Release Date: May 28, 2019
Series: The Central Park Pact
Heat Level: Warm
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Imprint: Gallery Books
Passion on Park Avenue is the first book in the Central Park Pact series by Lauren Layne. The Central Park Pact is a pact made by three women who find out that they were all dating (and one married) the same guy; instead of tearing each other apart, they became fast friends who vowed to protect the others from the unfaithful men of New York City. This first book revolves around Naomi Powell, a young woman who overcame poverty to build a billion dollar jewelry company. She had a rough childhood with her single mother, who while working as a maid to a wealthy family got caught sleeping with her employer. This led Naomi and her mother to be kicked out onto the streets where her mother had a tough time looking for employment. Naomi never forgave the family for what they did, and so when the opportunity to live in that very building arises, she can’t help but purchase an apartment to throw her success in their face. As it turns out, Oliver, the older son of the family still lives in the building and is taking care of his father who now has dementia. Naomi soon learns that Oliver is no longer the bully from her past but a kind and caring man. She even slowly starts to see a different side to his father as well, who has become much more vulnerable in his old age with his diagnosis.
Oliver, to me, was the perfect guy – he is independent, apparently very good looking, and takes care of his responsibilities. He had a tough time understanding why Naomi was so abrupt with him, not knowing her real last name and that he had a shared past. I actually liked him much more than I liked Naomi, I thought she was a bit self-centered and very much focused on wealth and materialistic things. There was so much emphasis on how she can now afford the luxurious lifestyle, but no real backstory for this besides that she started a business. And I found her whole plan for fooling Oliver and his father a bit childish, basically she wants to move into the building to show them she is now at their pay scale, but then what? After she supposedly threw this in their face, what did she expect to come out of it? This was not really well thought out and also seems very unnecessary in the grand scheme of life.
However, I actually did really enjoy the story, it was very well written and there were some parts that I actually laughed-out-loud in. It was one of those books that you have a hard time putting down until you know how it all plays out. There were a few subplots that were interesting but not really well explored, such as Naomi getting her own television series – I would have really loved to have learned more about how she grew her business, instead it was mostly just a book about her staying at her house. I also found myself really liking Naomi’s other two friends, Audrey and Claire, more than her – so I am really looking forward to their books!
I would recommend this book to those who like an easy and fun romcom.