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The SoHo Loft Series - Melissa Brayden

I indulged in a mini BraydenBinge recently. The subject of the binge was the Soho Loft series, consisting of three titles: Kiss The Girl, Just Three Words, and Ready Or Not. The series immerses us in the professional and personal lives of four friends (Brooklyn, Hunter, Samantha, and Mallory) who run an up-and-coming advertising agency in Soho, New York. Each book is told from the perspective of one of the friends: Kiss The Girl is Brooklyn’s story, Just Three Words is Sam and Hunter’s story, and Ready Or Not is Mallory’s. A cute prologue at the beginning of each book gives us the same moment when they all met each other at Uni, but from the relevant MC’s perspective.

Melissa Brayden’s writing style changes subtly in each novel. I think it matches the personality of the main character, which gave me a feeling of it being a quirky and wonderful side effect of Brayden embodying that character. Like the words and cadence become the personality of the text.

Brooklyn—the main character in Kiss The Girl—is the the extrovert, the ‘I Can Pitch This Advertising Campaign To Anyone’. Although, she hasn’t quite worked out who she is yet. Her place in the world. This is mainly because of a difficult childhood, so Brooklyn is rather careful about who she lets into her life, hiding her fears under breezy, happy-go-lucky layers. I noticed that when the easy brush-offs and quirky Brooklyn-isms are prevalent, the writing is shorter, sharper and bounces the story along. Much like Brooklyn. When the serious part of the story comes up, (no spoilers here!) the writing slows, the sentences become longer and Brooklyn has to analyse who she is and why.

This type of quick, quick, slow, quick writing is also utilised in Just Three Words. Hunter and Sam are roommates (again, no spoilers as to why they are) and the breezy tone fluffs up the cushion that we sit on as the story unfolds. Even when Sam suffers a heartbreaking moment early on. The person responsible for that heartbreak keeps popping up in the story, and I had the distinct desire to slap her. The idea of family is a major theme in this book, as it is in all three.

The final book in the series is Ready Or Not. Again, Brayden delivers the same quick, quick, slow, quick writing, although, because this book is somewhat grittier, darker, (not like dark, dark, icky serial killer dark) there are shorter sentences. Choppier, even.

These are romance novels, so there are happily-ever-afters in all three, and therefore you know what you’re getting. A Brayden novel does what it says on the box. Although many of the Americanisms were unfamiliar to me. They obviously have a New York context, but I’m Australian and we’re a tiny bit literal so when I read that someone lives in the Meatpacking District, I’m concerned for their safety because it sounds awfully like an abattoir.

Heaps of people will advise you, sometimes unsolicited, that the series can be read in any old order and therefore those people are heathens. Read the books from Kiss The Girl through to Ready Or Not. It’s rule. That I just made up. I’m calling it the Brayden ByLaw.


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