Content warning: descriptions of [past abuse]
Adam Driver, patron saint of ugly hot, is definitely the mental image I had in mind for Fin, who I assume is the cartoon dude on the cover.
This book was…not what I was expecting and a pretty lovely ride (ha) nonetheless. In my mind, what makes for a good romance novel is a proper blend of growth and tropes which together “earn” the HEA. McFarlane appears to have the formula on lock and so is able to branch out into some more “weighty” topics within the framework of the same, and do so with success to boot (the same cannot be said of all novels in this genre).
What sets this book apart is that there’s a second romance floating throughout, and not the one between Eve and Ed–it’s between the quartet of friends who we meet on page one. They’re the focus of the blurb, after all, “four as close as ever” and “sacred” Thursday bar trivia. A book about long lasting adult friendships? Literally my kryptonite.
So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there’s almost as much effort spent on the friendship and the various cracks that appear in it as is spent on the will they won’t they (spoiler: they obviously will) (spoiler two: they won’t enough, same issue as with McFarlane’s last book!) of Eve/Fin. The first and most obvious crack comes at the outset, when you’re told this story of the relationship (or lack thereof) between Ed and Eve. They were so close and yet so far, and yet through it all you’re wondering why they were so far? Doesn’t seem like it’s that far?
It’s hard, figuring out that people you’ve trusted implicitly and thought you never had to spare a second glance for have secrets they’re hiding from you. Eve’s life comes crashing down around her after skeletons start popping out of the closet and she ends up feeling like she has nothing–that’s a feeling I get, and one which McFarlane doesn’t try to paper over. Sure there’s some “and then they went on a road trip together because plot reasons” type shenanigans, but Eve is upset for good reason for most of this novel. As she should be.
I do think that [Ed ] is forgiven too soon for [years of fuckboi-ery] but then again, it’s a 300ish page novel, what do you expect?