Jan 21

The Invitation by Vi Keeland Review


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The first time I met Hudson Rothschild was at a wedding. I’d received an unexpected invitation to one of the swankiest venues in the city.

Hudson was a groomsman and quite possibly the most gorgeous man I’d ever laid eyes on.  He asked me to dance, and our chemistry was off the charts.

I knew it wasn’t a good idea to get involved with him, considering the wedding I was at.  But our connection was intense, and I was having a great time.

Though the fun came to a screeching halt when Hudson figured out I wasn’t who I’d said I was.  You see, that unexpected invitation I received? Well, it hadn’t actually been addressed to me—it was sent to my ex-roommate who’d bounced a check for two months’ rent and moved out in the middle of the night.  I figured she owed me an expensive night out, but I guess, technically, I was crashing the wedding.

Once caught, I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. As I bolted for the door, I might’ve plucked a few bottles of expensive champagne off the tables I passed, all while the gorgeous, angry groomsman was hot on my tail.

Outside, I jumped into a taxi. My heart ricocheted against my ribs as we drove down the block—but at least I’d escaped unscathed.

Or so I thought.

Until I realized I’d left my cell phone behind at the table.

Take one guess who found it?

This is the crazy story of how Hudson Rothschild and I met. But trust me, it’s only the tip of the iceberg.

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Confession: This year marks the fifth consecutive year Vi Keeland has kicked off my year with a favorite read. Keeland has landed on my annual top favorite books list with her first release of the year, every year since 2017. Egomaniac in 2017, Sex, Not Love in 2018, We Shouldn’t in 2019, Inappropriate in 2020, and The Invitation in 2021—this is starting to feel a bit like a tradition! The thing is that they were all consistently unputdownable love stories that grabbed my attention from the start, were stories I had trouble tearing myself away from and whose characters were still on my mind days later. Every. Single. One. The book hangover I’m currently nursing courtesy of The Invitation is a good indicator that it’s made just that kind of impression on me.

Hooked from page one, The Invitation drew me in with perfectly paced and utterly unique plot punctuated with witty banter that was essentially a form of foreplay. This couple had the makings of a seemingly normal “meet-cute,” but it quickly spiraled into something else altogether, and I loved every second of how that first meeting unfolded. Stella was such a fun and interesting heroine. A bit quirky, she was focused on chasing her dream when she waltzed into Hudson’s life. Captivated at first sight with this woman, Hudson quickly realizes that not all is as it seems. Thankfully Hudson’s sister has a sense of humor—along with a keen eye for a wise investment—and she plays a big part in bringing the two of them together. A professional relationship definitely complicates things, but the attraction still sizzled between them stoking the slow burn build-up of their relationship.

I loved Hudson – he was such a surprise, and I couldn’t get enough of his sweet relationship with his daughter. The push and pull of Stella and Hudson’s relationship was just so delicious, and this couple’s chemistry positively lit up the pages. In true Keeland fashion, though, she didn’t make this romance a slam-dunk for them. I’ve learned to expect the unexpected from Vi, and I love that I never know what it is that her couples—and I—will have to endure along the way. Stella and Hudson definitely had to work for their happily ever after, but it’s precisely these kinds of interesting journeys that Keeland does so well. An intriguing plot laced with some trials and tribulations, a bit of angsty emotion, well-timed punches of humor and a heck of a lot of heat, Keeland told an absolutely captivating love story in The Invitation. Five smooches from me!

~ Danielle Palumbo




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