I had the flu while reading this so my notes/thoughts were mired in me feeling like I was experiencing a slow death. Because of the homophobic comments and misogyny, I just couldn't get into this. If I had read it when it was first published (I gave This Heart of Mine 5 stars and that has a huge problematic scene) maybe I would feel differently but as Sam(AMNReader) says, "when you know better, you do better" in her Review, I read it at age 35 in 2018 and I personally felt there were a lot of Not ok things being done and being said.
This was almost more of a contemporary with some romance as the main couple didn't spend a lot of time together. The heroine goes through one heck of a journey and I would have gave the book 2 stars for her alone but she makes a decision
; I just couldn't side with her. Romance books have to make me like the hero and heroine and I had no love for them here.
This was supposed to be a buddy read, Quotes/comments here but yeah, the whole flu thing kept me from being too talkative.
Anyway, a spoiled rich girl who travels to America, has one heck of a personal growth journey, and an abused runaway boy who plays golf, never feels good enough, and a handful of secondary characters that make the story better (Skeet and Miss Sybil) and worse (Holly Grace, not because of who she is married to but her comments).
Here are a couple of quotes I first started to highlight before the tone and flu took me over:
"Running musses your hair and makes your face all red. People won't love you if you're not pretty." She clasped Francesca tightly in her arms while she uttered this most terrible threat, using it the way other mothers might offer up the horrors of the boogey man.
The author did an amazing job, you'll get complete backstory on the heroine's mother, of showing why our heroine was the way she was. You'll think it is hard to sympathize with a spoiled rich girl but she never really had a chance to be anything else and she works her way out of it.
He threw the toothbrush at her, hitting her in the arm. "Take it! Take the fucking thing!
She drew back her arm and slapped his face as hard as she could. He slapped her back. Although he was mad enough to hit her, he wasn't mad enough to hurt her, so he struck her with only a small portion of his strength. Still, she was so small that she lost her balance and bumped into the side of a car. She grabbed the sideview mirror with one hand and pressed the other to her cheek. "Jesus, Francie, I hardly touched you." He rushed over and reached out for her arm.
There are some very touchy, cringing moments between the hero and heroine. At the point of these two quotes, the hero and heroine and only spent about a week together. The vibe of a guy throwing anything at the heroine in anger, screaming at her, or even slapping her "with only a small portion of his strength" in any context is take a good hard look at worthy but without personal relationship for knowing personalities, it feels abusive for the heroine. Men screaming at women just isn't the back and forth I look for; I don't know it felt super uncomfortable for me here.
"I want to do it! I know it's wrong. I know I shouldn't let you, but I just can't stand it anymore. I feel like I'm on fire." She tried to make him understand. "All those months, Billy T made me do it. All those months he hurt me. Don't I have the right, just once, to choose for myself?"
The younger issues involving the hero and Holly Grace was deep, dark, and I thought very emotional, it touches on issues no one likes to talk about but can be therapeutic for people to read and see discussed.
There were numerous comments about the heroine raising her son wrong and he might grow up "strange" or queer with the hero also early on making a comment about how he didn't want to be in a f****t calendar. Not my cup of tea views.
This was written well because Phillips is a good writer but well written homophobia is still homophobia. I didn't like a lot of the characters' actions and comments, it was stuff the romance community has seemed to want to clear out, which I definitely think to the betterment.