The Girl that Love Forgot by Jennie Lucas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I'll be the first to tell you I can't stand womanizers. So I had to get past that off-putting aspect of Stefano's character, and the fact that he set out to cold-bloodedly seduce Annabelle just because she was a 'new woman', one who he hadn't slept with. Ick! I think the execution was well done here, but the message that because Stefano was so good at knowing what women wanted sexually, he was the one who could open Annabelle's heart. I don't think this is necessarily the case. A man who met her emotional needs what was Annabelle needed. It wasn't about sex, as he finds out. Yes, they have explosive chemistry between them, but being 'good in bed' would never be enough for a woman like Annabelle. She had deeper emotional needs that she was starved for fundamentally. I think that Stefano learned along the way that while he had believed that Annabelle was the fearful one, he was too in a different way. He was happy to spend a night with a woman but walk away, but no deeper emotional or intellectual engagement than that. I like the fact that Annabelle challenged him to be about more in his interaction with her. Even as he challenged her to truly live and connect with the world, not just behind the lens of one of her cameras. She wasn't just another conquest. She was 'the one.' Of course, he had to almost lose her to find that out.
A huge strength of this book was the view of life on a Spanish horse-breeding farm. This made Stefano a more likable hero to me. His deep love and knowledge of horses, and his desire to help others and give of himself generously to make their lives better. It was almost incongruous with his callous attitude towards women, in fact. His reasons for being that way with women so didn't necessarily ring true, but the fact that he felt Annabelle was the real coward when he was just as much definitely created a sense of irony in this book.
Annabelle was one of my favorite Wolfes from the beginning, so it was great to see a book solely focused on her. After reading her book, she is still one of my favorites. She was in a state of suspended animation due to her very traumatic past. I loved seeing her grow as a person, come out of her shell, and realize that she was capable of loving and being loved. The only regret I have is that I didn't get to see her interact with her brothers, other than a quick phone call with Jacob. I am hoping that in Jacob's book we will finally see all the siblings together, bonding, since that is one of the reasons I love this series.
I'm kind of sad that I only have one book left in this series, but excited that Jacob's long-awaited book is up next. Stay tuned!
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