Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Published on: April 24, 2017
POV: Dual first POV
Rating: 5 STARS
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Wow, what a fantastic love story! Before I Ever Met You is a complete standalone book by Karina Halle. This book is totally different from the most books I’ve read by this author and, hands down, one of the best books I’ve ever read so far. Before I explain in detail what I LOVED about this story, let me tell you what the story is about.
What is the story about?
Jackie Phillips is a twenty-five-year-old, single mother with a seven-year-old son who has just recently been back to her hometown in Vancouver after breaking up with her longtime boyfriend and the father of her son. As a young, single mother without a degree, she barely makes ends meet despite having been working two jobs. Determined to give her son a better life, she decides to get back to her hometown, Vancouver, and lives with her parents, even though it is the last thing she has ever wanted to do after what she had put them through in the past.
When her father offers her a job in his company as a personal assistant for his partner, Will McAllister, she jumps in and is determined to prove everyone, especially her parents, that she is a different person than the daughter they knew seven years ago and is capable of doing something great for herself and her son. It has never crossed her mind that working for Will McAllister will get her in trouble she won’t need after she lays eyes on him the first time in the office.
She knows that he is one of her parents’ best friend and already met him eight years ago when he came with his wife for a dinner with her parents in their house. She was just a teenager back then and had never paid attention to Will. Now, ten years later, in his father and Will’s office, she finally sees him differently. He has become a very handsome, successful, smart man who is too hard to ignore, and age has done nothing to him but great, and as much as she tries to ignore her feelings, she can’t deny that she is starting to fall for him as they spend more time together.
Will McAllister is a forty-one-year-old, divorced man. The divorce did break his heart but he tried to move on. Two years after splitting from his ex-wife and months after finalizing the divorce, he decided to move to Vancouver by leaving his office and old life in LA and started to work with his friend. The move has never been easy but he is starting to get used to. His new life is getting more interesting after having a new assistant, Jackie, his best friend and partner’s daughter. He is surprised to find out that she is completely different from what he remembers ten years ago. The teenager he once met has become a mature, beautiful, hard-working young woman.
What did I think about it?
This is one of the best slow-burn romances I’ve ever read. I loved that their romance was not in rushed. Everything was well thought and written from the moment they met, worked together, became friends, got to know each other, and eventually got in a romantic relationship. All these stages made me get to know them individually—their upbringings and traumatic pasts—and connect with them as their relationship progressed. I could feel their emotions—the struggles, guilt, fears, worries of the unknown, and love—relating to their pasts, the forbidden factors (the age difference and the fact that Will was her parents’ longtime friends). Their chemistry was fantastic; it was deeper than just physical attraction.
“How is that life can be so crazy, so chaotic, so scary. And yet one kiss from you and all that goes away.”
I loved that there was no unnecessary drama thrown in just to prolong the story, except the ones connected directly with the main characters. It didn’t mean it lacked drama and angst. It had the PERFECT amount of drama and angst that made my heart beat harder with anticipation I had rarely experienced before. There were no boring moments whatsoever! I always had problems with the stories that had too much drama and angst. They took away the focus of the story and disconnected me with the characters at times when not carefully and skillfully written.
I loved the hero. Will was one of the best heroes I’d ever read and the one I would always remember. He was a true gentlemen—determined, charming, patient, thoughtful, and an animal lover—which were the qualities I loved in my book heroes. He loved her son and I loved how he interacted with him. He respected and understood her like no other, and never gave up on her when life got between them. He also took responsibility for his part in his failed marriage and never trash-talked his ex-wife the entire story (he did but in a make-sense kind of way) which was the thing that made me fall even more in love with him. It was refreshing to read a story in which the ex was not mostly negatively portrayed in order to make the main characters look better.
“Love should be easy though.” I can barely hear my own voice. I stare at the patterns in the carpet, my eyes looping around them aimlessly.
“No,” he says, stepping closer and giving my hand another squeeze. “That’s not reality. Love just makes everything else in life easier to bear. It’s like having an army on your side. But love itself isn’t easy. Most people have to fight for it, they fight to keep it. Love is a war, and half the time you’re battling your own fucking self.”
The heroine was great. She was not a spoiled princess despite having had privileged upbringing and successful parents, and even though she’d had a rough teenage life, she learned from her mistakes, worked hard, refused to depend mostly on her parents, and tried her best to provide for her son. She was a strong young woman who tried to survive and be the best mother to her son. I felt for her and could not complain when she did what she did after what she had been through. I could see myself doing what she was doing if I were in her shoes. Moreover, she also had a great sense of humor. I loved their banters. 😀
He tilts his head back, looking down at me. “You mean to tell me that if you were at this bar right now and you saw me here sitting alone, you would come up to me?”
“Oh hell no,” I say, then grin at him. “You would have come up to me.”
Overall, Before I Ever Met You is one of the best books I’ve ever read that I highly recommend to those interested in sweet, beautiful, not overly angsty, perfectly paced, an emotional love story about two characters who want second chances in love and life. Their story–complete with the angst and drama–will make you FEEL the emotions you’ve never experienced before if you give it a chance. Go grab the book! 😀
”Tell me I have your heart. I won’t let it go, not for any moment, not for any reason. Tell me I have your heart and I’ll keep it next to my own.”