Heat Factor: Very steamy. Extremely steamy. Lots of moments containing steam.
Character Chemistry: We have ourselves here a duet (please say trilogy) of books starting with a lovely dose of fated mates and proceeding right on into “seducing my spouse” so I’d say it’s meant to be and meant to stick.
Plot: We start with Izabel’s marriage to Bo, and a whole fleet of waving red flags. As Izabel struggles to understand what’s going terribly wrong in her marriage, she ends up seeing a hypnotherapist specializing in past life regression therapy. Things go nuts. That’s book one. Then on with the second book and my poor heart…
Overall: This duet was really pretty great–extremely sexy with a really creative execution and likeable characters. I’m including a few trigger warnings for violence against women.
I’m on a roll with another really fantastic recommendation. Forever Eve and After Eve turned out to be pretty captivating. When the first book opens, Izabel is getting married, and although it’s clear she’s truly in love with Bo there’s immediately a building sense of dread. Turns out that’s because he’s abusive and unfaithful! Also a warning that there’s a pretty upsetting rape scene between them, and the whole first part is just really heartbreaking.
I kind of feel like it’s hard to shift into a love story after such a terrible and soul-shattering marriage like that, to the point where I seriously worried that this romance just wasn’t going to fly or that she’d end up in a “this new man saved me!” type thing, but Izabel’s best friend ends up setting her up with this Past Life Regression therapist and we meet Charlie and Eve. Charlie and Eve are potent and the scenes with them are just vibrant and rich. In these memories, Izabel IS Eve, and she meets her Charlie, with whom she has in instant and deep connection. Almost immediately after her therapy session, Izabel meets Henry (who is undeniably Charlie) and things start almost right where they left off.
Here’s my summary of the challenges in the first book–I absolutely hated what Izabel had to go through, and honestly even the post-Bo part took me a little while to shake. But I did appreciate that the author had a successful mental health professional find herself in an abusive relationship, because it was so refreshing to see how this kind of damaging and destructive relationship can and does happen to anyone. And I think that the way those horrible scenes were written pull the reader into feeling violated and hurt along with Izabel so that her experience with Henry is kind of beautifully startling and scary in the beginning for the reader. Basically, we know it’s a romance and that she’ll get there, but you definitely get rocked off your center right alongside her. I didn’t think I’d appreciate that the way that I did, but here we are.
Also, as shocking as it is to say after unpacking abuse scenes, the sex in this book is fantastic. The author does a really amazing job. It’s seamlessly done and it develops alongside the main characters as their relationship unfolds.
I do not want to wreck the first book by unpacking too much of the second book, but this is the first winning back my spouse where I was like, “Dude!! He’s going to leave you and you’ll deserve it, and yet I completely understand and empathize with why you’re being such a wretch right now!!” Yet again, the emotional AND physical intimacy is really fantastically done, and it’s so engaging that I honestly totally forgot that the whole regression therapy thread was still hanging until the author picked it up again.
I didn’t even BEGIN to unpack Izabel’s shocking, warm, and scene-stealing best friend, but she’s pretty funny and delivers some killer one-liners.
I hope there’s a third coming. Is there a third coming?
I voluntarily read and reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. We disclose this in accordance with 16 CFR §255.
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