Title: All Rhodes Lead Here
Author: Mariana Zapata
Release Date: April 1st, 2021
Genre: Adult – Romance – Contemporary
My rating in stars:
My rating in words:
I loved it
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Losing people you love is hard.
Aurora De La Torre knows moving back to a place that was once home isn’t going to be easy.
Starting your whole life over probably isn’t supposed to be.
But a small town in the mountains might be the perfect remedy for a broken heart.
Checking out her landlord across the driveway just might cure it too.
MY THOUGHTS (spoiler-free):
If you’re a fan of a good slow burn romance, Mariana Zapata’s the author for you. I learned that last year when I read and fell in love with two of her books: Dear Aaron and From Lukov with Love. And then unfortunately I didn’t try any further books from her big backlist of books, but when All Rhodes Lead Here was released earlier this year, I just knew I needed to dive into that one next. And am I happy I did, because I fell just as in love with this story as with my previous Mariana Zapata reads!
All Rhodes Lead here focuses on Aurora De La Torre, a women moving back to her childhood home when she needs to start over. Her landlord (whose name is Rhodes, get it?) across the driveway is pretty grumpy at first, but both he and his son soon start to warm to Aurora’s warm sunshine personality.
Here are some of the elements I loved about the story:
Slow burn romance.
I love it when a romance unfolds super slowly and when you can feel it go from the first meeting to apprehension to respect to friendship to crush to love. I love stories that make me go awwww when the couple finally brushes hands or hugs. I love the buildup of tension and feeling every bit of emotion along the way. That’s what Mariana Zapata is known for and honestly, she deserves every bit of praise because her slow burns are just… *chef’s kiss*…
I hadn’t given this trope that much thought before, as I felt pretty neutral about it. But this book made me a fan. I loved how Aurora’s such a positive, optimistic person and how she played off against Rhodes’ more quiet, grumpy (at first) personality. Every scene where she made him smile, just a little bit, warmed my heart. And also, I kind of fell in love with Aurora myself (does that make me grumpy? I guess it kind of fits, hah!). She’s just such a warm, kind and hard-working person and it’s impossible not to fall in love with her.
Single dad trope
Again, I’ve never given this trope that much thought before, but hey, it works! I loved how this story focused not only on the romance between Aurora and Rhodes, but also on the friendship between Aurora and Amos, Rhodes’s son. There’s just something about it, not only about a love interest being a good parent, but also the love interest connecting with the kid in a friendly, supporting way. It’s the way this family kind of forms itself, like it was meant to be and I don’t know how to explain it well, but it just warms my heart so much.
Small towns and found families
This is one of those stories where the setting is its own main character. The small town Aurora grew up in and is now moving back to is called Pagosa Springs and it’s an actual place in Colorado. If you’re planning on reading this (or even if you’re not), I’d highly recommend to look up some pictures because IT IS GORGEOUS. In the story, Aurora goes on multiple hikes in the area, as a way to honor her mother, who was a big hiker. All the places she hikes and visits are described so vividly and made me want to go out and do them too, even if I’m not actually that outdoorsy.
But also the town itself, the people in it and the connections that Aurora (re)makes are wonderful. The found family aspect in this, not only with Rhodes and Amos, but with the other friends Aurora makes around town like Clara and Josie, is just so heartwarming and wonderful
A smaller aspect about the story that I enjoyed was the music aspect. Aurora has a past in music and as a songwriter, and when she finds out that Amos likes to sing and play guitar, she offers to help him with his songwriting. It’s what they bond over and as a music lover, I really enjoyed reading these scenes.
Overall, this was just such a heartfelt book and I highly recommend it if you love slow-burn romances, the sunshine/grumpy trope, single dad trope, small towns and found families. Also, can we get a book featuring Yuki, Aurora’s famous singer best friend, pretty please?
“Most people are too scared to ever put themselves in a position to be criticized. You shouldn’t care what they think if they don’t have the guts to do what you’re doing. You have to remember that too. The only opinion that really matters is your own and other people you respect. Everyone is scared of something, and perfection isn’t realistic. We’re humans, not robots.”
“People cried over endings, but sometimes you had to cry over new beginnings. I wouldn’t forget what I’d left. But I was going to be excited—at least as much as I could be—about this start and however it would end.”
“No one ever told you how hard it was to make friends as an adult. But it was hard. Real hard.”