Note: This ARC was provided by the author via L. Woods PR in exchange for an honest review.
"Who am I now?" he whispered, capturing her sea-green eyes with his.
"I don't know for sure," she murmured.
"I do," he said, using his free hand to cup her cheek. "I'm still your Erik. I'll always be your Erik. No matter what."
I've read three of Katy Regnery's already concluded series, and while I liked and enjoyed those, I confess that her ongoing a modern fairytale series is my favorite. While it began with what's probably the most popular fairy tale to be given a modern spin--Beauty and the Beast--the series has taken what I would consider more unconventional picks and Regnery has gone on to make those her own, giving fans and readers swoon-worthy tales that make you believe in happily-ever-afters after struggling and persevering through the trials and tribulations life and fate throw your way. Withe her fifth and latest endeavor, she's chosen The Little Mermaid, though more the Disneyfied version minus the singing sea creatures than the original Hans Christian Andersen masterpiece, and tells the story of Laire Cornish and Erik Rexford, two young people who fall in love over one summer only to separate and then their paths cross again more than seven years later, only this time, Laire's got a major secret she's kept from Erik.
When Laire Cornish and Erik Rexford meet, it's almost as if the only thing they share in common is the state they come from, North Carolina. She's the eighteen-year-old fisherman's daughter from Corey Island who dreams of going to the city to pursue her studies and he's the twenty-one-year-old Governor's son and college student from Buxton. They soon fall for each other, but vows made to a higher power and misinterpretations and miscommunication lead to them separating, with Laire never getting to tell Erik her life-altering news. Fast forward seven years and Laire is a designer with a New York-based fashion house and Erik is a lawyer with his father's firm. Fate brings them together in the same place, at the same time, but they're not the same people they once were. What is the same is the love that never seems to have gone away. It's remained intact all these years. But with secrets and unanswered questions strewn around them, will these two erstwhile lovers actually be able to reunite?
The title of this novel--Don't Speak--is rather apt considering Erik and Laire could have spared themselves a great deal of heartache had they actually spoken and listened to one another. There were assumptions made from both parties, though more on Laire's end than Erik's. She also had doubts stemming from the fact that she never really saw herself as someone worthy of being with the son of a governor. The love these two had was real and pure from the get-go, but jeez, did I dislike their respective families. While Laire's wasn't as manipulative as Erik's mother--his father was overly tolerant of her but basically a good enough guy and Erik's younger sister was his number one champion--the fact that her father and sisters didn't deem her to be someone they wanted to be around lest she cast some sort of pallor on whatever gleaming reputation they had in their community was far more disheartening. I expected better from Laire's father and sisters and well, they all ultimately disappointed me.
Their story is told in two parts, the first being when they met, fell in love, and then broke up, and the second taking place seven years later. There's also an interlude that has Laire penning journal entries addressed to Erik every Christmas for seven years, convinced that there were two Eriks: the boy she fell in love with that summer and the wealthy son of the governor. The story was paced well overall and I'm glad we had the interlude instead of some long, drawn-out period where the main characters are bemoaning what happened between them. That doesn't mean there isn't a lot of angst that goes on. With fate and family getting in the way of their romance, plus the fact that Laire has a secret she could have told him at any time but chose not to because of the rejection she felt, angst is going to be a given. Yet, it's not an overwhelming amount of angsty drama; merely enough to make my heart squeeze in empathy and have me cheering Laire and Erik on to a happy ending. Don't Speak garners five-plus stars. ♥
Read my reviews for the a modern fairytale series:
The Vixen and the Vet (book one) - five-plus stars - My Review
Never Let You Go (book two) - five-plus stars - My Review
Ginger's Heart (book three) - five-plus stars - My Review
Dark Sexy Knight (book four) - five-plus stars - My Review
Don't Speak (book five) - five-plus stars - My Review (posted above)