Book Review: From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata

All aboard! This book review of From Lukov with Love is one of the many reviews featuring Mariana Zapata. I do not regret picking up this author despite her style not being what I’d normally go for. From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata is a breath of fresh air in the contemporary romance genre.

(Review may contain spoilers.)

Book review From Lukov with Love

From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata official cover
From Lukov With Love official cover art

My rating: ★★★★★ (5/5)

Summary: Jasmine’s figure skating career reached a point where she might have to let it go. But one offer from the one champion she loathes holds the promise of finally winning a championship and proving she can work in pairs. The problem is that Ivan Lukov doesn’t seem to have changed since they were kids, and now she has to see him every day.

Genre: Contemporary romance

Audience: Adult

Themes/potential trigger warnings: explicit sex, bullying

Great representation of Hispanic families and women

What stands out in this novel is Zapata’s representation of Hispanic families and women. Jasmine Santos is both Latina and Filipino, and every moment depicting her family was pure joy to read. Being half-Filipino myself, I could totally relate to the conversations and situations involving the Santos family. I absolutely enjoyed the fact that even the less important characters had a striking personality.

The pressure put on Jasmine is also something that is very characteristic of families like hers. A lot of emphasis is put on “productive jobs” and financial stability, while sports and arts are only hobbies or temporary solutions. Without going into some sort of social analysis, I felt like it made sense for the author to portray this situation through Jasmine’s relationship with her father. And how such views differ from Ivan’s family’s was subtle but extremely well done.

Friendship over romance

This could be a downside for some people, but if you’re into slow-burn romance, I don’t think you’ll mind. From Lukov with Love is more of a self-help, friendship-oriented book than a romance novel. Jasmine and Ivan become best friends, and while it’s not done in a boring way, they don’t offer a lot of tension.

Zapata crafts her characters really well. Jasmine and Ivan are witty and full of humor, although while it’s painfully obvious that Ivan loves her, the main character walks around with a blindfold of denial.

Did I rush to read the rest of Zapata’s works after this? Absolutely! Read my review of The Wall of Winnipeg and Me.