Unfortunately, I am not going to add too much to this review that hasn’t already been said in other reviews on CBR. The fact that I read in May definitely doesn’t help either because a lot of it has purged itself from my head.
I think one thing already that didn’t quite work for me was the narrator choice – the entire novel is first person point of view from Darcy Barrett, and I tend to prefer third person alternating views for romance novels. I think I have read one or two that I liked that weren’t like that but it’s still a personal preference because especially in love stories, it’s nice to see how the two different characters interpret a scene, and view each other. Since we are stuck in Darcy’s head the whole time, it’s very easy to see her flaws but not necessarily see what Tom Valaska sees in her. She also tends to downplay or disregard some of the shitty things her family has done to her, so it would have been helpful to get the alternate view since Darcy takes a while to come to that self realization (and in many ways, I don’t think she does).
After Darcy’s grandmother dies, she and her twin brother Jami inherit the house. Darcy travels the world, and works odd jobs as necessary to finance her life (photographer of merchandise for websites, bartender), while her brother works in finance. They agree to have the home remodeled before selling it, and it’s their childhood friend, Tom, who has taken on that project. It’s also Tom’s first job with his own business, having left his boss, and he has a lot riding on it. Darcy was originally going to leave during the renovations but between her childhood crush being on site and her passport being missing, she decides to stick around for the remodel, and stick her nose too deeply into Tom’s business. Darcy obviously has no understanding of hierarchy because her initial interactions with the crew only serve to undermine Tom, and she has no clue. I found her rather frustrating as a result, even as I realized that she had the shit end of the stick with her family, who would go on family vacations without her due to her heart condition.
Darcy feels like she has something to prove but also has a reputation as being the ones that leaves or runs away when it gets challenging, and this novel shows her struggling with finding herself again. Darcy’s hard exterior around a soft vulnerable interior just didn’t quite work for me – I am fine with the use of the cliche but many of her actions were off putting and she leaned too far into the hard exterior. And since we only received her perspective, the constant pontificating about Tom being perfect was a bit much. I would have preferred a more balanced view but I guess Thorne already did hate to love once, and wanted to switch it up.
It wasn’t overall a bad story, but I wish we could have gotten into Tom more deeply, and I just didn’t enjoy Darcy that much and did not find her very likable, even while realizing that a lot of her issues were weird defense mechanisms. There was some hinting at potential other pairings coming out of this novel, but I hope Thorne continues to go the stand alone route rather than trying to do a series with these characters because I don’t want to get a book on Jamie, or necessarily check back in with Darcy.