You always know what to expect – especially when reading romance novels – until suddenly you don’t. Kinda like life: it just happens. It’s messy and funny and absurd and surreal but never, not for one second, can you ever really be sure of what’s going to happen next.
Our heroine, Parker, has to move home after a two year peacing-out which happened after her sister’s wedding. The same sister – twin sister, no less – who Parker caught doing the dirty with Parker’s boyfriend and who ended up marrying said boyfriend. Suffice it to say, Parker is a wee bit bitter and absolutely LOATHES cheaters. Can’t get into too much detail after that but holy roller-coaster, Batman.
Patty: The unabashed HUMANITY of the characters. Phenomenal pacing and one motherfucker of a plot twist you NEVER see coming.
Katie: The secondary relationships. The heroine’s relationship with her sister is exactly right. It functions as a plot device and the interaction between the two is spot on.
She also does an excellent job of exploring the difference between love and desire, and how they don’t necessarily have to both be present to exist.
Oh, and a dog. The dog is a plot driver, but is also a charmer. He could sleep in my bed anytime.
Patty: I also loved that there was no beating around the bush, no bullshit. Every character spoke without pretense to the point of coarse bluntness about whatever they were thinking/feeling.
Patty: Weirdly, the story’s theme. I almost didn’t pick this one up because infidelity is just not my cup of tea for a purported love story. Much like the heroine, I don’t do ‘shades of gray’ when it comes to marriage vows.
Katie: #truth. I was like, Patty. SRSLY? They’re CHEATERS. Ms Jewel is a gifted writer, though, because I honestly didn’t care. Which is a first.
Patty: One tiny niggle was a fallback romance trope. Won’t say what it is but it’s along the lines of every hero having washboard abs or driving some ridiculously expensive car. It didn’t take away from the story, it was more of an “OF COURSE he does…” thing.
Katie: Everyone in this was suffering from an extreme case of Friends syndrome. And by that I mean everyone was able to support themselves beyond what was reasonable. Except for maybe the female lead, but even she stumbles into ridiculously well paying jobs and lives in a home she inherited.
Patty: So we agree that love and desire are different, but is one any more valid than the other? I mean, both can render someone incapable of making rational decisions.
Katie: I’ve typed at least three responses here and haven’t liked any of them. It’s a brain / body thing. They’re not always on the same page without a little effort, and not everyone is willing to put that in. There is a perfect example in the book of out going both ways. One couple works it out, the other does not.
Patty: Is there ever a good enough excuse or reason to cheat? Does there need to be?
Katie: Before this book, I would have said no. Without exception. No good reason. Now? Like the heroine, I’m realizing things are not always so cut and dried.
Katy: We have a meet cute involving a dog. Then things get sexy and funny and existential and complicated, and that is before the plot twist that made me sit up straight in bed and yell out “HOLY SHIT!” about five seconds before I sent an all caps message to Patty.
Patty: It’s a doozy. I re-read and then read ahead to make sure it wasn’t some fucked up dream sequence.
Katie: Y’ALL. READ THIS. EVEN IF YOU DON’T LIKE CHEATERS IN ROMANCE. TRUST ME. Let me put it this way: I messaged Patty in all caps at 3 a.m. Yes. I’ve said it at least twice now. READ. IT.