Is it more important to care about the characters in a romance than other genres? I don't think so. But I definitely cared about the characters in Love Caters All. And not just the romantic leads. Here's how the book describes itself:
When hard-driving CEO Rick Nordan arrives in Lobster Cove under strict orders from the family doctor to take a break, he discovers the rental house comes with a family attached, including one sexy dynamo of a caterer. She's nothing like his ex-fiancee who wouldn't sign a pre-nup, but maybe that means she's the real deal and not a gold digger.
Maya Cruz wants life for her widowed mother to get easier by renting out her house during the summer. But teaching Mama business means explaining Rick isn't a "guest," he's a "customer." And the first thing Mama does is invite Rick to join their family activities. Having Rick around wouldn't be so bad if Maya didn't find him so attractive. The last time she fell for a vacationing millionaire, she had her heart broken.
She swore off his type, and he's not looking, but this might be a recipe for love.
Okay, we've talked about this before with romances. Does it matter that we know on page 1 or 2 that the guy gets the girl? Or vice versa? Of course not. Romances, by definition, strongly "hint" at a happy ending. Us romance readers know that going in. But can the author still make us wonder if it will happen? What if the "leads" have a fling and then separate? Do we know for 100% sure that they will get back together? It's up to the author to make us have doubts. And Nicci does. I loved Rick and Maya together, and I also worried that they might not have the happy ending we all want and expect. Read it to find out what happens in Love Caters All. And then tell me that you didn't do some laughing, crying, and even some cheering. Because if you tell me that, I won't believe you!
COMPARISON TO MARY KAY ANDREWS: In 2014, I got an ARC of Mary Kay Andrews' Save the Date. This is the 1st book I've read from the nationally renowned romance author. And I say: "Ho Hum." I liked it well enough (2.5/4), and it was decently written. But did I care a lot about the characters? Not really. She's definitely no Nicci Carrera...or Jasmine Haynes...or Joan Swan...or...