This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Entangled, Indulgence
Released on April 1, 2013
I wasn’t sure how much I would like this when I requested it from NetGalley, but I tend to like seeing romances where a marriage is rekindled. It doesn’t have to be overly sexy, but I like to see real emotions tied to what life has thrown at a married couple.
Rory and Zoe Hughes were high school sweethearts who escaped their abusive young lives to make a go in Los Angeles. Sometimes never knowing if they will have enough to eat, the two had love and passion to keep them together. From strip poker to the best homemade gifts, they lived on their love and the hope that one day things would be better. While Zoe never like Los Angeles, she stuck with Rory out of love. Rory worked hard jobs in construction and worked his way up into owning a very successful business, but running that business became his mistress and eventually drove Zoe away.
Zoe now owns her own island resort for honeymooners a year after leaving Rory. Successful, she has “photoshopped” Rory into pictures that sell her love filled marriage, but it is all false. So when a magazine wants to feature her resort and to grab the couple for pictures and an interview, she realizes she has to call her husband and invite him to the island.
Rory has built his company up from nothing and is determined to take over the world, figuratively. He is call Ice Man and will gut even his own friends companies to never feel like he is poor again. But it came with the price of his wife leaving him. And how she leaves him is EPIC in my mind, giving back to him what he reaped. When he takes a call from Zoe, he knows he is bringing his wife back home and getting some much needed “good” publicity through the magazine to soften his rough edges.
But when Rory gets to the small Tonga island, he meets up with a different Zoe than who he thought he was married too. She has moved on with her life, finding peace and serenity she never had in LA. The quiet island provides her with friends who are family, couples in love and a purpose to her life she never felt with Rory once he started meeting his success. Now Rory isn’t so sure he is taking his wife home, a wife who has fallen out of love with the man he is.
Slowly we see them both change over the course of two weeks. The island is small and doesn’t have the comforts of a reliable phone and computer. Then a cyclone comes through, missing their island, but draws all available planes and yachts in for help, leaving Rory stuck on the island with no way home. Rory reluctantly, very reluctantly, comes to enjoy some of the peace the island and Zoe starts to fall in love with her husband again.
There is now easy way to overcome the feelings of a career taking your marriage away and making the other partner understand that money isn’t what you wanted. She wanted him. To love him. To be with him. And not to be just a blimp on the radar like his employees. She refuses to go back to that and he refuses to give it up.
There is a threat to Zoe from an islander who was beating his dog. Zoe beat him and took his dog, who lost her eye. The dog is named Cinderella and that grabbed my heart right away. But the previous owner comes after Zoe, causing some suspense since this guy is really not an upstanding citizen.
I loved how the author didn’t make this easy. They didn’t fall back in love easily, they didn’t even like each other in the beginning. They had to fight to get past all the misunderstanding to get to any kind of healing. I cried at one point, my throat was so thick. It doesn’t happen often, but when a book can make me cry, then I love it. It hit all the buttons in my mind that make it worth while to read.
So I recommend this for the character driven story. It is about two people so in love with each other, but unable to connect due to the choices they made in their live. It is about overcoming what is expected, feared and needed to find what they really want. I throughly enjoyed this book after a rough start, and appreciate that this is more than just a fantasy, it is close to real life (without owning a resort of course).