by Madison Michael
Dare to Hope is the first book in the Double Dare Romance series by Ms Michael. It follows the lives and, primarily loves, of the ‘Crazy Eights’, a group of women who have been friends for thirty decades. As they rarely seem to all meet in person, the Eights form a plan for those of them who are not married to get wed within twelve months so that they can all come together at the various weddings. This story focuses mainly on Eliana, who has recently got divorced. At a Conference she meets Jeremy Klein, a successful engineer, inventor and President of MetriRx, Eliana’s new employer. Their connection is immediate but little do they realise they have attracted the vicious jealousy of a colleague who intends not only to sabotage their relationship but also MetriRx. Cue confusion, allegations, heartbreak and deceit. Can the Crazy Eights discover the truth and rescue Eliana and Jeremy’s relationship before it’s too late?...
I thought this was a fun, lively, easy read. It delivers exactly what it promises and I enjoyed it. The plot was pretty straightforward; it’s fairly obvious who the villain is but this did not spoil my enjoyment, as it’s not obvious how things will resolve. Ms Michael builds the suspense really well with the ‘will they, won’t they’ during the last chapters and I found it hard to put down.
I also think Ms Michael did a very good job in her characterisation of the ‘Crazy Eights’. I was dubious at the beginning and thought there were too many. Each of the women have differing characteristics that Ms Michael does keep subtly highlighting so that you do begin to sub-consciously differentiate between them which is quite a skill. At the beginning of Chapter 18, she does also address their differences in more detail and I was able to mentally consolidate who was who. However, I did wonder at the validity of a group of eight women all getting along perfectly and having each other’s backs! But; this novel is pure escapism and certainly works on that level. Eliana does occasionally come across as a little too perfect, appearance-wise, and rather immature for someone of her age. Notwithstanding, I found the chapter where she meets Jeremy very well-written for this genre; it was concise, understated but red-hot at the same time.
It is a very fast-paced novel and there were a couple of editing/formatting issues in my copy which I think resulted in Ms Michael’s haste to tell the story, it does gallop at times.
However, I found Dare to Hope an enjoyable, entertaining read and would definitely recommend.