*Enter to win books from Susan Elizabeth Phillips: Glitter Baby, Call Me Irresistible, and Heroes are my Weakness.
New York Times bestselling author Susan Elizabeth Phillips is back with a delightful novel filled with her sassy wit and dazzling charm
The dead of winter.
An isolated island off the coast of Maine.
A sinister house looming over the sea …
He’s a reclusive writer whose macabre imagination creates chilling horror novels. She’s a down-on-her-luck actress reduced to staging kids’ puppet shows. He knows a dozen ways to kill with his bare hands. She knows a dozen ways to kill with laughs.
But she’s not laughing now. When she was a teenager, he terrified her. Now they’re trapped together on a snowy island off the coast of Maine. Is he the villain she remembers or has he changed? Her head says no. Her heart says yes.
It’s going to be a long, hot winter.
Check out the full Chapter One HERE.
What worked for me?
I will admit that I was a little worried about how this book would turn out because Theo Harp was such an anti-hero in the beginning of the book. He might have been bordering villain territory even. But I was invested in finding out how Theo and Annie would work their issues out and I know I’m in good hands because SEP wrote it.
It was uniquely satisfying watching how things, certain truths and certain lies, unravel and come to light. Every layer of our characters are peeled away until what’s left is the best of who they are.
Theo is this villainous character, as Annie’s teenage memories did not wish for her to forget, who had been in the beginning a friend and then a first love but who turned completely 180 degrees and became a stranger and tormentor. Annie thinks she’s hit rock bottom. Having lost her mother to cancer, swimming in debts she incurred to sustain her mother’s lavish lifestyle and fulfill her wishes towards the end of her life, having been done with the two shi**y relationships she’d had, and recovering from pneumonia, her only ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ is a last message from her mother telling her to find the legacy in the cottage at Peregrine island to help her get back on her feet. The problem is, Theo has seemingly taken a holiday on the Harp House on the same island, writing or trying to write the manuscript as a follow up to his bestseller psychological thriller novel.
Now, if you aren’t interested in learning how the lives of these two re-collide given all these circumstances, I don’t know what else will.
SEP still delivers on her trademark humor and the development of a romance that makes sense in your head and in your heart. And I particularly would like to commend her for going in the direction of her book, tone-wise. It’s a little darker than her usual serving and I appreciate the risk she took developing this story.
What did not work for me?
There was this niggling disappointment in me when it came to a certain plot point, although minor in the scheme of things. I was a little put out on how it was resolved and how quickly. The bow ribbon on that particular box was just tied too perfectly.
I love Annie’s puppets. I genuinely really like them. At first they sort of crept me out but as you get to know them, their voices, you’ll fall for them too. My favorite, can you guess? Hint: Leo… 🙂 I love how they reveal some of Annie’s more hidden thoughts and I thought it would be weird for her to have all these ‘voices’ inside her head but I can understand it from the point of view of say a writer, who has all these characters come alive in his or her head.
My over-all take on it?
A refreshing read for SEP fans like me. A little out of my comfort zone when it comes to SEP’s books but I deeply appreciate the risk she took on this novel. I can’t wait for you guys to meet Theo and Annie.
Disclaimer: I received an eARC of this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. Yes, these are my honest and personal thoughts on this book.
About the Author:
Susan Elizabeth Phillips soars onto the New York Times bestseller list with every new publication. She’s the only four-time recipient of the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious Favorite Book of the Year Award. Susan delights fans by touching hearts as well as funny bones with her wonderfully whimsical and modern fairy tales. A resident of the Chicago suburbs, she is also a wife, and mother of two grown sons.
Connect with Susan Elizabeth Phillips:
Enter to win books from Susan Elizabeth Phillips: Glitter Baby, Call Me Irresistible, and Heroes are my Weakness.