I am having wonderful luck with author debut books lately. First The Duke’s Tattoo and now this? I need to take chances more often!
What drew me to this book was the fact that it’s a childhood-friends/sweethearts-to-lovers story (and by extension a second-chance-romance). I am a sucker for those tropes. I love the sense of history and richness I get to a relationship with they already have a past together. I had no real expectations going into the book, since I couldn’t find many reviews or chatter about it on the internet, and I’m so thankful I took a chance on it. The romance swept me off my feet and I finished it sighing with happiness. It was such a wonderful love story.
The book follows two storylines, although they both involve Michael and Lauren. The story of their past plays out right alongside the story of their present. I am not always a fan of flashback chapters but the author did a fabulous job of it here. I started their story curious to see what separated them, but the further I read the more I dreaded finding out the truth. I became so involved in their past that I didn’t want to see them driven apart, even though I knew it would happen. They were so wonderful together in bother the past and the present that I didn’t want to see their eventual breakup and become angry on anyone’s behalf.
I hold a grudge far longer than most romance characters do, so I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to get over it if it was revealed too close to their HEA in the present. That wasn’t what happened, though. I saw their past play out and my heart hurt for both of them. I could sympathize with the actions of both, and see where they both went wrong, although clearly one side was more responsible. But how could I not understand what drove that person and forgive them when the author so clearly showed the issues living under their skin?
The writing style in this story is unlike most of the Romance novels I read. It had a tone that seemed more woman’s fiction in nature, but the story is all Romance. A big part of the book is Lauren’s journey. We even watch her date someone after Michael comes back into her life. I was upset about that at first, but once I realized it wasn’t going to turn into a love triangle, I was fine with him playing out his part. Michael is a huge presence in the book but the journey is all Lauren. We watch the past play out and understand why it’s so hard for her to open herself back to him. He was everything to her and having that destroyed is not easy to get over, even eight years later.
Lauren and Michael’s past was more developed than their present, but their present hinged so much on what happened to them when they were teenagers that I don’t think it could be any other way. At one point Lauren’s friend says,
”You guys have a ton of history. With people like that, no matter how long you’ve been apart, sometimes when you reconnect, it’s just like hitting un-pause. A simple conversation, and boom,” she said, snapping her fingers for emphasis, “you’re in too deep.”
And that is so spot on. That is just what I felt happened in their present, so I never felt a lack.
I finished this book and had to take a moment to revel in the emotions it caused. I was so invested in them (both versions of them) that their HEA had me grinning like a fool. Bravo, Ms. Glenn. You have fixed my attention firmly on you. I can’t wait to see what you come out with next.
”I always knew I would fall in love with you,” he said softly, “but you were never supposed to love me back.”