Blurb from Goodreads
Sometimes it is the one who loves you who hurts you the most.
Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up
— she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.
Ryle is assertive, stubborn, maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily. And the way he looks in scrubs certainly doesn’t hurt. Lily can’t get him out of her head. But Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing. Even as Lily finds herself becoming the exception to his “no dating” rule, she can’t help but wonder what made him that way in the first place.
As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan — her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.
Please be aware that this book contains a domestic abuse storyline which I discuss in my review. Read with caution if this may be triggering to you.
This was recommended to me by so many different people. Eh guys did we read a completely different book???
This book deals with a very delicate subject matter. That of domestic abuse and its associated horrors so be advised there are trigger warnings for abuse in the home including physical, emotional and sexual.
Also spoilers ahead!!!!
I get what Coleen Hoover was trying to do with this book. How she was trying to paint the picture of how you could unwittingly find yourself in a domestic abuse situation but still struggle with loving and staying with a man who hurts you.
But for me this book did not work at all.
And I 100% blame Hoover because in my opinion her writing utterly lacks gravitas.
It’s impossible not to be moved by her author’s note that describes her familial experience but despite her personal knowledge of domestic abuse I did not find myself empathising with her fictional characters at all.
I felt that the first 50% was an incredibly poor set up for the relationship between Lily and Ryle. It felt like standard NA schlock with an alpha male type love interest and a girl trying to run from her past.
I did not believe the romance.
It was hello I’m a hot moody bad boy neurosurgeon who wants to screw your brains out but I don’t do relationships…
Five pages later there’s a quasi-relationship but nothing that felt genuine or deep.
So that by the time Lily told us how so in love with Ryle she was and found herself somehow married to him I had utterly lost any interest in them as a couple because it simply did not feel like a believably deep and meaningful relationship.
And that to me was the biggest flaw of this book.
Because I kept querying the why was Lily with Ryle.
And that is exactly what I wasn’t supposed to do as a reader!!!
Because we all know that any one of us could end up in a domestic abuse situation. Like surely that was Hoover’s aim? That we were supposed to understand this relationship. And to feel the pain and the trauma and the heartbreak.
But because Hoover had written Ryle like an alpha douchebag from page one I kept thinking to myself well surely Lily won’t stay with him because in my opinion he’s got very unfavourable traits and characteristics from the get go. So she can’t fall in love with this kind of man can she? That her experience with Ryle will force her into the arms of another man who at first seems loving but eventually will turn out to be the abusive one…. but apparently not!
I thought Ryle displayed a lot of domineering traits and some possessive ones very early on in the book before they had gotten serious / married etc. so I couldn’t understand it. Lily seemed smart. She seemed clued in but then got swept away in this love story that to me did not work.
I personally felt there was an almost romanticised style to their relationship; the eloping to Vegas and thinking you’d have all the discussions that a couple needs to have before embarking on a lifelong commitment during a short plane ride from Boston to Vegas???
Not realistic or incredibly naïve…
I don’t know…
Didn’t sit right with me.
And that whole sexual situation with the stethoscope?? Was anyone else not weirded out by that? To me that was him displaying such dominance over her and because it happened relatively early on in their relationship I couldn’t understand how that didn’t trigger warning signals for Lily.
I honestly thought that Hoover was going to throw a plot twist at us and have Atlas be the abuser from Lily’s past because I thought Ryle’s early behaviours were far too obvious. I mean maybe if I hadn’t known the book was about domestic abuse from the beginning I might have been led along and then more shocked by Ryle’s abusive behaviours???? Doubtful though…
Admittedly the story improved slightly once Lily realised she was in a domestic abuse situation and there were some nice insights into how she felt regarding guilt-wise, struggling with her emotions about loving a man who hurt her, wanting to protect her unborn child etc. But all this was slathered in ridiculous melodrama especially with Atlas coming to the rescue and that utterly eye roll worthy epilogue of them coming together…
She called her kid Dory….. I legit can’t.
And giving Ryle an excuse for his abusive behaviour and wrapping things up so neatly with him being a good daddy????? Eh no. Don’t buy that at all.
So I’m sorry to those people that love this book especially my friends who recommended it to me. I do think this theme is something that needs to be talked about openly and honestly so that we can rid the perceived shame associated with domestic abuse.
Because anyone can find themselves in this situation. Anyone.
So for those reasons books that focus on domestic abuse are definitely worth reading and discussing. But this one… Sorry. This just wasn’t to my taste because the NA aspect and poor writing really detracted from the serious theme for me. It took every inch of my will power to finish this. This was my second read by Hoover and it will most definitely be my last. A book that I preferred that dealt with the issue of Domestic Abuse is They Were Sisters. To me that was written with much more gravitas and empathy.