Ania Ray's debut novel The Cromwell Rules lures you in with a matriarchy consisting of ten unbreakable rules a woman must follow to avoid a broken heart. This book was a fun read with surprising emotional tugs. Read below for my full review...
Busy New York City is the perfect setting for a novel about a woman thriving in her career and looking the part of having it all but inwardly wanting more. Lily Cromwell lives in a fancy apartment overlooking Central Park with a high paying job as a software engineer. Her Saturday mornings spent relaxing on the balcony contrasted with the intense work hours and a full social calendar at upper class events makes you feel like you're in a new version of the Devil Wears Prada - only with a tense mother-daughter relationship instead of an over-bearing boss to her assistant.
Lily Cromwell knows the rules her mother has put in place. The Cromwell Rules are basically the Ten Commandments and Lily must never break them if she wants to be seen as a strong, independent woman but also land a worthy husband. Her mother keeps her on a tight leash, enforcing the rules and setting her up with rich potential husbands. And Lily follows the mold and plays the game better than anyone could. That is, until she meets Logan, a man who is the complete opposite of all she's been taught. She can't help but be attracted to Logan, but she knows she'll have to break all the Rules to be with him. Throughout the novel, Lily battles her desire to throw away the Rules and her fear of disappointing her mother and those in their social circle.
I thought The Cromwell Rules was going to be light read, but I found myself chewing on much deeper concepts than I anticipated. Honestly, Lily's story broke my heart at times. Ania did a wonderful job weaving beautiful emotion into her book by showing Lily's strong desire to have a true relationship free of rules and expectations, not only with a man but with her mother as well. The romantic side of the story kept me swooning while the deeper theme and subplot sent me on an emotional rollercoaster. I kept turning the pages to chase after the romance and to find the resolution between Lily and her mother.
Ania's book made me laugh, cry, and think. Lily and Logan were relatable and charming and their love story was unique and special. And I'm eagerly anticipating my copy of Ania Ray's next novel Breaking the Rules.