When she was four, Olivia McBride found her father leaning over her mother’s mutilated body, covered in her blood, and ran in fear. She’s been running ever since, burying the memories, locking them away as she was taught by her overprotective grandmother.
Now, twenty years later, it seems running, hiding and burying of memories will come to an end. Her father has reached out of prison, contacting the only man Olivia has ever loved, the second man, after the one who sired her, to break her heart.
Noah Brady is a true-crime author, but writing the book about this particular murder isn’t just a job. It’s a calling. As son of the lead detective on the case, the murder, and the image of a distraught four-year-old girl, have stayed with him, and he knows he not only has to tell the story from all points of view, he needs to.
But neither Noah nor Olivia are prepared for the can of worms digging into the past might open.
“When you run away it comes after you, Liv. And it always catches up.”
If this book teaches any kind of lesson, it’s this. That there’s no point in running or hiding, the past (or anything for that matter) will eventually catch up to you. And the more you bottle it all up, the worse it will be. In this case, the combination of buried memories due to trauma, and the bubble she lived in afterward thanks to her grandmother, the bottling up turned the heroine into a bitch.
There’s no beating around the bush, here, she was a bitch. She got better, eventually, but the scenes I most remember her in are those in which she lashed out at Noah about and for everything. And he, the hero that he was, took it, took everything, and then came back for seconds.
It was this dynamic that ruined the “romantic” aspect of the book, because I didn’t feel the romance. Attraction, yes, passion, maybe, but it was all rather cold, without much emotion (except anger), dispassionate, and detached.
What I loved about the story were the descriptions of nature, the forest, meadows, flowers, fauna, bringing with them a strange feeling of peace and contentment, a welcome respite from the aforementioned tumultuous “relationship”.
I also loved the suspense, with the scenes delving into the past, flashbacks, and, most of all, the ominous feel as the climax approached. I knew almost immediately things were not as they seemed with the murder (a gut feeling, like with Frank), and soon after suspected how things truly were. And I wasn’t wrong. Although the truth was revealed almost at the end, and I knew what was what by then, I wasn’t disappointed with the finale.
Yes, it was predictable, but still written well enough to keep the suspense going, and yes, tug at a heartstring or two, when the bitter-sweetness of it all hit.