I initially had a problem with the age gap in between the characters in this story that’s why I really delayed starting this duology. Thank heavens that I actually ended up liking it more than I expected. I can already warn you that these books are quite heavily emotional, especially the second book, but I think all those emotions make these all the more beautiful romance novels.
A friendship between the lost and lonely Caroline, and the unhappy Sebastian, leads to an illicit love that threatens them both.
Caroline Wilson is trapped in a cold and loveless marriage with an older man. When her husband finally wins a long sought-after promotion, Caroline feels she has little choice but to follow him to a new home in San Diego. There she meets Sebastian, a young man of 17.
For an all too brief summer, their happiness blooms.
But external pressures begin to bear down, not least from the overbearing David, and Sebastian’s parents begin to suspect that their son has a secret. Even Caroline’s new friend, Donna, realises that dark passions exist below the serene surface.
Overall Rating: 4/5 — A must-read for romance novel lovers but I had some issues with the actual illicit affair and the main female character.
Wow this was hard to rate for me, primarily because all the time while I was reading this one, a small voice in my head can’t stop saying, “This is wrong, this is wrong, this is wrong.” And was it just me or was there an overabundance of dialogues that ended with an exclamation point? Hmmm.
So what made me give it a shining 3.5-4 stars? It would probably be due to the narration and flow of the story. Yes, Caroline’s victimized attitude and voice did quite get annoying at times, but I guess I’ve encountered worse heroines in other stories. I did manage to let go of my judgments and the taboos surrounding their relationship, that I was able to finally be more comfortable with their somewhat illicit affair and how they fell in-love and discovered what it’s like to really feel alive. At the root of it all, it was a beautiful love story of two people who are very much at breaking points in their lives and finding solace and love with each other.
The ending didn’t come as much of a surprise to me. I was actually looking forward to it and it was just a matter of when and how they were going to get busted. But having that knowledge didn’t make the situation any less harder. I think more than anything, it was Sebastian’s honesty and raw feelings that really got to me. Looking forward to how things will work for them in the next book!
Ten years after their broken affair, Sebastian and Caroline meet again: this time in very different circumstances, against the background of the war in Afghanistan.
Now a successful journalist, Caroline meets Chief Sebastian Hunter, US Marine. Will this chance encounter rekindle the erotic madness of her passionate affair with a younger man?
Overall Rating: 5/5 — Definite must-read! So much depth and substance compared to the first book.
Uhm what did I just read??? Talk about a complete turnaround! It was like I read two different stories in this one novel. The events in this story were such a far cry from the small world where the story revolved in the first one. I can’t even begin to describe all the new feelings I encountered when I read this. But I mean that in the most positive way.
So the story picked up a decade after that tragic ending in the first book and both Sebastian and Caroline have come a long way from who they used to be ten years ago. I really liked how things panned out for them when they first met again. I knew it would be a rocky start for them but since their attraction and love was just so undeniable and unwavering, it would be just a matter of when and how they’ll finally give in to each other once again. And man oh man, it was as if no time passed between them when they finally ignited their passion for each other again…it was that hot. I really felt so bad for Sebastian for the pain that he felt upon seeing Caroline again and I really wanted to shake her a bit for not understanding where he was coming from. Even though he was still clearly just as in love with her as he was a decade ago, I commend him for making her see the fact that she didn’t try hard enough and how much it hurt him. But then when they finally got over that shit, their relationship just blossomed and flourished so beautifully. Their roadtrip was like a dream and was the perfect reunion for them, which they so thoroughly deserved.
And then there’s Afghanistan. I swear, their little sweet rendezvous in Italy felt like a dream when they were suddenly thrust together in that dangerous world. I really have to praise the author for painting quite a vivid imagery of what it’s like there that I really felt the tension and danger surrounding them. I looked forward to their stolen moments inside Caroline’s little space because it was like their much-needed escape from the dangerous world right outside of the door. I was really nervous for them and when shit finally happened, I cried so much because of the pain. And gawd, Sebastian’s letter just tore my heart into little broken pieces. These two just couldn’t catch a break because just when I thought things would finally get better, then comes the PTSD stuff that really took its toll on their relationship. I guess this was the time that Caroline had finally proven her unconditional love for Sebastian because of course, they managed to pull through that great ordeal. Again, it was a rocky road to their happy ever after but it was very much worth it.
I couldn’t even begin to describe how much I love this second book. I thought that this would just be some short and sweet story about their reunion but it was so much more than that. I was kinda hoping for a much more elaborate epilogue, perhaps a view into their married and family life but I’ll take what I can get. I just couldn’t be happier that they finally found the much-deserved beginning to their sempre e per sempre.
P.S. I still think that there was an excessive use of exclamation points in this series but I’ll just let it pass because the story and narration was so much better.