not yours. I don’t belong to you, like all your fancy things. I’m a person, Brandon, not something to collect.”
Feisty, redhead Skylar, on the other hand, is pretty headstrong (as you can tell from that quote above. I wanted to give my phone a high-five when I read that line). She came from a poor and lovely, tight-knit family, but with ambition that could rival her wealthier well-connected peers. While there are still some scenes where she acts out of character for me, given how she’s initially portrayed, what’s consistent is that Skylar wouldn’t accept anything— gifts, plane rides, crap, even Brandon’s love.
“You essentially want me to be your weekend call girl.” Two throw pillows fell off the couch as I stood up. Blood rushed from my head in a way that only provided increased clarity. “Should we establish a rate, Mr. Sterling? A Harvard brain like mine doesn’t come cheap, you know. What’s the going rate for summa cum laude?”
Another thing I like is the accurate depiction of how law school is like (though if you ask me, I don’t even have the time to find a beau. Some of us are lucky, I guess?). In the post-bar exam scene, Skylar went out with her fellow law school friends and headed for drinks, even describing the experience to be similar to Plato’s ‘Allegory of the Cave’, being blinded by the summer sun after spending too long in the dark.
Two more shots and several rounds of drinks later, the entire bar was effectively shitfaced. I had already seen at least three soon-to-be-prominent Boston attorneys sprint to the bathrooms to throw up, and a few others had just skipped the line and dashed outside to hurl over the pier. We were messier than a frat house during Rush week.
We all sacrificed a lot to get to this point, financially and personally. The road to becoming a lawyer took a lot of time and money that most people couldn’t understand. While many of our friends from college and high school were well into their careers, we were just starting now, and wouldn’t be able to take a reasonable break for another several years.
Would I call what they have a good relationship? You know what, I actually would. Anyone could do without the complications (but then what kind of books would these be? Troubled, or rather flawed, characters bring their own stories) but the crux of the matter is that Brandon and Skylar are inarguably in love with each other. It’s so easy to say that your characters are in love but actually showing it is a different story. These two argue, all the time, and mainly it’s because of their opposing views and statuses. They won’t meet. They don’t speak each other’s love languages, as Jane, best friend of the year, so eloquently put it:
“They just weren’t the right way to talk to you. But this isn’t about you anymore. It’s about him. And right now, he‘s the one who’s hurt, Sky. You want to win him back, maybe it’s time for you to start speaking his language, buttercup.”
So like I said, these two characters are so in love, but with all their differences, how do you realistically make them overcome it? In this case, Brandon tends to care way too much, whereas Skylar tends to run away, a lot, particularly when things get tough. In fact, she gets called out for this by none other than Brandon himself. How the author reconciles two opposites’ personalities, without completely losing their sense of selves, helps readers understand them better, and French does this well. From the first book, we see this when Brandon sent a gazillion flowers, with this promise:
“You deserve to pursue your dreams on your own without being chased. But should you ever want to share those dreams with me again, Red, I’ll be here.”
Clearly, this guy knows what’s important. For all his sides portrayed throughout the books, this one definitely won me. Here is a love interest who eventually accepts heartbreak and doesn’t end up punching everyone and the wall, who doesn’t suddenly take up an interest in speeding cars, who doesn’t start sleeping with half the city’s population. He let her live her life.
Now, when this happened (meaning for the latter part of LY and the initial part of LM), we get to see more of the minor characters as support system, mostly Skylar’s friends and family. On that note, can I just say that E/J as a couple- what a thrill. It’s almost as good as what B/S have, though to be honest I also was half hoping for the brief Zola scene in LO to follow through. As for Jared, I actually liked him, you know? To me, he’s just this beautiful, WASP boy in love with someone who didn’t love him back. Then LO happened, que adiós.
Legally Yours. Now, let’s talk plots. I’ve already explained why I think Brandon is unlikable in those first few chapters, coupled with Skylar’s indecisiveness. I put this aside as things element to the story (so that they could finally get together, you know? Anyway, who hasn’t done things differently from what they’d usually do for the sake of romance?).
