This book has been out a long time and I just couldn't seem to pull it together to review it. Not that I'm conflicted, it's a solid 3, but that it's annoying.
Basically this is the story of Tell and Georgia. They knew each other in high school when she was a cheerleader and he was a bit of a loser. Not a lot of money or sports participation and too smart for the redneck set so Tell tended to be less popular than the typical McKay. Georgia appeared popular but actually stood in the shadow of her domineering boyfriend whom she later married and divorced.
She and Tell meet again and sparks that never caught in high school finally start to fly. Great, right? Except that a lot of this is rehash of Brandt and Jessie's story. The essential problems are very similar as is the trope. Guy who's harbored feelings for a woman he thought was unreachable (but who actually has major insecurity issues) finally gets the prize after years and years of pining.
And the biggest distraction from both romances (Brandt/Jessie and Tell/Georgia) is the most compelling part of the story while being the most frustrating at the same time.
I'm talking about Caspar. Tell, Brandt and Dalton's father. He was a verbally abusive drunk until a few years before this story takes place and now he's a verbally abusive recovering alcoholic/bible thumper. No arc there. The relationship's basically the same.
But the really frustrating part to me is that Tell will say things about his dad usually being okay to be around, but then the only thing we see is Caspar being absolutely, no-holds-barred horrible. The only person worse than Caspar, IMO is Joan. Tell's mother. Yes, the poor, sainted Joan. In Brandt's book we found out that (background and rant follows) Joan had tricked Caspar into marriage by lying about being pregnant when she found out he was in love with someone else and wouldn't be coming to her for quickies anymore. Then, after he found out the truth but didn't leave her, she proceeded to stand by while he destroyed their kids' childhood in a bizarre, mean punishment on her. She enabled his abuse and continues even now with the "oh, woe is me!" when she never did anything to stop it. She finally leaves him, but not really for her sons who she threw to the dragon all those years, but for her grandchild out of town. So the sons have to take care of their drunken, abusive dad because their selfish, bitch mother thinks she's "earned" her freedom. Fuck. That. Shit.
So, to me, the only thing that interests me here is what's going to eventually happen with Caspar. Is he going to just die? *cough*copout*cough* Or is he going to change in a positive way? Will Joan's secrets ever be revealed to her sons? Another shitty thing she did was telling Jessie the truth of what she did to Caspar and making her promise not to tell Brandt. Selfish bitch. Terrible mother, terrible grandmother, horrible person. There's the potential for a major blow-up there, but I don't get the sense it's going to happen because these two don't seem to be considered main characters even as they take over the story line. Don't get me wrong, I do NOT want them getting back together, I just think there's a story there to be developed and it's languishing as a go-to device for male lead angst instead.
I guess I'm thinking about this story because Dalton's book is going to come out soon and I wonder if it's going to be another retread where Caspar is the hero's major issue and the only thing that changes by the end is that Dalton has a female he can obsess over rather than his wrecked childhood.
Back to this book, though. Do I love Tell? Definitely. I want to hug him and squeeze him. Georgia gave me more trouble, but I felt some real sympathy for her and when she gave in to her feelings for Tell I thought they were a very good match. Shoehorning cameos from far too many McKay's was a bit much, but a few of the encounters worked.
So … kind of a read that just laid there. I'm both anticipating and dreading Dalton's book. With only two books left in the series and the last few (with the exception of the most recent, Gone Country, which I liked) ranging from "meh" to seriously frustrating, I'm keeping my expectations pretty low.