“You’re going to look in the mirror at the seventeen-year-old girl in a fifty-year-old body and realize you wasted so much time being devastated at how those fuckers didn’t love you that you forgot there’s an entire world of people who will.”
Rating: 2/5 stars
Tiernan de Haas doesn’t care about anything anymore. The only child of a film producer and his starlet wife, she’s grown up with wealth and privilege but not love or guidance. Shipped off to boarding schools from an early age, it was still impossible to escape the loneliness and carve out a life of her own. The shadow of her parents’ fame followed her everywhere.
And when they suddenly pass away, she knows she should be devastated. But has anything really changed? She’s always been alone, hasn’t she?
Jake Van der Berg, her father’s stepbrother and her only living relative, assumes guardianship of Tiernan who is still two months shy of eighteen. Sent to live with him and his two sons, Noah and Kaleb, in the mountains of Colorado, Tiernan soon learns that these men now have a say in what she chooses to care and not care about anymore. As the three of them take her under their wing, teach her to work and survive in the remote woods far away from the rest of the world, she slowly finds her place among them.
And as a part of them.
She also realizes that lines blur and rules become easy to break when no one else is watching.
One of them has her.
The other one wants her.
He’s going to keep her.
*This review contains spoilers so please read at your own risk if you have not read the book
Here’s the thing, there are not many times, if ever, a book can render me completely speechless…until now. Whenever I see Penelope Douglas is coming out with a new book I don’t ask questions it’s just goes straight on my TBR and I’ll drop everything on release day to read the book without fail. So obviously, I was beyond excited to kick of 2020 with a new book from my all time favorite romance author. If you haven’t read any of the author’s books let me just say that she is the QUEEN of tension and writing excellent enemies to lovers stories with the hottest smut. I’d just recommend sticking to her other books. I needed a day or two to sit on this, collect my thoughts, and be able to write something other than “this is filthy and not in a good way”. Now that I’ve done that please bear with me because I actually have a lot to say.
There’s really a lot of things that didn’t work for me in this one so let’s begin with my biggest issue. I like to think I’m a very open-minded person, meaning there is little to nothing that bothers me, however, the family dynamics (shall we say?) were an absolute hard NO for me. Tiernan is sent to live with her uncle – who isn’t really her uncle because we have to add that loophole – and his sons in the mountains after her parents kill themselves. She’s living with them until she turns eighteen in a few weeks – another loophole – and then can figure out what she wants to do with her life. Does she want to stay with her new family, go back home, or go to college? Sounds simple enough, right? WRONG. Tiernan is basically sent off to live with a bunch of big macho mountain men, who, let’s call it like we see it, are territorial pigs and basically start running a train on her the second she gets there. Which now leads us to my next problem.
I am all for an age gap romance when it’s done right and I’m not shy to it in any means since at Tiernan’s age I was dating someone almost six years older than me, however, this pushed the limit. Tiernan hooking up with her uncle first and sons next was just wrong on so many fundamental levels, but the fact that her “uncle”, who is probably well over his thirties if one of his sons is in his twenties, acknowledged that Tiernan is emotionally damaged and needs to find herself therefore them hooking up is not a good idea only to take her virginity is MADDENING. But it’s fine guys, because she’s eighteen now, and all your childhood trauma just disappears once you become an adult. That’s 1000% sarcasm if you didn’t get it. Then after Tiernan loses her virginity to good ol’ Uncle Jake it’s full speed ahead and time to have a threesome with the brothers. And you know, threesomes absolutely do not bother me in books, but there’s just something about fucking brothers at the same time that just doesn’t sit well with me. I just feel like Tiernan’s biggest issue of letting people in and understanding she deserves to be loved despite not being loved by her parents didn’t need to be this eye opening experience that could only have been found by having sex with a dad and his kids. Like, that ain’t it.
Everyone in this book is so emotionally damaged that it just doesn’t work. Tiernan, Jake, Noah, and Kaleb are all hauling around so much baggage for the majority of this book and somehow everyone just thinks having sex with each other is going to make that better or put off the inevitable of them growing as characters. It’s just waaaaay too messy for me. Not to mention the fact that since everyone had trouble keeping it in their pants from the get go the tension was so lacking in this book compared to the author’s other books. Some other problems I had with this were the dubious consent issues, not understanding what the word stop means, and when Kaleb spit on Tiernan in a nonsexual, degrading type of way. No ma’am not today. There are also some other parts that just feel so unnecessary to the story and add to the “what the fuck am I reading right now” feeling I had for 95% of this book.
The ONLY, and when I say only I really mean it, thing that worked for me was the setting. I love winter and would gladly pack up my life and move to Colorado in one second so that worked out nicely for me, but that’s about it. Also this does have a HEA but happy endings piss me off for some reason, and after this I mean I don’t know how happy of a life you can live knowing you fucked your entire family, so yeah that’s that on that.
All in all, am I still going to buy and read every book Penelope Douglas writes? Absolutely. Would I recommend this book? Not a chance in hell.
tw: suicide, dubious consent, violence, negligence of a child
Until next time,