18y.o. heroine has been living a secluded life in their woodlands property because of her loner dad. She’s thrilled to be stumbled upon by 20y.o. Hero who was hiking by their property.
Hero has been searching for his twin sister who’s been missing for the past 2 months and sees heroine as a welcome distraction.
Heroine accepts his companionship and hopes for a romance that’s been whetted by the steamy romance novels she’s been reading over the years. As they get to know each other and enjoy some time together, their mutual attraction becomes more evident.
Soon, they give in to it with deliberation and eagerness. It’s cut short when her dad finds out about them and forbids their relationship. Then he locks her up when she resists.
Does Hero ever find her? What about his missing sister? Could there be a link between the two?
I enjoyed the story. It’s told from alternating POVs(point of views) of Hero and heroine. We get to know what they were thinking and feeling about each other and their life situations. And this was key to making some outlandish parts of the book look plausible to me. Take heroine, for example. She hasn’t had much social contact most of her life, especially since after age 15 when she became homeschooled. For her to spend a lot of time alone with stranger Hero and get intimate with him and profess to love him in less than a week seemed naïve & foolish of her. But her POV showed us that she had carefully assessed Hero and the things she did with him. She set out to grab what could be her only chance at romance due to her life with her father and Hero fulfilled much of what she looked for in a romantic partner. She wasn’t looking to marry him but to be free to love and be loved back by a young & attractive man, even for a short time.
On his part, Hero wasn’t looking for romance as he was searching for his missing sister and he was still young & in college. But meeting heroine made him re-evaluate his life. She became important to him as he got to know her and he recognized that she may very well be his life partner but that time will tell. I liked the level-headedness of both Hero and heroine. They may have a potent attraction to each other but they didn’t let that solely determine their decisions. They talked about birth control & emotional readiness before they took the intimacy plunge further. Hero was a considerate, sweet, and patient guy who made sure that heroine was certain about her decisions. He didn’t push & was willing to wait for her. Heroine was the impatient & more impulsive one in their relationship, which was ironic given her sheltered life. This included their sexual activities. She was an eager virgin who wanted to experience what she learned from her steamy romance books. What I also liked about their relationship was that the time they spent having fun together, whether innocent & sexual fun. They laughed together and laughed at each other. It’s part of what helped quickly build their trust and intimacy with each other.
As simple and sweet as the romance was, the more outlandish parts of the book were the unexpected twists that happened later. I loved how the secondary characters & subplots were pulled together in a coherent story. It was ingenious.
--------------SPOILERS: Don't read below if you don't want to know the book's details----------------
1. Heroine's father secluded both of them from everyone, especially his relatives. He even locked her up in her room for hours frequently when she was younger. We find out that he did it to protect heroine from painful knowledge about his mom and her parentage. It was also partly due to revenge and his admitted selfishness.
2. Hero believed the man he saw going into another cabin just 3 miles from heroine & her father's house was heroine's dad. We find out that it was her dad's estranged twin brother.
3. Hero was prepared for the worst regarding his missing sister. He suspected she was likely in the vicinity by heroine's residence. She was. But she wasn't dead but amnesiac.
4. Heroine was told her mother died when she was 3 and only had her father as her family. We found out she had an uncle, her dad's twin. But, we later find out, that her uncle could possibly be her biological father. And her mother is still very much alive.
The dysfunctions of Hero and heroine's family members got revealed. What was great was that they all got the help they needed. It's part of what made the unexpected drama more realistic. We had imperfect characters who made some regrettable choices but apologized and got some help when they realized how horrible the consequences were for them and their loved ones. There were no quick fixes. They had a long road ahead to health and they were taking steps towards it.
I recommend this book