Genres: Contemporary, Romance
I was warned about Tristan Cole.
“Stay away from him,” people said.“He’s cruel.”“He’s cold.”“He’s damaged.”
It’s easy to judge a man because of his past. To look at Tristan and see a monster.
But I couldn’t do that. I had to accept the wreckage that lived inside of him because it also lived inside of me.
We were both empty.We were both looking for something else. Something more.We both wanted to put together the shattered pieces of our yesterdays.
Then perhaps we could finally remember how to breathe.
I kept seeing this categorized as a new adult book, which it is definitely not. Tristan is thirty-three, and Elizabeth is twenty-eight. I’m not sure why it keeps getting classified that way. So take that into consideration if you plan to read it.
That aside, hooboy. This book was intense. I’m still not completely sure how I feel about it. I love a tortured hero, but Tristan took it to a whole new level. Both he and Liz are completely broken, shattered, and even by the end I wasn’t sure getting involved with each other or anyone else was really a good idea. Tortured is one thing, but completely broken is a different deal, and I really just don’t think either of them was in any place to start an emotional relationship with anyone. They had a lot of work to still do on themselves. A lot of grieving to do, a lot to face and deal with. Tristan, especially. I’m not going to quantify whose loss was bigger or who was hurting more, but Liz hadn’t retreated from the world in the same way Tristan had. Yes, she left her hometown and moved in with her mother for a while, but she was still engaged with the people around her. Tristan moved away and just shut down. Shut everyone out, including his parents, friends, everyone. He actively invited everyone he met to fuck right off, usually by outright telling them to fuck right off, and most of them did. He had a reputation as the town asshole, and no one there even knew anything about him. Not one person knew the depth of his loss and what he was trying to deal with, mainly because he refused to tell anyone. He was rumored to, let’s see…. Be a runner because he was trying to outrun his past in the mob, have stabbed a person and just been released from prison, killed a cat for meowing the wrong way, and perform voodoo rituals in his current job. To be fair, he invites these rumors because they keep everyone away. This is not a man ready to take on a relationship, particularly not one with a woman also going through a devastating loss. I have to say, though, his reputation as the town asshole came into play in a scene with Liz’s best friend Faye in an unexpected way that made me literally laugh out loud.
But, oh, man. That relationship almost broke me. My heart ached for Tristan and Liz. Tristan was a complete dick in the beginning, and I really didn’t see how Brittainy Cherry was going to turn him into someone I would root for at all, much less a good partner and lover. Even though I didn’t think these two needed to be getting involved with anyone, much less someone as broken as they were, I really, really wanted it to work. Somehow, I wanted it to work; I wanted these people to heal. I just thought they were asking a little much of themselves and each other. It had only been a year since they had suffered losses, so I don’t think a little more time was unreasonable.
You know that place in between nightmares and dreams? The place where tomorrows never come and yesterdays don’t hurt anymore? The place where your heart beats in sync with mine? The place where time doesn’t exist, and it’s easy to breathe? I want to live there with you.
All that said, there were some plot holes that bugged me, which is why I couldn’t rate it higher. View Spoiler »I find it hard to imagine that Elizabeth sat with Tristan’s mother at the hospital for hours while Jamie and Charlie were in surgery and their names were never once mentioned. She had no idea until the end that the woman she sat with as she was dying was Tristan’s wife. How did his mother sob and cry for hours about her potentially dying daughter-in-law and grandson without ever once mentioning their names? « Hide Spoiler Also, View Spoiler »Tanner leaving the Post-It notes for Liz and trying to convince her they were from Tristan. How did she not notice that the handwriting was completely different?? « Hide Spoiler A few twists that were clearly coming and weren’t surprises. And then at the end, it went completely off the rails and was almost a different book. I felt like the reveal at the very end about Tanner’s role in everything was put in there so Liz and Tristan wouldn’t have to deal with the issue that caused Tristan to leave. And I didn’t think it needed to be. They were getting through it. The side characters were a lot of fun, too. I loved Elizabeth’s best friend, Faye. Even her daughter was more than a plot moppet. I loved her relationship with Tristan; I think it went a long way toward helping Tristan heal.
If you do decide to read this, which I do recommend, do yourself a favor and do NOT listen to Adele while you’re reading it. You may never recover. Oh, also – the cover itself. The cover gets five stars. Five gorgeous, gorgeous stars. That cover is amazing.