I honestly thought the One Night in South Beach series was going to be a trilogy! So when I saw that this was the fourth book in the series, I was intrigued and excited. There were no more Hernandez siblings?? Who was this going to even be about? But let me tell you, I was EXCITED when I saw it was Charlie Laughlin’s love story. He had such a tiny role in Break of Day, but it was enough to stick with me!
In Before Daylight, professional ballerina Laura Delgado knows that she has to stay single in order to be competitive. She’s already nearing the end of her career in ballet, and she doesn’t want to get pushed out of what she loves because she settles down and the rumor mill runs rampant. So when her grandfather informs her while doing her taxes that she’s actually married, she about loses her mind. Married? To who? Well, to none other than Charlie Laughlin, friend of her cousin Carla’s new husband. Reality show producer Charlie Laughlin. Playboy Charlie Laughlin? She only met him once, at Carla’s wedding, and honestly, she doesn’t remember much of that night.
Apparently, though, they were able to get married.
Charlie has already been married and divorced once, and it messed up his whole life. From that point on, he made sure to never get too close to a woman. Not that it was difficult for him – he hadn’t found a woman that he wanted to get close to anyway. But there’s something about Laura that makes him absolutely crazy in the best way. But she’s more than just difficult to pin down – she doesn’t WANT to be pinned down. So even though they pretend to be married for a while, he knows she intends to leave him.
Can Charlie convince Laura that her career will survive them being together? And can Laura move past her childhood traumas and make room for Charlie in her life?
3 Things I Loved
- Laura. What a strong female presence in this story. Laura is damaged because of a fucked up family life as a child, but she has made her own way in ballet despite that. Following her as she fell for Charlie was both gratifying and frustrating, and it was such a mirror of real life that I enjoyed every page.
- Charlie. I didn’t like Charlie in Break of Day, honestly. He didn’t seem like the best friend to Jonah, always trying to convince him to be on reality TV and all that. But he was fun, so I figured the story would be fun. It was so much more than that, and it’s in big part because of Charlie.
- The side characters. As always, the side characters in these Hernandez books are superb. ESPECIALLY Lola, who we met in Break of Day, who is a character in each of the rest of the books in the series, THANK GOODNESS.
I can’t admit to knowing much about ballet, but if it’s as it was represented in this book, it’s gender norms are antiquated and frustrating. Honestly, the book was probably pretty accurate on that – it seems like an industry that would be antiquated and frustrating. Other than that, I thought this book was diverse and pretty intersectional.
Of note – there are some content warnings I’d like to cover here. Drug abuse and physical abuse of children are discussed on the page in this book, and the rest of the books in the series. I’ll put this warning in each review, but I want that known. Also, for anyone who has suffered from disordered eating in the past (like me), there is talk of dieting in order to stay a certain weight and size (because ballerina) in this book. It doesn’t cross into disordered, but I know I’m sometimes sidelined talking about dieting, and I wanted that out there for everyone to know about. I thought everything was represented well, but the content was present.
A reminder of the rating scale:
- Red = DNF, I hated everything
- Orange = Ugh, no thank you
- Yellow = I mean, I’ve read worse, but there were problems
- Green = This was good!
- Blue = Oh my gosh, I loved this book!
- Purple = This is the unicorn of books and I will be rereading it until the binding falls apart and EVERYONE should be reading it!
I really enjoyed this installment in the series! There was enough connection with the previous books to make it flow, but also introduced us to a lot of completely new characters. And the issues that were tackled were handled with tact, which isn’t easy to do. I’m giving Before Daylight a GREEN rating. Solid, but not my favorite.