I ended up not enjoying this book as much as I liked others as, I thought that it was cliché and not developed enough to handle the difficult topics that it wanted to.
The biggest issue I have with this book is how it deals with serious topics in a way that is, in my opinion, too romanticized. This begins with the synopsis, which advertises it as a sort of love triangle, to the inclusion of Atlas and the subplot involving him. The book does firmly establishes his behavior as abusive, I will give credit where it is due. I’ll be honest, I didn’t understand what drew them together as couple, even before the abuse is shown Ryle comes off as creepy and unlikable. Regardless, the exportation of domestic violence was important, and I’m sure that it helped many people better understand the cycle that many people are stuck in.
The events around it feel like a soap opera, especially with the character of Atlas. The entire concept of his character annoyed me. He’s a perfect person, always ready to come to Lily’s aid when she needs it, and despite not having seen her for six years, still loves her like he did when they were teenagers and doesn’t want to be with anyone else. I absolutely can’t stand this sort of characterization, as it’s incredibly shallow and unrealistic. The entire subplot with him was I thought that it took away from the seriousness of domestic violence, as it reads as more of a love triangle and he’s magically there when she needs him.
Lily’s relationship with her mother was an aspect that had the potential to be interesting and give the story more depth by exploring how they deal with the past and their similar experiences. However, it was skimmed over and only mentioned at a few points, and briefly addressed near the end. I personally would have liked for there to be a more serious exploration of it.
The writing was not impressive and slightly bad, in a few spots, it was outright awful, with cliché statements and names. I don’t know why people feel the need to use obscure names like Atlas and Ryle. Because really, how many people with that name in real life? However, it is pretty fast to read, this is the kind of book that doesn’t take more than a few hours to read.
Something small that bothered me, which in the grand scheme of things is irrelevant, but it still bothered me. It was the idea that donating to charity automatically makes you a good person. Lily actually asks Alyssa about this, who tells her that she does donate, and Lily feels reassured after hearing this. I thought this was ridiculous and you can obviously be a good person without doing this. I don’t want to be the eternal cynic, but donations are tax-deductible and that’s actually why some rich people donate. I’m not saying that’s what Alyssa was doing, but the idea was absurd.
I’m going to end by talking about the ending which… was also not my cup of tea. This is probably shocking to no one familiar with this genre of books, but yes, it is a traditional happily ever after. I found the ending too happy and too perfect given the events of the book, there should have been more depth and been more bittersweet. I also found it surprising that Ryle was allowed to interact with certain people, given past events.
Overall, this is not a book that I would recommend. It does try and discuss an important topic, but in my opinion it does not do so well and there are probably other books out there that do so in a better manner.
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.