22y.o. ballerina still can't completely go of 27y.o.Hero as much as she's tried to in the past 4+ years.
They met fortuitously when he rescued her from the car accident she & her twin sister were in when she was 17. They spent one powerful night together and wrung out promises to wait for each other until they can be together again.
But Hero betrayed her hard-won promise the next day for his promising professional baseball career.
Understanding his ambition as she feels the same way about ballet doesn't negate her pain & sense of betrayal. Things worsen when she finds out she's pregnant & makes difficult decisions that have a domino effect. Now heroine wonders if the sacrifices she made for her career and his are really worth it. Hero himself also struggles with regrets over choosing baseball for her.
But the timing always seems to be wrong and other people and circumstances also get in the way. How & when do they ever manage to reconcile?
This book was well-written. Its emotional tone, serious content, complexed characters, and unpredictability grabbed my attention. And it had non-stop drama and angst. At least 450 pages worth! My emotions were all over the place while reading the book. At first, I didn’t like the heroine, with her cold & self-indulgent attitude. Her twin sister’s death changed her & she became less arrogant so I started liking her more. When she & Hero got involved, I felt hopeful & encouraged yet worried about what the impending trouble will be. When trouble came, it came in multiples and came down hard. I felt shocked, upset, and anxious about all the people & circumstances that were increasingly separating Hero & heroine. There were a couple very brief respite when Hero & heroine would temporarily reunite but be soon torn away again. By the time they finally reunited, it was disappointingly brief, somewhat contrived, and unsatisfactory. We got 450 pages of angst & maybe 5 pages worth of their reunion, where they didn’t discuss much of anything and just kissed a bit and agreed to marry. I felt overwrought after reading this book and I’d rather not feel like that after reading a romance novel. It does attest to writer’s ability to sway the readers’ emotions.
There was character growth with Hero and especially heroine. The story takes place within a 5-year period, starting when heroine was 17 and Hero was 22. I had to remind myself of their ages as the drama unfolded. A big part of Hero & heroine’s behaviors and choices were due to their emotional immaturity. They were still young adults who were making major life decisions. They both repeatedly betrayed each other with lies and deceptions.
-------------SPOILERS: Don’t read below if you don’t want to read the book’s details-----------------
Hero betrayed heroine by:
1. dropping her for his baseball career not even 24-hours after making her agree to take a chance (for the 1st time ever) to be exclusive with him
2. following his sports agent’s directives about their relationship instead of discussing his fears & concerns with heroine and making his decisions after a fuller evaluation
3. being passive & not fighting for their relationship when she would try to push him away with harsh words & bad attitude like he knew she tended to do when she got scared
4. giving up easily & not fighting for her before she took up with her on-&-off boyfriend again due to feeling indebted to him from rescuing Hero from Russian prison
5. not pursuing her in New York and passively waiting for her to come back to California (without telling her that’s what he was doing) or at least propose to have a long-distance relationship with her
6. going for the easier & safer quasi-relationship with his on-&-off lover when heroine would give him a hard time
Heroine betrayed Hero by:
1. repeatedly lying to him, especially about her feelings & desires for him
2. witholding info about her pregnancy & adopting their baby.
3. choosing to have sex with her deceased sister’s fiance (right after Hero told her he wanted to talk to her) to prove to Hero that they shouldn’t be together.
4. continually choosing to continue her on-off relationship with her boyfriend (same guy in #3) because he was safer than Hero. But she had no problems cheating on her boyfriend with Hero during 1 of the times she went back to visit her family.
I don’t know who betrayed who the worst. They both did it. Sometimes for noble reasons like heroine not wanting to jeopardize Hero’s promising baseball career and Hero not wanting to bother heroine’s relationship with her boyfriend. But sometimes their betrayal was out of pride, fear, immaturity, jealousy, codependency, and selfishness. It took a lot of heartache & losses for Hero & heroine to realize what really mattered. What I liked about this book was how 2 imperfect people who made mistakes and were in imperfect situations or wrong timing had a love for each other that stood the test of time & problems. What I didn’t like was how the ending didn’t follow through with this theme. Everything at the end suddenly falls into place and so quickly too. I mean, people who were in the way got killed off, what was lost suddenly came out of nowhere just in time, the liars/deceivers voluntarily confessed the truth without much effort, and those holding on to Hero & heroine is now letting them go so easily. The way Hero and heroine were able to reconcile seemed inauthentic and casual for such a drama-filled book to have ended in this way. An epilogue would’ve helped nail down their HEA(happily ever after) and create a more satisfying ending.
I recommend this book.