It is so hard to give this book only 3 stars, but ultimately I believe that’s what it deserves.
The hero, Ian, is wonderful and unique. The heroine, Beth, is also unique in some ways, but my favorite thing about her is how much love and compassion she has for Ian. They do grow together, both as individuals and as a couple. They learn to trust each other and eventually fall in love. It was a good story that had the potential to be amazing, but didn’t quite get there.
The murder/mystery aspect of this novel, in my opinion, completely got in the way of their love story. Every time I felt like Ian and Beth’s romance progressed, it devolved into discussion about this murder plot line. While I get that it was a big part of how Ian ultimately learns to love, I don’t think it was the only thing that could have been used to get him there. Ian had an extremely painful past and I wish there had been more of a focus on the unconditional understanding and acceptance that Beth gave to him, than on the murder/mystery aspect. I felt the murder/mystery plot line just dragged on and on and I actually felt my self wishing for the end of the book with 80 pages still left.
Additionally, so many of the reviews said that it is a hot read, with lots of sex. There is explicit sex in this book, though no foul language. (Actually, some of the language is ridiculous. For example, saying “his stem”. Hahaha. I had to laugh at that one.)
The hottest parts of this book are in the beginning. There are a couple of great, but short scenes. But then most of the book just mentions sex as opposed to sex actually happening. An “they spent the afternoon making love” sort of thing. The first love scene is rather incredible due to the emotional connection between them. There are 3 more minuscule love scenes that follow. The shortest being one paragraph to the longest being about a page. So, after page 150 there is a total of 3-4 pages of sex in total. And that includes all kissing and touching, etc. There is also approximately 100 pages of the book with no sex at all in the second half.
This is not necessarily a problem, except for perhaps people like me who are expecting a very steamy read. So many reviews implied that this book is constant sex, when it’s really not.
All that said, there are some really emotional scenes in this book that just get you. I loved those parts. I just found them to be sparse by comparison to the murder/mystery part.
As a final note, I was so exasperated hearing about what Mrs. Barrington would say or think by the end of the book. I was rolling my eyes. I read this on kindle and searched for the name. She is mentioned 69 times. This is a character that is dead before the first page, mind you. We got the point, she was an influence on Beth. We didn’t need to be beat over the head with it for us to understand that.