Netgalley blessings have really been rolling in lately and I am so grateful for the opportunity to read all of these new releases! Thanks to Carina for the opportunity to read One Last Chance by Therese Beharrie, my first by her even though I’ve been following and loving her on Twitter for at least a year. One Last Chance is out on February 17th! Thanks to Dafina Books (Kensington?) for the incredible opportunity to read A Cowboy to Remember by Rebekah Weatherspoon, which was absolutely incredible, and thanks to Harlequin for the opportunity to read Forbidden Promises by Synithia Williams, which was the soap opera in book form I didn’t know how desperately I needed. Both of these books are out on February 25th! Read on for more thoughts on each book!
One Last Chance by Therese Beharrie
I’m incredibly wary of spoiling the plot of this book for you because they way Beharrie tells this story is a sort of unfolding in a non-linear timeline, but if you really want spoilers, you can check my Instagram post about this book which I wrote right after reading the synopsis and before starting the book. Otherwise, I’m just going to tell you who you’ll meet and about all of the feelings this book put me through.
So, One Last Chance follows Zoey and Sawyer, who became best friends in high school, but haven’t spoken for two years. The book is told in alternating timelines of the past, beginning six or seven years ago when Zoey and Sawyer are fake dating and the present, where they run into each other at a charity event.
Second chance romance is a trope I really struggle with for multiple reasons, usually centered around forgiveness of the person who wronged the other. This book left me no room to not feel so deeply empathetic with Zoey, to not fully understand her decision to leave Sawyer, while also letting me feel the sense of betrayal Sawyer felt in the being left. These two beautiful characters love each other so much and you can feel that and you can see it. There’s a deep sense of loss that both of them feel because they haven’t been part of one another’s lives for a couple of years. In other words, what I’m telling you is that if you want to feel all the things, pick up THIS book. Oh, and this is another book that has that beautiful consent moment about how being scared to go further means you’ll just wait to take that step and it’s so cute and romantic and just, lovely. I want this moment in every book, tbh.
A Cowboy to Remember by Rebekah Weatherspoon
A Cowboy to Remember follows Evie, a television chef, who through a series of events (aka the most dramatic chapter one) winds up in a coma and wakes up with no real memory of who she is or who anyone else is. Her best friend, assistant, and agent band together to help her figure out what’s next but determine they need to call in reinforcements, which is how Zach Pleasant winds up back in Evie’s life.
The way the story unfolds is utterly brilliant because we know there was an EVENT that caused Zach and Evie to not speak for a decade and that it has something to do with Zach sort of rejecting Evie at a bad time because he was too dumb to recognize his feelings for what they were and to fight for them. But we only really see this from Zach’s perspective and he apologizes to Evie, but it’s easy for her to move past their past with no memory of it. This is not to say that their relationship, creating one again, is easy. It’s not. But the layers of emotion poured into this story after **spoiler alert** Evie’s memory comes back just… It hurts. It feels real.
In truth, amnesia tropes are weird and I hate deception plots of any kind. What I loved about the way the trope was handled in this book is that there is no real deception. Evie knows (is told) who Zach is and she has dreamt of Zach before he even arrives in NY so she knows he’s important to her and Zach admits that he’s the one who messed up. So there’s no deception, but there is the thing I love in all narrative arcs, which is a woman figuring out who she is and being loved through that process. Honestly, Rebekah Weatherspoon should give a masterclass in whatever magic she weaved into this story because I can’t even articulate for you how good this book is. It’s just… masterfully told.
Forbidden Promises by Synithia Williams
Y’all, this book is the dramatic soap opera in book form that you didn’t know you needed. The Robidoux’s are an extremely well-off family (tobacco farming or making? Both? Idk, details) in Jackson Falls and now Byron Robidoux is running for national office and his best friend is his sister’s ex-husband, Travis, who is also the man his other sister, India, has pretty much loved since she was a girl. And now, India is back in town and being asked to help with the campaign, which sees her partnered up with Travis.
This book is paced SO well. I was ABSORBED and really didn’t want to put the book down. I really loved the complex family relationships as well. Also, Synthia Williams dropped in sequel bait like a pro in this one. I’m especially excited for India’s sister’s book, but Byron’s is next and I’m really looking forward to that. Also, I adored this part:
“I want to make love to you. But not like this. I want to be one hundred percent sober when I finally get you in my bed.”
“Why is that?”
“Because, India Robidoux, you are worth savoring and I plan to enjoy every inch of your body.”
I do have a few things that really bothered me, mainly the fact that Travis had an abundance of time it seemed like while gearing up for a murder trial (but I talked to one of my co-workers and she says that in some places murder trials are actually quick. Out here they last like a month, minimum.) and the fact that there were too many comments about like earning food. I’m just not really here for that in 2020. But I am so excited about this series and I look forward to meeting Synthia Williams at Kiss Con!
So, there you have my thoughts on three really excellent books to pick up during Black History Month and honestly whenever you can make time to get to them. My favorite of the three was A Cowboy to Remember, but I can’t stop thinking about the other two either! So basically, you can’t go wrong with these three books. Are you planning to read any of these? Or have you already? If so, please share your thoughts!