Rail, Alisha. The Right Swipe. New York: Avon Books, 2019.
Paperback | $14.99 USD | ISBN-13: 978-0062878090 | 386 pages | Contemporary Romance
I was a bit unsure going into The Right Swipe, in part because I didn’t know how Alisha Rai could follow up such an epic series like the Forbidden Hearts, which made my Top 10 2018 favorites lists. And while the setup for the series does mean the focus is less on family, there is still just as much emotional depth to pack a punch here, even if the beginning does start off feeling a bit too rom-com-esque.
Rhi’s (I am calling her by her nickname as opposed to her full name due to an association of trauma with her full name, discussed in the book) arc is absolutely wonderful. I loved her from the outset, being a woman working in a male-dominated field, and the way she talks about making her company not just more welcoming to women, but to members of marginalized groups, from people of color to members of the LGBTQ+ community. And when the deeper significance was revealed in her past with her boss at her previous company, my heart truly broke for her and how she felt she couldn’t get close to another man beyond a casual hookup again. And the discussion of the reality that finding someone who is drastically different and does love her instead of take advantage of her is helpful in letting her trust again, but doesn’t erase that trauma, is also wonderful and a leap forward in representation of mental health in romance, which still largely clings to troubling tropes in that regard.
Samson is also amazing, and doesn’t lack for emotional complexity either. I love how the legacies of his father and uncle shaped him, and the exploration of how doing the right thing ended up bringing him shame in his career, as well as the deeper issue of mental health in professional sports.
This book is absolutely wonderful, and while it’s definitely not as “spicy” as Rai’s previous works (something I did actually find a tad lacking, which is funny, given my tendency toward “sweeter” books), it’s still full of heart, and is a great extension of the world Rai built with her prior series (complete with cameos and references to prior characters, although you do not have to have read those books to understand this one). I would recommend it to lovers of contemporary romances.