by Anna Bennet

Rating:
4/5

Plot/Storyline: 📖 📖 📖 📖 📖
Feels: 🦋🦋🦋🦋🦋
Romance: 💞 💞 💞 💞 💞
Emotional Depth: 💔 💔 💔 💔
Sexual Tension: ⚡️ ⚡️ ⚡️ ⚡️ ⚡️
Sensuality: 🔥 🔥 🔥 🔥
Sex Scene Length: 🍆 🍆 🍆 🍆

This book was pure sweetness. It was full of joy while at the same time brimming with an underlying sadness that gripped my heart. And it was my favorite kind of romance. Where two people just fall in love. It just happens, unexpectedly. Wonderfully and beautifully. I loved it. 

Sophie and Reese meet accidentally when she’s trespassing on his property and they have an instant connection. Reese suffers from PTSD and is grieving the deaths of several people. He’s lost and alone and you can sense how much he’s hurting. Sophie is dealing with some personal sacrifices and is not expecting to meet someone like Reese and he turns out to be utterly perfect for her. Because Sophie takes care of everyone. She’s sweetness and light to his dark and damaged. But she’s shouldering burdens she shouldn’t have to and Reese is really the first person to step up and take care of her. 

And that was part of what I loved about this story. Because their whole relationship is centered around him needing Sophie. But whenever they are together he forgets that he asked for her help and ends up taking care of her. There are some incredible, romantic moments from this man who is barely capable of functioning when he meets her and it’s a testament to how deeply his feelings for her go. 

Their excuse for being together every Friday was absolute nonsense, but I loved that. It was such a facade that it was cute and charming. These two just couldn’t stay away from each other but the had no Earthly reason to ever be in contact with one another if not for their flimsy bargain. It was like that from the beginning, even before they knew it. And once they did know it, they were so far past resisting that they ignored it. They were so drawn together. The pull was so compelling and it manifested in the most perfect slow burn romance. 

I’ve never thought to say this about a romance before but the timing in this book was perfection. Anna Bennett built such incredible tension and longing and somehow did it to the exact moment when I found myself wanting the very thing that was being drawn out. By page 60 I was yearning for them to touch. Waiting for it. Thinking about when it would happen. Really dying for it at that point. And just like that, as if the book wrote itself around my thoughts, Sophie tells Reese that a rule of their arrangement must be that they cannot touch each other…even if they both wanted it. God, the tension was already so good and those few sentences somehow knocked it off the charts. There’s nothing I love more than when they are dying inside to be touched and I knew it was going to be a scorcher right there. 

The book didn’t disappoint. There is a super hot scene where they don’t touch each other at all. And yet that scene, like the rest of the book, was all sweetness. It’s a sweetness that incinerates you from the inside. Makes you melt and sigh and tingle. 

Woven throughout the book is a theme of life and death that manifests itself in a decaying garden that Reese brings back to life through Sophie’s guidance. I loved the parallel of the garden. He brings it back to life, just as she brings Reese back to life. She gives them both something to live for, as if she’s invented a new meaning for air and water and sunshine. And she has, because that is what Sophie becomes for Reese. 

One of the things I adored about this book was that there were no lies. No deception. Just two people inadvertently falling in love even though they shouldn’t be. They didn’t deny their feelings. In fact, they acknowledged them and even spoke them out loud on occasion, when the thoughts burned them up inside and they couldn’t bare to keep it to themselves, despite the heartache that continued to grow. 

I loved the first half a bit more than the second half. It fizzled a tad but was still wonderful. I would have liked longer chapters. They felt a bit short and I just wanted more, more, more with this book. The book was only 280 pages so there was room there for a bit more development that would have catapulted this book right into the stars. 

The sex was pretty good but after such a slow burn, I wanted a little more fire when they finally came together. But it was incredibly sweet and still satisfying. This too is a matter of personal preference and I wouldn’t say it should sway anyone from reading this book. 

Its for those minor quibbles that I give it 4 stars. But they are 4 glory stars. This book would likely be 5 stars for many. It just doesn’t quite rank with other books I’ve given 5 stars to, but it’s close. 

I loved it and definitely recommend it. It’s perfect for a Sunday afternoon read when you want something just emotional enough to make your heart flutter, but not so devastating that it feels torn right out of your chest. 

Thanks to netgalley for giving me an arc of this book!

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