Review: Where I Belong by M O’Keefe

Reviewed by Joanna

This is the second part of The Debt series, and is not standalone. If you like your love awash with all the feels, go read my review of book one Lost Without You. Better still, go grab the prologue (review here) for free and see if you like the writing.

We good? Okay, so we left off with Tommy and Beth on the run. They’ve stopped for gas and food, but in the café Beth realizes the news channels are running an appeal from her evil mother, saying Beth needed to be brought back to psychiatric care. Everyone is looking her—Tommy too—so she flees back to the car. In the meantime Tommy is set upon by two gangsters lurking in the men’s room. Bates sent them as Tommy hadn’t delivered on his debt repayment, which was Beth’s delivery to her evil mother.

Tommy manages to fight the men off (I did not think this would be the result, except he is a huge Viking-type, so good for him) and he and Beth escape again. Now they are clear on the consequences of Tommy’s actions, so need to hide somewhere remote.

Beth takes them to a place she found as a teenager when she ran away from her mother before. But taking Tommy there is a form of betrayal, and she knows the tentative and shaky bind between them is at risk.

So let me start by extolling the virtues of the writing. I find O’Keefe’s work to be immersive, with scenes I can walk around in, with the emotions nailing me to the woodwork. I felt hopeless reading this series, as well as angry, scared, happy and elated. I badly wanted this poor mistreated and abused pair to be able to make it work, but so much is against them. Most of all themselves. How do you love if you were never taught? Tommy and Beth loved each other for the three brief months they were at the St Jokes’ children’s home, but that was seven years ago. They are so damaged and everything they do just seems to make it worse.

In book one, Tommy told Beth he was still a virgin, and we knew the reason was he never wanted anyone other than her. The big man had been stuck in life, not moving forward.

They have an awful lot of sex to make up for it.

I liked the serialization method of publishing this – three pieces in quick succession. However, on reflection, it felt like one novel, and I’d rather have read this as one book. There were a couple of places in this segment that felt padded, like it was being forced to be a whole piece in its own right. If it’d carried right on from the last segment, possibly the pace wouldn’t have been lost.

But this was a minor point. The atmosphere was beautiful, the characters distinct, and the love rolled into a lovely, if scant, HEA.

It looks like Simon, friend and children’s home survivor, will get his story next. I wonder if we’ll get one for Bates-the scary guy behind the scenes. Him and Carissa, another survivor, have some form of relationship and I’m interested in understanding them better.

Rating: B+

Click to purchase: Amazon

Where I Belong
by Molly O’Keefe
Release Date: June 26, 2017

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