I’ll be honest, for the first 100 or so pages I thought this is not one of Sarah MacLeans best. I enjoyed it enough to keep reading it but it just needed more feeling, more heat, more….more. I felt like the hero and heroine, Alec and Lily, were just circling the same conversation. There were a few moments with extremely fleeting butterflies and I was just waiting for the romance part of it all to start.
I was feeling a bit disappointed. But I should have known better. Because it’s Sarah MacLean and Sarah MacLean knows how to write feelings and heat. And not long after those disappointed thoughts crept in all those feelings finally come crashing down like a pile of bricks. Everything becomes so deeply emotional and they share this wonderfully intense and gut wrenching and miserable and glorious and burning hot, simmering, boiling over, incredibly passionate and heart breaking carriage ride that’s bursting with longing and desire and loneliness and desperation and that aching need to simply feel loved. And Oh god, it just tore my heart out.
From that point on this book had me so deep in its clutches. And the further I got into it, the more I appreciated the beginning of it. Alec and Lily are two people who have lived their lives with deep and lasting regrets, with shame that has haunted them and impacted every aspect of their lives, every decision they’ve made. The hesitancy of the beginning echoes the hesitancy these two have about coming together in any way at all, even simply sharing truths about themselves. And over time they slowly reveal bits and pieces that both draw them together and pull them apart because they are at once complete opposites and exactly the same.
The tentativeness of their relationship, their gut instinct to remain apart, only adds to the explosive quality of their togetherness. The more I read, the more I wanted it to go on forever. There was so much yearning. So much longing. So much wanting. Oh god, the wanting, the wanting, the wanting.
This line…I quoted it because this one paragraph perfectly conveys this feeling that stretches through the entire second half of the book:
“He’d thought he’d known what wanting felt like. What longing meant. And then he’d met Lillian Hargrove, and he’d realized the truth- that everything for which he’d ever hungered was nothing compared to her. There was nothing he would not pay. Nothing he would not do for another taste of her. And that he was unworthy of her.”
It wrecked me, just like all the inner dialogue we’re privy to. Because this story is an onslaught of emotion. Like an avalanche it just keeps sliding down and down and down until you’re buried in it and dying as they figure out how to dig themselves out. And I loved how they finally got there. Throughout this book, and especially at the end, it’s so clear how much they love each other, what they’re willing to do for each other and for themselves. And how it all wraps up is so satisfying. I loved the ending.
I know this review doesn’t tell you much about the plot. For me, it was the emotional aspect that grabbed me and made me fall in love with it. This book brought me to tears several times. Happy tears and sad tears and so many other types of tears. It’s the type of book you feel.
In the end, I was not disappointed. Not at all. ❤️