BLOG REVIEW: Kiss and Tell by Sharon Kendrick

It's been 14 months since 24y.o. model last saw well-known Hollywood scriptwriter Hero
and a lot has changed since. She put her successful modeling career on hold.
Her looks and priorities have changed because, unbeknownst to him, she had his baby 5 months ago. 
She's about to tell him but their strong passion gets in the way. 
Just as it always had before, during the year they lived together. 
But their love then couldn't stand the insecurities she had due to his fame
and his Irish charm.
Her revenge didn't seem so sweet now that time has passed. She believes that he may never want to touch her again after she breaks the news of their son to him. 
And she's right.
Is their romance doomed? How can he trust her again?

I'm surprised at how realistic the romance was of this Kendrick book. It didn't leave me with fluttery happy feelings but it did emotionally provoke me. And that's a good thing in my book. Aside from their superb physical attributes and fabulous careers, Hero and heroine had ordinary issues in their relationship and reacted likewise. Except maybe for the secret pregnancy/baby part. They had an instant connection and started living together, only having spent a handful of hours getting to know each other. Although their love was certain and mutual, they couldn't reconcile their individual issues enough to be able to sustain a harmonious relationship.

     -------------SPOILERS: Don't read below if you don't want to know the book's details--------

1.) Heroine's jealous reactions to the women fawning over popular Hero was rooted in her upbringing (i.e.,  her mother had a constant parade of men in their lives, her mother putting herself and her romance before heroine's welfare, her mother's encouraging her belief in the unfaithfulness of men). 
2.) Hero aggravated her insecurity with his need to party & be in the social scene.
3.) Hero also tended to flirt back with other women, even accepting their written phone numbers. His reassurances that it was only part of his celebrity status and that heroine was the only one he was interested in did not reassure her. 
4.) Heroine took a break from her modeling career to be with Hero, which he approved of. So, Hero became her only world during the year they lived together. His being busy with his career, including attending parties & social events, made her feel lonely and left out.
5.) The time they spent together they utilized having sex. They didn't spend much time talking and sharing their innermost thoughts and feelings with each other. Or resolving their relationship problems. 

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It was, therefore, no surprise that they gradually drifted apart. Heroine's going back to modeling against Hero's wishes and her subsequent work trips overseas contributed to their growing physical and emotional distance. Their breakup eventually occurred and they went 2 years before they saw each other again. It wasn't so much their breakup that troubled me. It was their indifference to it, especially on Hero's part. Heroine was playing her immature passive-aggressive games and really wanted him to fight for their romance. But he didn't. So she didn't either. Their differences seemed irreconcilable to them and they were in a place in their lives where they chose other priorities. 

What I really liked about this book was the insight both had with what went wrong before and their responsibility in what happened. We only get heroine's 3rd-person POV(point of view) so we hear more of her acceptance of responsibility. She was matter of fact about her past insecurities, her immaturity, the mental games she was playing with him, her wish that he'd read her mind instead of telling him what she thought/felt, her passive-aggressive responses to him, and, most of all, taking revenge on him by keeping the knowledge of their son from him. She felt guilty but was willing to right the wrong now.  Being a mother opened her eyes to many things about how she was living her life. She had changed some and was still in the process of changing.

What we know about Hero was based on what he told heroine. We don't ever know if he fell out of love with heroine before or just thought their differences too much to live with. We do know that time and seeing her again 2 years after their breakup solidified his feelings for her. He even confessed it to her right away but what happened after they made love changed things:

     -------------SPOILERS: Don't read below if you don't want to know the book's details--------

The phone rang after their sexual aftermath and it was Hero's current girlfriend(GF). Heroine had no clue he had a girlfriend and he hadn't told her. Hero's explanation that he and his GF were technically over but not "officially" didn't change heroine's feelings of betrayal. This was the event that led her to her secret-pregnancy/baby revenge. She couldn't stomach the thought of Hero moving on with his life romantically, even though she didn't make any effort to amend their broken relationship in the 2 years they were apart. When she found out she was pregnant from their 1 time together, leaving him out of their baby's life made her feel some justice for her pain. This is 1 of her wrongs she now regrets and tries to amend. 

That event changed Hero enough that he became celibate until he saw heroine again in the present time, 18 months later. I would've liked to have known if he went through an emotional crisis, felt guilt over not telling her about his GF and/or not breaking off with his GF officially before he had sex with heroine, and why he became celibate when he wasn't doing much to pursue heroine.

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I liked his present bluntness and not letting heroine get away with her wishful or unrealistic thinking. He sensibly confronted her on her mistrust in him and the choices she made then. He was understandably shaken by her betrayal re: keeping their son a secret from him but his love for her did shine through their current troubles. It helped that he saw the changes she made. He himself was in the process of changing, trying to reconcile his anger with her with his love for her and practicality of having a family now.

What made this book unique was that both main characters were in the process of change throughout the book. I liked it.  But the reality of their relationship being still in-process and we didn't get a perfected Hero and heroine and their romance wrapped in pretty HEA(happy ever after) bow at the end made me uncomfortable. It wasn't the usual HP(Harlequin Presents) ending I'm used to. I appreciate it for its real-ness nonetheless. But I still prefer getting a HEA bow at the end so I would've liked a 1-page (even half a page) epilogue showing them contentedly together 3 or 5 years later. The ending with their love confessions and passionate reconciliation came and went too quickly. It reminded me of how they first got together, driven by attraction and emotion. An epilogue would've shown that this time around Hero and heroine have matured and built a solid romance together, defying their past problems. That would've settled everything for me.

I sufficiently recommend this book.
3.5-star

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