Hey lovely Readers!
Here’s a book review for you! But before I start, I want to say some things about what you’re about to read. First, this review will most likely contain SPOILERS. Second, this book depicts abuse and I will talk about that here. And third, everything I say is my opinion based on my own personal experience.
“Sometimes it is the one who loves you who hurts you the most.
Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up — she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.
Ryle is assertive, stubborn, maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily. And the way he looks in scrubs certainly doesn’t hurt. Lily can’t get him out of her head. But Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing. Even as Lily finds herself becoming the exception to his “no dating” rule, she can’t help but wonder what made him that way in the first place.
As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan — her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened. “
I’ve heard a lot about this book, especially in the last few weeks as it is going to be made into a movie. And before I read it I knew what the story was about, I didn’t know which character was who in the story, but I knew the premise. So maybe you think that skews my opinion, but I don’t think so. I think, before you read this book, you need to know that abuse takes place. You need to understand what kind of story this is. It is not a love story, it is not a romantic story, it is not a happy story (no matter how it ends). It is painful, harsh, dark, scary, and it actually made me want to be sick.
If you know me, you know that I will read just about anything. I don’t have triggers. Sure, things in books upset me sometimes, but I never let certain triggers, tropes, or character types put me off a book before I’ve tried it. I like the deep stuff, the meaningful stuff, the dark stuff. Those are the books that are the most important, that have the most impact. I applaud the author for writing a story like this and for being honest about her own family history with abuse. But I can’t and won’t say that I liked this book, because I didn’t. This is the kind of story that needs to be written, that needs to be read, but this one was much to romanticized for the subject matter.
I knew who the abuser was the second he was introduced, I knew because I loved someone like him. I loved my abuser for 3 years, for 3 years I made excuses, for 3 years I pretended that I hadn’t fallen in love with a man just like my father. My father was abusive, never to me, but to my mother and all the women he was with after her. For this reason I recognized the abuser immediately, he made me sick, he made my skin crawl. I hated him instantly and I knew exactly what he would end up doing to Lily. Now let me tell you why I really don’t like this book.
I want to say again how much I applaud the author for this story, because it is important. And I get why it’s written the way it is. You need to see why Lily fell in love with her abuser, why she made excuses, why things turned out the way they did. But I cannot like a story that puts such a romantic filter on abuse of any kind. There is no excuse, nothing can justify it, nothing can make it alright. And I HATE that the abuser basically moves on unchanged. Lilly asks him what he would do if someone hurt his child the way he hurt Lily and he’s honest. He says he would tell that child to walk away. He’s aware that what he has done is not alright and perhaps he is sorry. I believe he does love Lily, but just saying the words is not nearly enough. Being sorry isn’t enough, love is not enough. I don’t care what happened to him to make him this way, it’s not okay. And I needed something more than what we got in the end. There needed to be some very real and visible change or atonement and there just wasn’t. That is unacceptable. This book is different that this authors other works and it needs to be presented as such. It is not a story of tragic and heartbreaking love. It’s not romantic. It’s a powerful story about a woman who finds the strength to say enough.
I’m torn, because while a story like this needs to be told, I don’t think it was as honest and truthful as it should have been. I know this is a work of fiction, but it’s too perfect. It all wraps up much too nicely. Maybe it’s because I was Lily that I feel this way, maybe not. But as the child of an abuser and a survivor of a violent relationship I cannot find it in my heart to connect with either male character, to rationalize horrid actions. But this book does give you an incredibly truthful look at how you can love someone who treats you so badly. I’m proud of Lily for her strength and I can only hope that, if anything, this book gives strength to others who are living a nightmare like this.
As for me, I won’t be reading this again and I’m honestly not sure if I’ll rec it. Ugly Love by this author is still my favorite, I find it to be much more powerful, so beautiful, raw, real, and striking. My review for that one is here.
Thanks for reading guys! Talk to you soon! ❤ Adrianna
*Cover and synopsis from Goodreads