The Rebel's Return by Victoria James
I can find that I am sometimes a little too judgemental when it comes to second chance romance stories and that is only because in real life I’m not one for going backwards, I am very much a believe that if something was big enough, important enough to split two people who were destined to be together apart in the first place going back can often be a step in the right direction. So with that twitching away at the back of my mind I picked up The Rebel’s Return not actually sure that I was going to be able to engage completely but I have spent time out in the naughty corner because this book deserved better than my initial reticence, it was a super romance, a tale that almost defied the time they spent apart and a relationship that was just biding its time so to speak.
Aidan has been out of town for years, a decade to be exact but now he is back and the pain of the past is accompanying him. With an ailing father to care for, he is back because he needs to be and had the flip of a coin gone the other way he would have never set foot in the town again, after all there is nothing much between him and his old man nowadays, except hostility but the responsibility is now firmly on his shoulders so he has saddled up and is doing what needs to be done. Just his luck though that one of the first people he bumps into is Natalia as she delivers his dad a meal.
Natalia has spent so long loathing Aidan since the day he broke her heart and skipped out of not only town but her life too. She still seethes with resentment for what she believes to have happened when they were together, but was his cheating the truth or was it a means to an end? Did he engineer their demise in an honourable attempt to ensure that she got the best, even if that wasn’t him?
I liked the fact the author was willing to give them both the opportunity to explore how being in close proximity made them feel. The fact that it was ok for Natalia to continue to feel the pain that had become almost rooted in her soul, she couldn’t just forgive and forget and nor should she because had Aiden been around, had he explained what was going through his head she wouldn’t have had to endure years of angst, so despite the fact he did what he did for the right reasons, reasons that even after ten years he wasn’t ready for her to know, he was still responsible for the pain that she continued to harbour and that played heavy on his conscience because Natalia was the woman that he had never forgotten, she had lived in his soul every minute of every day and now being back in town, being around her again he wasn’t willing to give up on a flicker that just maybe they could have what they lost all those years ago, what he threw away.
But could they? Would they be able to see past the hurt and the pain and would they be able to find a solid footing to build a new happiness, away from the memories that have tainted their lives for so long?
Well I didn’t think it was possible but I certainly hope so, this pair had so much to work through, so many doors that were closed to them that I wanted them to find an honesty, a purpose that they could share together, a path forward that was enough for them both and that would give them both a way to resolve the pain of their past.
But when Aiden drops to his knees at her cousin’s wedding reception and proposes, well the guy knock all my objections right out the park. He knew how much she hated having to be there, watching her cousin marry her ex was hardly the way she would have wanted to spend her day, so with hundreds of friends and family he took her breath away and showed her (and me) that he finally understood, he got who she was and was willing to do whatever it took to take away her sadness, he turned a day she would have rather forgot into one that she would always remember! That was a beautiful thing.
A solid read that was initially a slow burner, concentrating not exclusively but primarily on the emotion of the situation, there was more than enough emotion in the story to hold my attention and I found the characters really rather engaging, their situation was relatable and so was their response and I think if anything that is what I took from the story.
The author wrote and honesty read, one that gave me cause to think and consider…great work.
Topic: The Rebel's Return by Victoria James
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