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Tagged with "new adult"
REVIEW: Meant to Be Kept by Amelia Foster Tags: romance new adult contemporary review lauren amelia foster meant to be kept
Meant to Be Kept by Amelia Foster
- Review by Lauren of Romance Novels for the Beach
Whatís it About?
One night. One too many drinks. One mistake. Thatís all it took to derail my marriage. Now, all I can do is beg for a second chance. To try and redeem myself in a bid not to lose the love of my life. Iím determined to use every second, every moment I have to show my wife how much she means to meóto rebuild the trust I shattered. But the harder I try, the more I start to realize our marriage had fallen into a routine of complacency and misplaced priorities long before my indiscretion. Isabelle is a strong, passionate, beautiful womanóa wife who has sacrificed so much for me. I just hope itís not too late for us, and that Iíll be able to convince her that our love is meant to be kept.
First Impressions
Iím not going to sugar coat this one folks, this romance blew me away in the best way possible. Itís a beautiful, smart read which is focused around the concept of fighting for love. One of the main ways this book stopped me in my tracks was that it tackled all of the preconceived notions I thought Iíd have, and twisted them on their head. Prime example: our male lead, Tanner. Based on the synopsis and the first few pages, I was determined that I was not going to like this guy. We discover in the opening scene that during a guyís weekend away with his brother, he gets borderline black-out drunk and starts making out with a woman who isnít his wife. Gee, alcohol and cheating? What an absolute gem. I thought the author would have a hell of time trying to convince me that this guy was worth giving a second chance to. Lo and behold, simply by the end of the first chapter I found myself rooting for Tanner to succeed in winning back the trust of his wife, Isabelle. Thatís no easy feat ladies and gents, and yet it was done so effortlessly that it draws in your attention where you canít turn away until we get to ďThe EndĒ.
Totally Upfront
While we donít necessarily get the very best first impression of Tanner, it barely takes any time at all before we sympathize with the man, and hope against hope that Isabelle will be able to forgive him for a seemingly unforgivable transgression. There are a few key features that the author weaves in to get us to love Tanner. First and foremost, we must look at the transgression itself. Yes, in a drunken stupor he kissed another woman. Downright stupid. And yet, our opening scene presents us with a broken man who is fully aware of the error of his ways, and is filled with nothing but regret. At no point do we see him try to hide this from his wife, or lessen the gravity of his mistake. Instead we see him come home right away to admit to her what he did, and he vows that heíll do whatever he can to make it up to her. He even sets a deadline, begging that she find the strength within her to forgive him, allow him to prove how much he still wants her and only her by their next anniversary which is just 43 days away.
The second clever move on the part of the author was the use of flashbacks throughout the entirety of the novel. On the one hand these flashbacks help demonstrate that Tanner has always been a romantic, and that Isabelle was always meant to be his one and only. Even though this first chapter starts off with a rather negative portrayal of Tanner getting up close and personal with another woman, by the end we feel like weíve seen who the true Tanner is through a flashback, and itís far from a womanizing cheater. He has a soft and romantic side which has revolved around Isabelle since the first moment the two met. I for one was shocked that within this first chapter alone I could so quickly go from an initial determination of wanting to hate this guy, to recognizing by the end of it that he simply made a stupid mistake that he is fully willing to atone for.
Forgiveness
When Isabelle first hears the confession of how Tanner kissed someone else, she is understandably distraught. Even though weíre rooting for Tanner to succeed in all of his various romantic attempts to win back his wife, we can also sympathize with the difficulty she faces in letting him back into her life. At times you almost want to scream at her, ďHe obviously didnít mean to do it! He clearly loves you! Just forgive him already!Ē. But, letís be honest, that would simply be too easy, not to mention rather unrealistic.
Something that the author captures so brilliantly when it comes to Isabelle contemplating her relationship with Tanner is that it was never a question of love. Isabelle will always love him. Heís been her best friend and partner for 12 years, not to mention the father of her children. Itís not possible for her to fall out of love with him that quickly. No, instead we see that itís actually a question of trust. If she agrees to let him back into her life, sheíll obviously still love him, but will she ever be able to trust him as fully as she did before that disastrous weekend? If she canít, then is it really worth bringing him back into her life at all?
An Imperfect Marriage
In addition to utilizing flashbacks to show us the sweet side of Tannerís character, these flashbacks also serve a few other key purposes. First, they demonstrate that for the past three years or so Tanner and Isabelleís marriage hasnít been as idyllic as we the audience, or even Tanner himself, thought it to be. We see through so many flashbacks how Isabelle was always the light of Tannerís life, and he was devoted and committed to her in every way possible. We just assumed that this kiss with the other woman was the first and only indicator of how Tanner failed in an aspect of his marriage.
However, as the anniversary deadline approaches, and Tanner tries to think up various romantic dates to go on with Isabelle, he simultaneously realizes how his focus on work these last few years has created a certain distance between him and his family. The little things he used to do with them, such as movie nights, weekend breakfasts, etc. had fallen by the wayside. He was still a loving father and husband throughout that time, and his affection for Isabelle never wavered, but he canít help but acknowledge that he wasnít putting as much of an effort into his family as he did in the beginning. Itís a realization that I think would speak true to many couples out there. Just because youíve finally found your one true love doesnít mean you can stop demonstrating how much you love them.
Where Past Meets Present
Another important purpose of the continual use of flashbacks was that it brought Tanner and Isabelleís entire relationship full circle. By this point you might be getting tired of my repeated mention of these flashback scenes, but I think I can say with 100% confidence that never before have I seen a more brilliant and polished inclusion of flashbacks to tell a story in my life. And Iíve read a crap ton of books. Each and every chapter within the book is divided into two parts: past and present. The present always details the various ways that Tanner is attempting to win back the trust of his wife, and we then see how those attempts correspond to a certain moment from their past through the flashback scene.
At the start of the novel, the present scene involves Tanner admitting to Isabelle how he kissed another woman, while the scene in the past shows the initial moment when Tanner and Isabelle first met in college. Throughout the rest of the book the flashback moments move in a linear progression throughout Tanner and Isabelleís relationship from their first meeting to their first date, kiss, sexual encounter, meeting with the parents, living together, marriage, kids, etc. By the last chapter we see in the present that weíre at the final deadline of Tanner and Isabelleís anniversary, the moment when Isabelle must decide if sheís ready and willing to accept Tanner back into her life. And as for our flashback scene? By the end the flashbacks have taken us right up to the very moment when Tanner went away with his brother for the guyís weekend where the initial transgression first occurred at the beginning of the book. I meanÖWOW! The beauty of how everything came together full circle so seamlessly from start to finish cannot be overstated.
*An advanced reader copy of this book was provided for an honest review*
Series: I want this to be a series soooooo bad. I would 100% read a sequel involving one of Tannerís brothers.
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