Note: This ARC was provided by the author via Enticing Journey Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.
When Dawn Breaks is the spin-off standalone to Where the Night Ends, both written by Melissa Toppen. If the latter was a second-chance romance that transitioned from young adult (YA) to new adult (NA) in the last quarter or so of the novel, the former is a friends-to-lovers new adult (NA) story, one involving Anthony Treadway and Bree Kingsley, best friends of Sebastian Baxter and Tessa Wilson from the original book. Ant and Bree's friendship existed not just because of Sebastian and Tess, but also because of Courtney (whose last name I can't recall, although I'm also not entirely sure if it was mentioned in either book), who just happens to be Bree's other best friend AND Ant's ex-girlfriend in high school. Bree harbored a crush on Ant back then, but what she didn't know was that Ant had feelings for Bree as well--strong enough that it led to Ant ending his relationship with Courtney.
When Bree and Ant see each other again, five years have passed and it's at the cusp of their best friends, Tess and Sebastian, reconciling and choosing to move forward with their relationship. Ant has moved from Boston to California, trying to find his footing in this new place in hopes of starting over. Bree fled from their hometown of Rockfield in Connecticut after learning she was pregnant at sixteen and to get away from her abusive ex-boyfriend as well as her alcoholic mother. Now twenty-three and twenty-two, respectively, Ant and Bree rekindle their friendship and forge an even closer kinship to each other. Ant's taken more than a liking to Bree's son, Jackson, but his feelings for Bree are far deeper, and Bree can't seem to stop herself from falling for Ant. But the last thing either Ant or Bree want to do is hurt Courtney, but are they willing to sacrifice their love in the name of friendship?
I really quite liked Where the Night Ends, but I absolutely LOVED When Dawn Breaks. Ant and Bree's love story was both heartrending and hopeful, but their individual back stories and how far they've come from where they once were when they were still living at home in Rockfield was inspiring. I love that Bree didn't wait for some knight in shining armor to rescue her. She was determined to do and be better, especially for her son. And as for Ant? Sigh. The guy was simply someone who deserved to have better than he once had. He had me from the moment he made his way to Bree outside of the apartment building Sebastian's place was at. And hello, how could anyone resist the world's best swing pusher, right? Two out of the three best friends have found their happily-ever-after, and I'm hoping Courtney gets hers sooner rather than later as well! When Dawn Break garners five out of five stars. ♥
Date Read: 11 November 2017
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