One of my most anticipated reads of the year is here so it's time to fangirl!
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Rating: 5 🌟
Once upon a time, Monroe Sinclair was Brodan Adair’s best friend, but now he’s a stranger and one of Hollywood’s leading men…
It took Monroe Sinclair eighteen years to return home to Ardnoch after a fateful night that devastated her friendship with Brodan Adair. She fled her unrequited love for him, as well as her difficult family life, and tried not to look behind her. Only a daughter’s guilt could lure her back to the Highlands and the assumption that Brodan Adair rarely ever sets foot in their hometown. She can handle seeing the rest of the Adairs so long as she can avoid her ex-best friend and the only man she’s ever loved.
Nothing is more important to Brodan than family, and only his demons have the power to keep him from them. For years, acting was something he was lucky enough to be good at, yet it wasn’t his priority—Ardnoch and his siblings were. But when a ghost from his past returned out of the blue, Brodan tried to outrun its haunting, taking him further and further from home. When exhaustion finally forces him back to the family fold, the last thing he wants is to encounter another ghost. But that’s exactly what Monroe Sinclair has been to him.
When a promise to his nephew obliges Brodan to work with Monroe, it forces them to face their past. The explosive connection that has always existed between them resurrects truths long buried. Yet, just when they might be on the brink of a second chance, the ghost from Brodan’s past finally catches up to him and threatens not just their happiness, but their very lives.
Sigh. Every time I read one of Samantha's books I have a hard time writing a review. For some inexplicable reason, I feel totally biased and incapable of giving a truly objective opinion. I don't know what is about her writing but it always resonates very deeply with me. Her books have been a comfort read for years and every time I have to gift a book to one of my non-reader friends, her books always come to mind first. (Probably why I can't locate my original copy of On Dublin Street ...).
It's the realness, the emotion, the maturity, strength of the characters and their stories, the banter, the passion, the tropes ... it's all there. It pulls you in, even when or if you don't agree with the character's actions or thoughts pattern. You get it, you feel for them, you want what's best for them. And that's why reading the last book in this series made me all sorts of emotional, I felt like I was saying goodbye to some close friends or family. But the beautiful epilogue almost made up for that.
Now, about this book.
Wow. What an emotional rollercoaster. This was the 5th, last and my very favorite book in the Adair Family series. I loved (lived) every second of it - even when I wanted to cry or scream at Brodan for his mean behavior. There's been a world of hurt between these two and it was all so heartbreaking, angry and profound, I honestly couldn't imagine how they would ever recover from it.
This is probably the couple we've all been most excited (and anxious) about. I read the last 3 books back to back and I was on the edge of my seat to get to the bottom of it. To see it out in the open and fixed. The tension, history and buildup hinted at one hell of a story. And was it.
Brodan and Monroe had it worse than Mac and Arro (book 3), which is saying something. They had been best friends since they were kids and just when they got old enough to have romantic feelings for each other, mistrust, personal issues and bad decisions forced them apart for over a decade. So when they have to come back home, there's years of unresolved issues, pent up frustration, hurt and questions, longing and despair surrounding them. And when all that finally exploded, it detonated like a mine. If internal bleeding from all those fresh and old wounds would have been possible, they'd be done for. It's all so devastating, for a second I couldn't see it work out.
But it's a big loving crazy family. A small town. Close proximity. A fun group of busy buddies and long time buried feelings, but good feelings nonetheless. Flawed, but charming characters with a heart of gold, who have been through a lot over the years, even when their mind and hearts were stuck somewhere in the past with the "what ifs". And step by step, they are put into situations that make them work together, chat, open up. Talk things through, spend time together. Get the ugly out in the open, reveal their feelings (from back then and now) and heal. Be honest and give in to their passion and love. Remember why they were each other's 'only one' person from the get go. Lots and lots of healing and groveling was necessary to get to a good place, which was heartwarming and actually fun to see. I melted every time they bantered and he called her by her childhood nickname. They really were fun and perfect together and seeing them work for the happily ever after they have dreamed about for like 3 decades was so wholesome!
Plus, there's the whole family invested (as usual lol), which added more giggles and "aww" moments.
And then. The epilogue. Ahhh! Pretty sure that was the best extended epilogue in existence.
"I have loved you every minute, every second of my life too. There has been no one else. Only you."
So, obviously, 5 stars for me. I'm glad there's a spin-off series already in the works and we met the characters from that one, so I can't wait to see their story unfold. Spending time in the Highlands with these brooding men and their strong ladies is too much fun!
*Review copy and graphics provided by the author and Valentine PR in exchange for a honest opinion, thank you so much! <3