published: 7th April 2020
Raised on a small island in North Carolina’s Outer Banks, Willa has a picture-perfect life: hanging out at the beach with her friends, living in a cozy sea-side cottage, working at a sailing store, and running a hugely popular sailing Instagram. At least, her life seems picture-perfect. When a group of followers enters her into High Seas, a televised national sailing championship, it should be no problem. Too bad Willa doesn’t actually know how to sail at all. Desperate to avoid having her carefully curated life come crashing down around her, Willa tracks down Lane Cordova, the winner of four previous High Seas competitions, and begs her for a crash course in sailing before the race begins. But Lane’s competence on the water is only matched by Willa’s ineptitude, and her growing crush on Lane isn’t helping matters. When the competition threatens to go awry and take her entire idealized life with it, Willa has to figure out if she can save her reputation while taking a chance at authentic love.
Galley provided by publisher
The vast majority of adult f/f romances I have read have bored me to tears, and that is not the overstatement I wish it was. That was, gladly, anything but the case here.
Tack and Jibe is an opposites-attract type romance between Willa, a 22 year old who works in a sailing equipment shop and runs a popular Instagram account, and Lane, a 36 year old ex-competitive sailor who now works as an estate agent in her family’s business. (Yeah, I don’t really like the age gap either, but it was at least bearable here.) Willa and Lane get off on the wrong foot, but then they have to work together when Willa needs Lane’s help after she is entered into a sailing competition, never having sailed before.
As it’s a romance, things don’t work if you don’t like the characters, so it’s a good thing they were my favourite part of the story. I liked Willa the most, obviously, but I also liked her friend Bodhi and Bodhi’s mums, and the relationship between them – a sort of found family. Which is always a great aspect to have (though part of me wishes it was bigger, sort of. I mean, we’re told Willa lives year round on the island and couchsurfs for the 3 months her grandparents rent out their home, but for someone who must therefore have some friends to do that, she sees remarkably few of them outside their couch.) And her relationship with Lane, although characterised by a few misunderstandings because of a lack of communication (I mean, they do that thing where they each think the other in love with someone else), was pretty cute. There wasn’t even a big blowout breakup to create angst for no reason, which I appreciated.
Despite that, however, I did feel like the plot wasn’t paced so well and tailed off towards the end. I think it may have served it better to have had the training and race take up more of the book than they did. That whole storyline was done by the halfway mark and from about 60-65% onwards, the book sort of drifted. It was still cute, but all the impetus of the plot was lost for me.
That aside, this was definitely one of the better adult f/f romances I have read (I know, I know, that’s not saying a whole lot), and this is an author I definitely would come back to.