- Title: When in Rome
- Author: Sarah Adams
- Publisher: Dell
- Release Date: 9/20/22
- Genre: Contemporary
- Age Range: Adult
- Rating: ★★★.5
- Publisher’s Summary: Opposites certainly attract for the stranded pop star and small-town baker in this charming slice of romance from the author of the TikTok sensation The Cheat Sheet. Amelia Rose, known as Rae Rose to her adoring fans, is burned-out from years of maintaining her “princess of pop” image. Inspired by her favorite Audrey Hepburn film, Roman Holiday, she drives off in the middle of the night for a break in Rome . . . Rome, Kentucky, that is. When Noah Walker finds Amelia on his front lawn in her broken-down car, he makes it clear he doesn’t have the time or patience for celebrity problems. He’s too busy running the pie shop his grandmother left him and reminding his nosy but lovable neighbors to mind their own damn business. Despite his better judgment, he lets her stay in his guest room–but only until her car is fixed–then she’s on her own. Then Noah starts to see a different side of Rae Rose–she’s Amelia: kindhearted and goofy, yet lonely from years in the public eye. He can’t help but get close to her. Soon she’ll have to return to her glamorous life on tour, but until then, Noah will show Amelia all the charming small-town experiences she’s been missing, and she’ll help him open his heart to more. Amelia can’t resist falling for the cozy town and her grumpy tour guide, but even Audrey had to leave Rome eventually.
When in Rome is an easy and cozy read. I have a special soft spot in my heart for Southerners working in pie shops thanks to Waitress. Noah Walker may not be Jenna Hunterson, but the book did make me smile.
As someone who owns Roman Holiday on DVD and has watched it many times over the years, I appreciated the book’s references to the classic film. I mean, who doesn’t want to be Audrey Hepburn?
Burnout is real, especially in the past few years when the lines between work and personal time have been blurrier than ever. I appreciated that When in Rome addresses the effects of burnout, and that Amelia takes the time she needs to be ready to go back out on tour.
Noah is incredibly likable. I love that he is close with his sisters and that he has weekly traditions with them. His devotion to family is also clear from the way he cares for his grandmother. He also doesn’t care when people make fun of him for making pies for a living.
The Walker sisters are so lovely. I was especially impressed with how they immediately took to Amelia and were willing to lie to protect her from fans at a bar. It is lovely that no one in town turns Amelia in, but I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop.
It is clear that Noah has been through a lot from the death of his parents to his fiancée cheating on him. However, there didn’t seem to be enough conflict between Amelia and Noah. Of course, Amelia needing to leave town eventually is an obstacle, but there was something about it that felt almost too easy. I’m used to romance novels where the protagonists break up and then get back together, but the path to the end of the book felt a little too smooth.
When in Rome has Hallmark movie vibes. It is cozy and fun, but predictable and not that deep. However, sometimes, a good comforting read is exactly what you need.