The cliffhanger on LY? Not originally a fan, either. I think it’s very common with books like these, but oh, does it serve its purpose in LM and that’s what ultimately roped me in. If you’ve read it, you know what I mean— the repetition of “blue or green” makes what happened feel painfully real.
Legally Mine. LM is probably my least favorite, largely because I felt it went on for too long. Like, I know Janette’s got something up her sleeve, and I know Miranda wouldn’t let these two just run off to the sunset, it’s all a matter of when it’ll happen, and being the impatient person I am, I just wanted to fast forward. Now, the second book for me, is basically a book about Skylar’s guilt over the blue/green thing, and while I essentially and naturally sympathize with her hesitance, I felt like I was not directly convinced by the writing itself. I’ve also read reviews of people who stopped reading after this, because of “encouraging” what happened to blue/green, but please remember it’s always a choice and I think, ultimately, that’s what the author wanted to say, especially in a place like Boston.
Legally Ours. I did not like the beginning of LO, though it merely continued the events of LM (because #cliffhangers). No one’s a stranger to the damsel in distress trope when there are (typically rich) leads involved (e.g. Fifty Shades Freed, Twilight, and mostly tv dramas). I actually thought this subplot would span for a few more chapters because of the way the blurb was written, but it only lasts for a chapter— two, if you include the prologue. The upside though is that it, again, is constantly referred to for the rest of the book. You can tell French didn’t just add it for the sole reason of adding to the drama.
I didn’t think I’d enjoy LO because of the above reason, plus, sometimes, trilogies spiral by the third installment in the author’s haste to bring closure to everything as the book ends. Not for the first time, I was wrong, because this book is the most emotional one for me. All the secrets were out and this time, Brandon and Skylar have to move on with everything hanging over their heads. And for a couple who practically couldn’t take their hands off each other when they weren’t even together yet, they spent one-third of LO hardly doing it at all. For all of Brandon’s romantic gestures, including:
I love you. Always. Do you love me yet, Red?
—this is such a big change in their relationship, specifically because of how eye-opening it becomes for Skylar. In the first two books, Brandon does all the chasing (she eventually acknowledges this herself). I’ve read books where the LI falls head over heels with the MC that they literally change from the persons they are, kind of like casanovas in love (e.g. Gabriel Emerson, Jace Wayland, Adrian Ivashkov). Perhaps the fact that Brandon’s done the adjusting all this time finally knocks some sense to her, that Skylar eventually meets him halfway:
“I was never the type who liked having people’s attention. I wasn’t like either of my parents that way. I didn’t seek the spotlight; I never wanted to be the center of attention. But I was willing to do this for Brandon. He spoke a language of large gestures, and worked so hard to scale them back for my sake. How many times had he tried to give me the world, only to have me shove it back in his face?”
How’s that for character development, right?
My usual basis with deciding how much I enjoyed a series (particularly when reviewing them on Goodreads) is asking myself if I’d reread it again. For Spitfire, I absolutely would. In fact, I’ve already gone through my favorite LO chapters a couple of times since finishing it. Despite the many contemporary romances with similar basic plots, French gives a unique spin by delving more into her characters beyond the bedroom.
I’m interested in checking out what else Nicole French has written, which is great since she actually has her new book, The Hate Vow, coming out this March. This time, it’s about an heir who employs the help of a former lover (or fling?) to be his wife for twenty million dollars. Clearly, the plot isn’t something we haven’t heard of before, but given how much I enjoyed Spitfire, I think I’ll give THV a try and see how the author makes it truly her own.
Nicole French is an East Coast/West Coast hybrid creature, Springsteen fanatic, hopeless romantic, and total bookworm. When not writing fiction or teaching writing classes, she is hanging out with her family, playing soccer with the rest of the thirty-plus crowd in Seattle, or going on dates with her husband. In her spare time, she likes to go running with her dog, Greta, or practice the piano, but never seems to do either one of these things as much as she should.
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