Daniel Rodriguez’s and Hope Moore’s story has been a long time in the making, alluded to so strongly in Katee Robert’s previous books in this series that I couldn’t help but wonder if it was going to gut me when it finally came.
The biggest problem I have now, after reading it, is that it didn’t, which leaves me at a loss at how to write this review. On the contrary, when Daniel’s and Hope’s unhappy history finally came to light, it wasn’t in a way that I envisioned their second chance coming around. Instead, I felt blindsided by the lack of emotional depth for most of the book, flummoxed by the sudden sex up the wall when apparently two people couldn’t control themselves after years apart with no contact, and perplexed by the clichéd pregnancy that happened after.
Where is the simmering sexual tension that makes it all so delicious when it breaks? Where is that awkwardness that flits between this very special groups of friends? Where are the gut-wrenching moments of reparation and grovelling—or at least the struggle to put things right—that the oblivious male lead should have had in the past decade I should be reading about?
For these reasons, I found that the story frustrated me on so many levels: that Daniel and Hope were so willing to use sex to gloss over the issues that they couldn’t seem to address, that Daniel inexplicably, suddenly decided he wanted Hope for keeps only after she returned (why now, when he hadn’t tried a whit in the past 13 years?), that Hope became this hysterical, unreasoning woman who looked so different from the solemn and somewhat lovelorn woman I came across in ‘Fool Me Once’. The lack of emotional depth I think, and the angst that should have been present didn’t seem present right up until the end where Daniel was finally caught out by Hope’s mother about being more obsessed with his guilt than his love for her. But because Robert only addressed this issue so late in the book made their relationship too farcical to buy into for most of the story; Daniel’s subsequent quick turnaround and Hope’s easy acceptance made me wish that this quick read had more unfiltered edge and a rawer process of characters realising—and overcoming—their own shortcomings without needing to write in Hope’s pregnancy as an overused plot device.
I wish I could have liked this more—liked the characters and the story more. Robert’s exploration of grief and guilt comes in spurts throughout the book, but for me, it was way too late when it finally overflowed at the end, when it should have happened from the very start.