This is book two of the three-part series The Bride, which is being released rapid fire over the space of a month or so. If you like emotional roller coasters which give you all the pain, but sweetened with intelligence and oodles of frustration, read on, dear reader.
Ellie and Jake have now been married for over a year and a half. She’s finally turning eighteen (to his twenty-seven) and, according to their plan, they can now get divorced. She’s of age to hold her land in her own right without having to go into foster care. The marriage of convenience served its purpose.
However, the awful events at the end of book one mean the ranch is in financial troubles, and Ellie can’t afford to give Jake the inheritance her father left him – meaning they need to stay married until her mother’s insurance policy kicks in when Ellie’s twenty-one.
This is a strange place for them to be. They are highly attracted to one another, living together and they’re each other’s worlds. But Jake, being all honorable, knows Ellie’s feelings are likely based around him being the only person in her life, and her savior. He can’t believe her feelings real, so he won’t act on the kiss they shared. Despite really, really wanting to.
And do you know what? Despite the tragedy of it all, the arguments are perfect. I tore my hair out as I wanted them to settle into a loving relationship so badly. Instead they were being torn apart strip by strip, hurting each other just by existing.
Then Jake, trying to do the right thing, move on, and put their relationship clearly back in the ‘friends’ box, does something so dumb I wanted to strangle him. It involves him going back to dating other people and it was so very angry-making.
I was reading this at 2am, cos it’s so good, and I was curling around my pillow in horror at the wrenching emotions I had for this couple. Doyle *curses* wrecked me with her journey for Jake and Ellie. It hurt so bad, which I love so much, and I was seething.
This is when you know a writer is good.
This story, the characters whom I know so well, is simple in events and structure, but oh so complex in the emotional stakes. Ellie, with her self-awareness and verve, calling out the sexism she sees as a teenage girl in charge of a multi-million dollar ranch, loves handsome Jake desperately. Jake loves Ellie but he’s never told her so, and she can’t be sure if he’d ever let himself be in love with her. So neither admits it, as they can’t be sure in a few years’ time that it won’t turn to resentment. That it isn’t obligation-love, or attraction formed of proximity and genuine caring. Ellie has had so little other experience with guys, and Jake gave up his previous relationship and has been (apart from that one time Ellie teases him about often) celibate.
It’s unsustainable. Something has to give.
I loved it. Sadness, wretched ending and all. If I had to wait for book three, The Lover, I’d’ve gone mad, but luckily I don’t. Hopping onto it right now. If this couple don’t get ALL the happy endings, I’m going to cry.
Click to purchase: Amazon
by S. Doyle
Release Date: April 13, 2017