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Late Bloomer

Book Review by Sharon Sharpe

by Lisa K. Stephenson

The category is coming-of-age romance…

I went back and forth about giving this book a read because typically a coming-of-age romance drama is hard to get through without passing judgment. It is no doubt that young men and women make silly decisions in love all while trying to find their footing and what is best for them. Noel Lee Kwon is no exception.

A woman by the age of 26 ventures out to the big city – New York City – to find herself. Immediately, I am taken aback by this, her mother having sheltered her for years leaves her feening for independence so bad that she takes the risk of relocating to the east coast on her own with no friends or family—huh?

Okay, so sure, maybe that can happen, but then the events that follow were very intriguing. She meets Nathan—a wealthy tycoon living in a penthouse in Manhattan. What are the odds, right? Oh, and let’s not forget, he’s married, but sweet Noel knows nothing about that…yet.

Here’s my problem, Noel is too inexperienced to be living in the big city, in a 5-star hotel with no idea of what life is like around her. She is like a kid in a candy store without the supervision of an adult. Left to her own devices and so sure, she’s bound to make some bad decisions and she does. This leads us to the conflict in this story.

The character development and the thoroughness by the author to cover every inch and detail of the lives surrounding the main characters is done all too well. In my opinion, that is what will keep anyone turning the pages—the anticipation, the thrill, and how well it all comes full circle. It is a classy novel with some steamy sex, bad decisions and some, “Oh my gosh girl, no you didn’t!” moments. But aside from all of that, how can Noel continue to be such a clumsy novice in both life and love? She’s thrust into this triangular whirlwind romance, reunited with a new handsome, buff, womanizing old flame and a bohemian friend who is at best, aloof at times.

But yet, the story does well at giving us a spicy romance novel with ups and downs and dare I say it, a relatable main character. Noel is not your average girl from a romance novel. She is not some stuck-up woman in a high-powered career, masculine and uptight. Rather, we get this delicate, feminine girl who is not looking for love at all, just enjoying the ride. She’s looking for her place in the world. A job, a home—stability. But to her surprise, she can have it all, with the right rich man by her side. But with all the conflict surrounding both of her love interests, it’s hard to turn away. It’s hard to not root for her. She’s kind and innocent.

As readers, we want Noel to succeed, both in love and in life. We want her to become a high-powered boss bitch who doesn’t settle, you know why? Because the author manages to take us into her world in such a swell way that it plays on our emotions as readers. Strangely, I found myself emotionally tied to Noel, her friends, and even at some parts, Alicia—Nathan’s wife.

I finished this book in two days. I did so because I couldn’t stand not knowing what would happen next and each character has their own story. The author goes back and forth between the present day and flashbacks to have you understand all aspects of the story and give our main characters more depth. I can say with confidence that I know these ladies, the men, too.

As the story goes on I want them all to prevail in their lane of happiness. I think the downside to this story, in particular, is as I previously mentioned, I wish Noel had more guidance. I don’t see why her parents weren’t involved more, or why she did not spend more time consulting with them for advice.

I think her father would have done well in that aspect, considering he is successful in his own right. Perhaps it was done for shock value. Thrusting this woman into the big city with no help or aid. Some may see this as an issue, while some may appreciate it as she does come out on top. She does end up making better decisions and cultivating some amazing friendships along the way.

Overall, Late Bloomer is a great summer read and to be honest, I may read it again. Plus, there is another book in the series coming following the events of Noel and one of her love interests, I won’t say who. You’ll have to read the book to find out.

Available for purchase at


Sharon Sharpe-Gambu is an Editorial Assistant, book reviewer and professor living in The Bronx, New York. Follow for more of Sharon's Reviews


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