Introvert, Worrier, Owner of the blog "Caught in a FAB Romance", and resident Romance Guru on Parajunkee's View. I've been blogging about books for four years - if it's got romance in it, I'll read it! You can also find me on twitter, tweeting about books, my family, and sometimes, The Saints: @TheLoveJunkee Find me on Instagram:
PJV Quickie: Penny Reid has written a humorous, heartfelt, and honest love letter to marriage. I was not expecting to feel as many emotions as I did while reading Happily Ever Ninja – some good, some not so good – but overall I was thrilled to be back in the Knitting in the City world.
Fiona Archer met the love of her life in college, got married, had a career and put it on hold after becoming a mother. Now, after 14 years of marriage, sometimes she feels like a shell of her former self – putting everyone’s needs ahead of your own is exhausting. Something needs to change, but the catalyst for that change is nothing she’d ever expected.
Greg Archer knew the moment he set eyes on Fiona that she was The One. Now, after two kids and years of marriage, she’s still The One. The One he lives for, The One his heart beats for. He misses her every day he’s away – and unfortunately, he’s away more often than he's home. An opportunity for Greg to spend more time at home has an unexpected outcome, and Greg and Fiona are left fighting – for their marriage and for their lives.
Hmmm…where to start? Mostly, I loved Happily Ever Ninja. If you’re an established Penny Reid fan, Happily Ever Ninja is a bit different than her other books, and in this case, that’s both a plus and a minus. This book doesn’t have as much of the signature humor I expect with this author; it’s a bit more serious than previous installments to the series. BUT, I still enjoyed reading Happily Ever Ninja and am looking forward to more adventures from the knitting group.
I’ve always liked Fiona as a secondary character and her turn as the main character was spectacular – she’s funny, smart, and nurturing all rolled up tight like a burrito. But, like a burrito, you can’t tell what’s inside by looking at the wrapper. Fiona has a lot going on and I think that of all of Penny Reid’s characters, I related to Fiona the most. I’d be surprised if most of her readers didn’t relate to Fiona and her frustrations on some level. Fiona’s family life, both as a young person and as a married adult, showcased her resilience and her ability to always see the good in people. Her frustrations with her husband, though, really got to me. Ms. Reid didn’t pull any punches when writing scenes between Fiona and Greg – some so syrupy sweet it made my teeth hurt, and some so maddening I wanted to throw my e-reader at my husband because Fiona’s anger really touched a nerve.
The chapters in Happily Ever Ninja move back and forth between college and present day, and I think it was a good choice by the author to remind us how Fiona and Greg fell in love. Greg was a great character – but he was frustrating to read. Strong headed and opinionated, I needed the reminder that there is also romance and uncertainty inside Greg too. His love for Fiona caused him to make impulsive decisions that made Fiona (and me) want to scream. But then, Ms. Reid would flash back to a scene where the reader (unfortunately not Fiona) was reminded why Greg does the things that he does.
Did I have a few quibbles with the story? Yes, but only a few. There were a few scenes where the humor felt forced (lady closet, anyone?) and I didn’t really see the point in making Greg British and using Britishisms as an adult if he moved to the US at age 15 - it felt like carrying something that’s not heavy but still awkward to hold, if that makes sense.
All in all though, Happily Ever Ninja is a tale of love in all of its glory and all of its misery, a story of how love grows and changes as we grow and change. One thing books often gloss over is how much work is required to keep love alive after that first blaze of new love is ignited – it’s not a magical fire that never needs to be re-stoked, sometimes it takes special care and attention to keep it burning - Ms. Reid captures it all in Happily Ever Ninja.
If you’re a fan of Ms. Reid’s Knitting in the City series, you don’t want to miss Happily Ever Ninja. It’s a great ‘falling in love again’ story and I love that the hero and heroine are not in their 20s and have an established family and a (relatively) long marriage. If you’re new to the series, I would not recommend starting here – try Neanderthal seeking Human (you won’t regret it!).