Rowing Steady by Rosie Birch - Full Review

Updated: Apr 28

The first novel in the Castoria U series, Rowing Steady is a solid read with an excellent homage to 'going steady' in the title. The characters are beautifully fleshed out, the side characters carry their load, and the plot has enough conflict to keep it going until a solid resolution. I loved how they moved through their problems and developed as human beings over the course of the book.


Comedy

I think my favourite part of this whole book was the beaver jokes? Don’t throw any tomatoes, I have a reason. The voyeur – ahem, I mean voyager – beaver statue, the mascot(s), the puns, and, of course, this beautiful gem of a quote I might just make a cross-stitch of for my friends' throw pillows. It’s elegant and classy.


I also really loved the situations they kept getting themselves into and all the hilarious antics the rowing guys and the sorority got themselves into. It was loads of fun, relatable college antics. Between the pranks and the donuts and the mascot incident, it really felt like I was in a college town. Though I really wish we would have found out what the incident is, maybe that is for subsequent books in the series, so I’ll wait and see what happens!


Characters

As always, I think, part of what I love about this book is the characters. Our main characters meet one night with a kiss and can’t seem to shake each other after that, always falling into situations where they are both forced to be. I loved how realistic their struggles were, and by the end, I was really in love with their chemistry. I felt like they did reach a point where they really knew each other and became an excellent support system for each other. I want to say more about these two, but without giving away spoilers, all I can really say is that their passion for art and rowing and their drive to succeed was also super realistic and beautiful.


And then somehow, the side characters in this book were possibly even more fun! Lou, the diner owner, is the kind of old man who demands respect while remaining quirky and quietly helpful to our lovebirds. Margot, the sorority president, is supremely focused on keeping the reputation of the house in tact, going so far as to have some hilarious situations which are also spoilers, so I can’t share them here. Overall, every side character served a purpose and they all felt like unique individuals, even if some of them did share similar interests.


What I Didn’t Like

I found the beginning of the book saw the characters too focused on their physical reactions. They were bringing up how attractive they found the other person, to the point where it overtook some of the other moments where I wanted to see more about how their relationship was growing in addition to their immediate attractiveness.


To me, it felt like too much focus in the first half of the story was how much they desired the other, while stating that the rules meant they couldn’t do anything. It left me wondering, if they found the other person so attractive, why they didn’t just break the rules already! So while I think it’s awesome and realistic that one kiss drives these two into a physical attraction and, ultimately, a relationship, I would have loved to see both sides of that relationship (physical and emotional) developing right from the beginning, and I think those little moments of relationship growth were there, they were just hiding under the physical attraction. Some people might love that in their books, but it’s the reason I rated this book four stars.


Overall

Genuinely, this book really had an excellent storyline, fun twists, great humour, and amazing, fun to read characters. I read the whole thing in one day and I have no regrets. If you’re looking for a cute, funny college romance complete with art classes, rowing, and two very driven individuals, you might want to check this one out. Overall, I enjoyed this read and will definitely check out the next one in this series when it comes out.


Until next time,

Your Romance Reviewer,

Eliza.




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