Review: Black & White Flowers by Rachel Robinson (Real SEAL #1)


Note: This ARC was provided by TRSoR Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Carina Painter lived her childhood at the hands of a monster--her stepfather--and has endured being in an abusive relationship with her fiancé. When she accidentally bumps into Smith Eppington in a movie theater, they're both in similar points in their lives, both in relationships they feel they should remain in even though they should have already left, if they were being totally honest with themselves. Smith suffers from selective amnesia, brought about by injuries sustained while stationed in Iraq. He has no memories of his relationship with his fiancée but she's beautiful, kind, and caring and she has stood by his side throughout his recovery. When he offers himself up to Carina to be interviewed as the possible subject for a book she wants to write, the connection that he initially felt is strengthened. How could he feel so strongly about a woman he's only recently met yet can't stir up the same emotions when it comes to the woman he should be constantly thinking about? The book Carina is writing is fiction, and for a while, reality feels better than any romance novel. Until, that is, reality steps in and breaks hearts.

I've just finished reading Black & White Flowers, my first Rachel Robinson book and the beginning to the new Real SEAL series, and I'm feeling torn. For about half the book, I felt detached from the main characters, Navy SEAL Smith Eppington and writer and novelist Carina Painter. Maybe it was the pace or manner in which their relationship began, where it was as if they jumped into so many "milestones" (i.e. moving in, meeting one's family, etc.) in such a protracted amount of time that it felt a bit forced. And then, just when I was finally feeling ready to invest in Carina and Smith, something surprisingly catastrophic happens that leads to yet another shocking and cataclysmic event, one that was handled by Smith in such a cowardly manner. I say shocking and surprising because these two things felt as if they happened out of the blue and everything changed for both Carina and Smith and in the worst way possible. I had to actually take a minute at that point because I was honestly tempted to find some way to enter my e-reader and viciously assault Smith for what he did to Carina. Absolute asshattery!

Okay, this is me returning after a break because I wanted to gather my thoughts together for this last part of my review. Smith gave his reasons for doing what he did, but I'm sorry, there was nothing noble about it. Here I thought that he was such a great guy, sweet, honorable, and romantic. But nope. I changed my mind, and even though he may have redeemed himself with Carina much later on, he will forever be an asshat in my eyes. He had two women who loved him and yet he chose to belittle that love they had for them instead of cherishing whichever one he chose. But wait! Carina did a bit of her own jerky thing as well, and I honestly am still lost as to her motivations behind it. I admit that the bookstore thing was a grand gesture that would be difficult to turn your back on, but I think they should have talked things over before getting busy. Do you know who I was happy for? Two supporting characters who should have been together much earlier. They found their happily-ever-after and deserved it. I will give Smith a bonus point for the paper bouquet...but yeah, still an asshat. All things considered, Black & White Flowers was a read that felt like a roller coaster ride, both in a good and bad way, and gets 3.5 stars. ♥

Date Read: 04 November 2016

Learn more about Rachel Robinson.

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