This was a mixed bag for me. So far I have loved every one of Shanora Williams book and I especially love the way she liked taboo romance with lot of feels and angst but she this time around I wasn't all that happy and satisfied by the book. This by no means is a bad book but it didn't live up to my expectations and it's courtesy of the ending rather the cliffhanger. Up until that point it was really good though it has it's minor flaws with the pacing but the ending really just put me off and left me disappointed.
It's hard for me to do this review without giving away spoilers, but I will try. The overall plot is interesting and is a spin on the taboo/cheating romance and that works. Gabby is a likeable character who is clearly not happy in her marriage and is trying her hardest to shrug it off as nothing and it's just the move to a new city and house. And also that her husband is always on business trips and is hardly home for a stretch. Fair enough reasons - bottom line she is not happy, feels she married too soon to a guy elder to her and her life not how she expected it to be. This is completely fine. People falling out of love and seeking something for themselves. Though not right by a moral standard (depending on how you seek a distraction and the approach you take), it's still acceptable and also understandable. We have Marcel on the other hand, with a tragic past, too scared to love anyone cause of the fear that he will end up losing them but also someone who is graviated towards someone he can't have - in this instance - a young, clearly unhappy, attractive married woman. He is the landscape architect she hires to work on her backyard and that's how they meet. Interesting setting, banters with and simmering attraction. For majority of the book, it's a slow burn romance with palpable sexual interest and underlining romance from both of them. We also have Kyle - Gabby's husband who by no means is a good husband. Someone who doesn't see his wife as his equal and treats her more like his property but for the most part doesn't come off as an asshole or a bad person. And there are certain instances that suggests he is actually trying to hard to appease has wife though he is clearly not the one she wants anyone. I found it a little jarring that her family and friend also didn't seem to have a good opinion about him thought no such extreme behavior was shown for me to have a similar opinion on him and Gabby herself kept saying that she loves him and that's also why she married him without any second thoughts. But still I don't despise her for getting attracted to another man and cheating on Kyle as she slowly but surely started to fall for Marcel. Marcel also seemed to genuinely like Gabby and had reason (based on see interaction with Kyle and more of a genetic opinion of such people) to believe that he is not right for her and she shouldn't be with him. Not clear black and white case and even with every character showing shades of grey, I still liked it. In fact, such flawed nature of the characters together with the taboo story is precisely was what I loved about it. Affair is wrong, and can't be justified and yet shows it shows flawed human nature and also gives readers taste of forbidden love and I really enjoyed it. I believed Marcel was good with Gabby and they made a nice pair. Even the writing was very smooth and there were a lot of smoky hot sex scenes that worked perfectly for these two.
But the ending (though not that surprising, but I kept hoping it wouldn't take this route) left a really bad taste in my mouth. It felt like the author was trying to justify bye actions of her own characters (maybe with a fear that readers will dislike them others) and tried to pain everything in true black and white colors, clearly painting one as an antagonist. That changes EVERYTHING and makes me question Gabby's every decision and slap some sense into her?! This was so not necessary and without this element, the story would remain one of my favorites! I mean even her brother's and her dad's story which were talked about and also had cheating instances seemed much more interesting and realistic to me. But this ending let me down in Soo many ways!! I would still read the second book for Marcel's sake...but this could have been so much better.
3.5 could be better stars.