Review: The Lover by S. Doyle

Reviewed by Joanna

This is part three of Ellie and Jake’s story, so if you like young love, arranged marriage in a contemporary setting, ranches, sweet sexy times and heartache, go back and read my review of book one, The Bride, as this might contain spoilers for you. Then go read these books.

So, let’s catch up.

*Spoilers below*

Ellie and Jake got the big D at the end of book two. Divorce, that is. She’s heading off to college, leaving Jake in control of her land, and with the inheritance he needs to rebuild his own home. They are both heartbroken at the separation, but believe it’s for the best.

Ellie also asked Jake an interesting favor before she left – for him to be her first – something she’d wanted for a long time, but he couldn’t allow himself to consider while he was in a position of trust for her. So they finally did the deed and it was suitably epic for them both.

They still separate, and miserable without the other, try to make their lives work independently. Ellie wants a clean break and tells Jake he can date whoever he likes, and so can she.

But, college isn’t what she was expecting. Her classes don’t interest her, and are more basic than the work she was already doing to manage her multi-million dollar ranch. Homesickness kicks in big time, but Jake persuades her to stay despite his own more stoic wretchedness at the loss of her. Their loneliness got to me.

Ellie makes friends and settles down a little, but our hero and heroine can’t stay away from one another all that long (hurrah!), and the distance helps them make sense of things. Though not entirely. Honestly, Jake. He’s such a big lump head. His cowboy nature, all about the long game and quiet living, paired with the abandonment he’s suffered his whole life makes him slow off the love-mark.

Ellie realizes that she needs him to show her he needs her, that he genuinely wants her, if she’s to even think about going down that route again with him. It nearly broke her before, and she’d been the one doing all the running.

So, they date. That’s right, the divorced couple start over, and it’s sweet and lovely. They get to be joyous together and it made me so happy.

The strengths in Doyle’s writing lie in the character development, and in nailing the emotional journey. Jake is interested in two things: being a good man, and having sex. Plus bull semen, but let’s not go there. His meathead moments are forgivable and he’s very lovable. Ellie is a ray of sunshine – fun, determined, hardworking and she talks about things Jake absolutely doesn’t want to talk about – like feelings.  And sex.

“Do we even need condoms? We can do the other stuff. You know, try that… oh the number thing. Sixty-nine!”

“Ellie,” Jake barked. “Stop talking right now!”

“Because you’re imagining the number thing now, aren’t you?”

“Hell yes, I’m imagining the number thing, and riding a horse with an erection, despite what your romance novel education taught you, is not comfortable.”

They have another mishap on the road to their HEA. If you have sensitivities around negative pregnancy storylines, go ahead and read this spoiler.

Ellie gets accidentally knocked up, then miscarries at ten weeks. It isn’t too graphic but it is sad and they’re both broken up by their loss.

In the end, the HEA comes in spades. The three books culminate in all the happies, and my heart had a nice rest after a good emotional work out.

I enjoyed the emotional arcs they both experienced, and the trials were mighty. But when two people are family in the strongest (non-genetic) sense of the word, and can see each other afresh and fall in love, the reward is a relationship which is unbreakable. After everything Jake and Ellie went through, they earned it.

Rating: A

*ARC provided for review

Click to purchase: Amazon

The Lover
by S. Doyle
Release Date: April 20, 2017

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