Weighted down by the loss of her parents, Blythe McGuire struggles to keep her head above water as she trudges through her last year at Matthews College. Then a chance meeting sends Blythe crashing into something she doesn’t expect – an undeniable attraction to a dark-haired senior named Chris Shepherd, whose past may be even more complicated than her own. As their relationship deepens, Chris pulls Blythe out of the stupor she’s been in since the night a fire took half her family. She begins to heal, and even, haltingly, to love this guy who helps her find new paths to pleasure and self-discovery. But as Blythe moves into calmer waters, she realizes Chris is the one still strangled by his family’s traumatic history. As dark currents threaten to pull him under, Blythe may be the only person who can keep him from drowning.
Publishing July 16th 2013.
My Thoughts (ARC Review):
This is a super sexy, funny and touching read – but you wouldn’t know it from the first 100 pages… You have to persevere with this one to get to the good stuff.
The beginning lacks tension and is quite wordy as Blair wanders from one random event to another. The heating up of Blair and Chris’ relationship and the resulting angst finally locks suspense into the story. I didn’t feel that there was enough of a build up to the physical intimacy though and later on ‘love’ just sort of clicked into place, mostly thanks to the steamy happenings. (A certain TV scene may have been bookmarked by myself…)
Initially Blair’s character is vulnerable and afloat, then she latches onto Chris and uses him to pull herself back into the world:
“Some people believe in God; I believe in Chris.” – Blair
Early on I found myself shaking my head incredulously at some of the things she just blurted out to him, like ‘my parents died in a fire’. However, Jessica Park works very hard throughout the book to sell the idea that these two people were meant to help one another – MTB. This means there are a lot of ‘coincidences’ and ‘star-crossed’ moments in their pasts which stretch the concept of probability pretty far. I did like how Blair took more and more control of her life as the story progressed.
“When my suitcase is packed, I stop by Chris’s room to give him his present. I’m giving him something that’s actually wrapped in snowflake paper, even though I certainly felt the temptation to announce instead that I was gracing him with the honour of deflowering me for Christmas (Happy holidays!), but it didn’t seem like a good idea. We have a good thing going right now.” – Blair
This is clearly a romance book – other parts of Blair’s life are soundly ignored e.g. we don’t really experience her university life at all. We do get some touching scenes with her brother and her mum’s former best friend though, as she starts to heal old wounds. The secondary characters (mostly consisting of Chris’ siblings) all have troubled pasts. Estelle, Chris’ sister, is hilarious, I loved her character – she’s religious, foul mouthed, sexually liberal, outrageous and kind – and her account of the ‘Michael Buble incident’ had me in stitches!
So after a slow start this turned out to be a novel about healing, forgiveness, redemption, finding ‘the one’ and finding yourself – with a sprinkling of humour, family and a large spoonful of sex. Yep, I just wrote that!