Published by: CreateSpace
Release date: 24th June 2013
I got it from: NetGalley
One kind deed can change your life forever...
Tomlin could never afford to follow her heart. But when she sees a
stranger shivering in the snow outside of the college library, an
inexplicable urge leads her to buy him a hot cup of coffee. It's just a
small act of kindness, a few words of conversation. Brynn should be
focusing on her finals, after all, not on the man who looked up at her
gratefully with piercing blue eyes.
He could have been anyone - a
janitor on break, a graduate student, a bum. But the man standing
outside in the cold turns out to be Dr. Eliot Herceg, one of the most
brilliant minds in mathematics and heir to a fortune. After years of
reclusive isolation, he now finds his heart awakening to the kind girl
whose name he does not know.
Brynn has spent her life trying to
forget her desires, and Eliot's deep wounds have taken nearly a decade
to heal. After so much hurt, will either of them be able to open their
I found this to be a really beautiful story. I wasn't sure if I'd like it before I started, as I'm not sure I like the idea of student/teacher relationships, but I decided as this is NA and the student is older, it's not so bad. So I gave it a chance, and I'm so glad I did.
Brynn is a really good character. She's had tragedy in her past, she's kind of poor, but she doesn't dwell on all that too much. She is incredibly intelligent and she adores math(s) (I don't get why Americans remove the s). I loved the way she gets so excited about it, how she lives to solve these ridiculously hard problems and gets so much enjoyment out of it. Me and numbers don't have that kind of relationship, but the way Brynn was written made me feel like she was a friend who I totally get and love. She's a little naive, and doesn't have enough confidence in herself, but she's a sweet, smart girl and very likeable. You want her to get the happy ever after.
When Brynn meets Eliot she feels an instant connection, unlike anything she's felt before. The girl is a late bloomer, not having had a relationship before. She's fancied boys, but she's never felt anything like what she feels when she's around Eliot. She doesn't really understand it to start with. Okay, so I found Brynn a little too naive at times - can you really get that far in life without feeling desire? But I can overlook that, and concentrate on the great energy between her and Eliot. Neither of them realises who the other is to start - Brynn doesn't know he's a math(s) professor, and Eliot doesn't know she's a top student, in with a chance at his internship. They're neither of them whole or healthy inside, and each of them has their own reasons for avoiding getting close to someone. They can't deny the electricity they feel though, so we see this awkward little 'I-like-you-but-I-don't-want-to' dance. It's sweet.
Both Brynn and Eliot have built pretty big walls around themselves, and as the book goes on we see those walls start to crumble slightly, but it takes something pretty big to pull them down altogether. In the mean-time we're left with a bit of will-they/won't-they. Rose hits the fine line before going over it though - there's not quite too much back-and-forth. Eliot is the real problem. He's older, and his hurt is more personal. He's very stubborn with himself, he doesn't believe he deserves to find love and happiness again, so he really shuts Brynn out. Every now and then though, he can't help himself, so the poor girl is left dangling, not knowing what he wants. Although that frustrated me a little, I couldn't help but fall for Eliot...
Eliot is older than Brynn. I don't think we ever actually hear his age, but he's definitely a bit different to your usual NA hero. He's an intellectual, he's loved and lost, he's kind of broken and he has an air of mystery that draws you in. When he meets Brynn something inside of him starts to open up. He fights it all the way, because he's a good guy and he doesn't think a student/teacher relationship is right.
Rose treats us to just the right amount of back-story. Sometimes I get bored of reading about a character's past, but the lives that Rose has created, and the way she reveals them, was just right. Everything fits together perfectly in this book - the characters, the plotline, the history, the locations. I love that Eliot is Hungarian and half the book is based in Budapest - this makes such a nice change from the usual US campus, and it's such a romantic city to imagine.
A note on the ending - you know how fussy I am! The end of this book is fine. No problem there. What I do have a problem with, is the fact that there's a sequel, which we're treated to a preview of at the end of this book. I didn't like that. I want my happy-ever-after, I want fairytale romance and escapism. I don't want to know all about how relationships aren't plain-sailing and easy to maintain. That's just a bit too real for me. So I personally won't be going for the next book, but that's just me.