Review: Dirty English by Ilsa Madden-Mills (English #1)

This English series starter was deliciously dirty but also downright deep in drama and angst with hints of humor to lighten things up now and again. Dirty English is my first foray into author Ilsa Madden-Mills's writing and I was actually with this initial reading experience. She's come up with two main characters, twenty-one-year-old Declan Blay and twenty-year-old Elizabeth Bennett, who went through a period of darkness in their young lives and even though they're making strides in terms of moving forward, the darkness still lingers, with Declan engaging in underground fighting and Elizabeth hooking up with random one-night stands. They both have strained relationships with their only living parent but find support in others—Declan with his twin Dax and Elizabeth with her two closest friends, Shelley and Blake.

Two years ago, Elizabeth believed in fanciful things like love and trust, but all it took was one traumatizing event to leave her jaded and wary. She no longer believes in falling in love and only goes for one-time hook-ups with men she considers safe. She has her rules and they've kept her safe. Her life has changed and even though she's now in Raleigh, memories of what happened in her hometown of Petal still haunt her at times. But she knows better now. No guy will ever abuse her trust again because she'll never allow any guy to get close enough to even try. Then she meets her new neighbor and Declan Blay, with his British accent, muscle-bound body, and tattoos, whips within her feelings that make her both want to run in the opposite direction and to remain longer in his presence. Can he change her mind—and heart—about love?

That prologue had my heart in knots and I knew that this was going to be more than the usual love story. Elizabeth and Declan are both broken in their own ways and while they may seem to be adverse to leaning on anyone for help, meeting each other turns the doorknob and leaves the door ajar for either one of them to cross the threshold and mean more to each other than anyone else has in a long time. Elizabeth is skittish but it takes someone like Declan, who knows how to make her feel comfortable enough to let go and lose control while also knowing when she needs to maintain that need for control, to re-establish the knowledge that not all men are the same. The pacing of the story was perfect and the development of their relationship just right, especially with both their pasts. Dirty English was a great read and it gets 4.5 stars. ♥

Date Read: 14 July 2016

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