She looks almost unrecognizable to 28y.o. songwriter & part-time heavy-metal guitarist Hero,
with her conservative & chic appearance. She looks nothing like the carefree Bohemian poet he knew her to be that college summer.
As much as he'd changed himself, the one thing that has not is her love for her. And he's determined to unmake the one big mistake he made in the past and convince her to give him a 2nd chance.
But trusting him with her love is not.
He understands this but is running out of time on what he promised her. Will he ever gain her trust back if she finds out what he did?
Reading this book was like drinking tea. You go through a slow steeping process first. Then you seep it to get the full benefit of its flavor and effect. You won't get the intensity at the start but it gradually builds up to it in a strong and effective manner. The first 45 pages of the book was a slow and tepid start, with Hero and heroine getting to the vacation house and trying to negotiate who got to stay. But, once heroine agreed to shared the house with Hero for 2 weeks and they started touching on their past, my interest was captivated as their romance became focused and more emotionally engaging. It's a mature romance between two 20-somethings. We saw how the 9 years of separation made them grow up.
This was also an extended grovel book. Hero tried to atone for the huge mistake he made 9 years before, letting her go like he did. He paid for it with an empty albeit successful & busy life of a musician. He not only wanted another chance with her. He wanted to convince her of his love for her and that it's always been her, even when he denied it 9 years ago. He went all out in word and deed to show her how much he meant to her. He was not a perfect guy. We saw him making mistakes but he had heroine's best interest at the forefront of his choices. He made secret and costly sacrifices for her that may jeopardize her trust in him.
----------SPOILERS: Don't read below if you don't want to know the book's details----------------
Hero told her he'd share half of the $40K he was promised for 4 songs he had to write if she helped him write the 4 songs. Heroine had to finish her book in a few weeks or else lose the book contract and give back the money advance the publisher gave her, which she'd been living on since her live-in boyfriend died a year and a half ago. When his song contract fell through, his first thought was how he was going to make it up to her. Even though he no longer wanted to go on concert tours especially since it meant being separated from her, he accepted it because it would get him the money she needed. But, knowing she won't accept it handed to her that way, he made it 1 of his conditions to go on tour for his manager to call his publishing contact and give heroine to get her poetry book published and use Hero's $40K to pay her.
He made those sacrifices for the sake of her wants and needs, even it meant her ultimately not choosing him due to his deception. He had enough of his selfishness that made him lose her in the first place. Her happiness mattered more.
I love the mixture of music and poetry in conveying their feelings then and now as well as their individual characters. I could feel the pain, regret, and longing both Hero and heroine revealed in the lyrics. Heroine's pain resounded through her words. It's appropriate that her verbally confessing her love for him again would be the 1 difficult task she had to do. Words showed her soul. She didn't want to be broken again like she was 9 years ago, after she told Hero she loved him. Her carefree and trusting self died that day and she'd buried it under the safety of a dull and closed-in existence ever since. I understood her pain & brokenness. But, as much as the fault lay on Hero's feet for not having the courage to embrace love then, heroine was also to blame for being cowardly and selfish herself. For seeking comfort in the arms of another man (OM) in a matter of days and who she used for 8 years as her safety net. She knew OM loved her but she didn't reciprocate it. She remade herself to conform to OM's life so she never had to risk being open to pain & heartbreak. So her ongoing guilt after OM's death over stringing him along for her own needs was warranted. As much as Hero steeped himself in self-absorption (i.e., 1-night stands, partying, impulsive buying) in the intervening years to fix his empty & solitary existence, heroine did the same but in her predictable & safe but posh life with trust-fund-baby OM.
Both Hero and heroine made regrettable mistakes in the past. There were some gross misunderstandings that prevented them from reuniting much earlier. It was angsty to hear from both perspectives events that they misunderstood and could've cleared up if only one of them had courage enough to risk their hearts again. But both were 19, virgins with each other, and understandably inexperienced with strong emotions and handling such difficult emotional situations. I liked the contrast and the challenge of the present time with the past. Both of them were presented with a another chance for a reunion now and the same messy and difficult emotions come along with it. Hero was willing to tackle it but heroine was not as brave. I loved Hero's patience and sensitivity with her. He pushed just enough while constantly showing her that he was her support and that he didn't ever want to be without her. His constant love healed her mistrust and fears.This guy was 100% into her. Just in case we had any doubts, the writer did something towards the end that made it undeniable how much she affected him. It was sigh-worthy.
I loved the texting between the 2 of them. It was sweet, exciting, and sizzled with sexual chemistry. It led up to a highly-charged emotional and sexual reunion. The epilogue nailed it.
I assuredly recommend this book.