By: Molly McAdams
Published By: William Morrow Impulse
Publication Date: August 23, 2016
Page Count: 243
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via Edelweiss
Audience: New Adult - Contemporary
I'm a huge McAdams fangirl and I have loved the previous novels in the Thatch series. I couldn't wait to jump into Charlie and Deacon's story. Do NOT read past this tiny intro if you haven't read the previous novels in the series. It's impossible to talk about this one without spoiling elements from the other novels.
Charlie, Jagger's younger sister, has finally finished college. She's ready to move back to Thatch and gain full custody of her son, Keith, who has been living with Jagger and Grey while she was away at school. She wants to give her son a normal life, but finds that may be more difficult than she anticipated. Charlie is still reeling from Ben's death and isn't sure she can ever give her heart away again, but as it often happens, life intervenes and sends her right into the path of Deacon Carver.
Deacon is the type of guy I avoided at all costs in my dating years. He's a serial dater who uses women and leaves. He doesn't do commitment and he has no attachments beyond his family and closest friends. He makes it very clear a wife and children aren't part of his life plans. Deacon also has it out for Charlie after her affair with Ben came to light. He can't move past her betrayal of Grey and he doesn't hesitate to let her know how angry he is with her. This irked me a bit as I felt like Charlie was receiving all the blame for the affair when Ben had been an equal participant. Ben's death kept him from dealing with the fallout, but Charlie weathered that storm and came out a stronger person and mother. I felt like Deacon's judgment of Charlie was unfair - especially given his dating habits. I understood he wanted to protect Grey, but slut shaming isn't the best route to show your loyalty.
Deacon's initial feelings towards Charlie colored my feelings concerning him. Unlike the other McAdams leading males, I didn't swoon for Deacon. In fact, I spent a large portion of the novel completely disliking him. I felt he was rude, arrogant, and far too aggressive. It also seemed like he flipped the switch from disgust to instalove a bit too quickly for my liking. I didn't lose myself in this romance like I have with all of her other stories. This was probably my least favorite McAdams pairing.
While my feelings towards Deacon changed throughout the course of the novel, I never was fully rooting for him. It's not all Deacon's fault though. I also didn't love Charlie as a leading lady. I felt for her situation and wanted the best for her and Keith, but I found her to be more immature and whiny than other main female characters. It's hard to follow up Grey and Harlow. I did love Charlie's devotion to Keith and her book nerd tendencies, but I hated that she spent a large portion of this novel hiding from the world and her true feelings. Charlie often runs from her problems rather than facing them head on. It felt in some ways that she was a doormat for the males around her. I wanted to cheer in the moments when she grew a backbone.
While this wasn't my favorite McAdams novel, I did enjoy my time with these characters. I love the town of Thatch and its residents. It was nice to see old favorites reappear and continue with their lives. I think the key to loving this one is being firmly on board with the romance between Charlie and Deacon. Both of these characters are emotionally flawed which impacts how they interact with others in a romantic sense. I understood it, but it was too much drama for me.
On another note, I was seriously hoping for a novel focusing on Graham, but he plays such a big role in this one, that I am not sure he will get his own story. I did feel like I got closure where he is concerned.
In spite of my lackluster response to this one, I still would recommend this to fans of the Thatch series. It's worth a read just to see what's happening with the leading characters from the previous novels. Also, I know Deacon and Charlie will find their way into the hearts of many readers; I just wasn't the right person for their story this time.
One Last Gripe: It's minor, but I dislike this cover. I have seen that image on several other books and would have liked something more original.
Favorite Thing About This Book: Spending more time with Jagger, Grey, Knox, and Harlow
First Sentence: Once upon a time and happily ever after ... words I grew up hearing from Disney and children's stories, and words I'd always believed in.
Favorite Character: Keith - he made me smile and provided some comic relief
Least Favorite Character: Deacon, but he does redeem himself by the end
After her first love was ripped from her grasp four years earlier, Charlie Easton was sure she would never be able to trust anyone with the shattered pieces of her heart again. That is, until Deacon Carver forces himself into her life, and makes those pieces swirl in chaos. But Charlie doesn't know how to let him in… until a stranger stumbles upon a notebook filled with her innermost secrets, and shows her how.
Deacon Carver is known for sleeping his way through the town of Thatch, as well as the surrounding cities—something he used to take pride in. But that persona has haunted Deacon ever since he decided to leave that life behind for the girl he wants more than anything: Charlie Easton.
But when another girl falls into Deacon's life, allowing him to be himself without judgment for his past, will their conversations hinder his relationship with Charlie … even if he's never seen her?