I have to admit—I loved this book! There are a ton of books out there and there are a lot of good books. But you don’t instantly connect with every character. I instantly connected with both of these characters—Annie McKay and Dylan Daniels.
What’s so different about them?
Well, it’s not their backgrounds.
We’ve all read the story about the heroine that was in an abusive relationship before she meets the hero. It could be mental abuse. Physical abuse. Sexual abuse. Emotional abuse. Sometimes a combination. Each has its own repercussions in life—combined can definitely be a bigger nightmare. This flaw in the heroine is not uncommon—and sadly, it is not uncommon in real life either—which is why so many female readers can relate to these heroines. One of things that makes Annie a strong and unique heroine is not just her survival—because she not only survives, but she escapes the abusive relationship—but the fact that she allows herself the opportunity to get to know who she really is. Women in abusive relationships lose their identity—what makes them who they are. They either hide those elements or have never had the chance to find them out. Timid and quiet Annie is not really who she wants to be, and she knows that. But she also doesn’t know how to be anyone else. In comes, Dylan Daniels.
And we’ve all read about the damaged hero—whether it was his family life, his life choices or a combination. We know the hero that will never settle down. Keeps his distance from any woman for anything other than sex. It’s one of the traits we romance readers almost require. We love the angsty hero because we want the heroine to change his mind. We like to watch him struggle. Dylan is no different. But what is sort of unique about Dylan is that we don’t know all of his faux paus right away. We learn as Ms. O’Keefe weaves more and more of the story. We learn why he hides on the mountain—why he lives a life of semi-seclusion—why someone as innocent and shy as Annie scares him, yet he cant’ stay away.
So, what’s different about this relationship? The way this relationship develops—plain and simple. These two are not instantly attracted to each other as they see each other across a room. They don’t cross paths at work or in a club or at an event. They meet when Annie answers a phone left behind in the trailer she’s renting. And most of their relationship develops over these phone conversations.
I know you’re thinking… WHAT? How is that amazing? How is that hot? I don’t want to give away the whole story and everything that happens. But Ms. O’Keefe crafted a unique story for these two—and the secondary characters—Kevin, Ben, Joan, Tiffany, Margaret, Max etc. From a character standpoint, they are flushed out, well-developed–REAL. From a story perspective, it’s fresh, fun and very sexy. I’d highly recommend this read. And I look forward to reading its sequel!
Well done, Ms. O’Keefe! Well done! 4.5 Silver Buckles
Playlist for Everything I Left Unsaid…
Florence and The Machine – What Kind Of Man.
And with one kiss You inspired a fire of devotion That lasted for twenty years What kind of man loves like this?
The music of Florence and The Machine is like my spirit animal. I wish I could write something so perfectly sexy and broken and personal and smart, popular and totally outside the box at the same time. I love love love this music. And this song fits Annie’s utter dumbstruck and perhaps ill-fated fascination with the man on the other end of the phone…
July Talk – Summer Dress
Yea but this is life we’re living Life ain’t always ’bout forgiving She’s my lady in a summer dress This is life we’re living Life ain’t always bout forgiving
July Talk is my new obsession at the moment. They are a Canadian band with a really signature sound. Lots of songs of anger and devotion and obsession could have fit with Everything I Left Unsaid, but I love this song and the singer/characters obsession with NOT forgiving. Totally fits Dylan.
Cake – The DIstance
Reluctantly crouched at the starting line, Engines pumping and thumping in time. The green light flashes, the flags go up. Churning and burning, they yearn for the cup. They deftly maneuver and muscle for rank, Fuel burning fast on an empty tank. Reckless and wild, they pour through the turns. Their prowess is potent and secretly stearn. As they speed through the finish, the flags go down. The fans get up and they get out of town. The arena is empty except for one man, Still driving and striving as fast as he can.
Well, first of all who doesn’t love Cake! And second of all – it’s a song about a driven race car driver! My main character Dylan was a driven race car driver until everything fell apart.
Maroon 5 – – Animals
So if I run it’s not enough You’re still in my head forever stuck So you can do what you wanna do I love your lies, I’ll eat ’em up But don’t deny the animal That comes alive when I’m inside you
One of the sexiest songs sung by one of the sexiest men in the world – this was one of the first songs on my playlist. It’s just. So. Sexy.
Imagine Dragons – Shots (the acoustic version!)
I’m sorry for everything Oh, everything I’ve done From the second that I was born it seems I had a loaded gun And then I shot, shot, shot a hole through everything I loved Oh, I shot, shot, shot a hole through every single thing that I loved
I heard the acoustic version of this song first and it shattered me. The lyrics, the harmonies – it’s just amazing. Then I heard the poppy arrangement and it was like a completely different song, so I’m pretending that version doesn’t exist. It’s all acoustic heartbreak for me. Imagine Dragons is one of those bands that write and sing about obsession and heartbreak and darkness and redemption in a way that just speak to me. I could use a dozen Imagine Dragon songs on every play list – but this one totally suits Dylan.
Coleman Hell – 2 Heads
I turn to you, you’re all I see Our love’s a monster with 2 Heads and one heartbeat We just got caught up in the moment Why don’t you call me in the morning instead Before we turn into a monster Before we turn into a monster with 2 Heads
I love everything about this song. The dance beat with a banjo?! Perfection. But the lyric is what kills me most – this song is all about Dylan pushing Annie away when she confesses she wants more of him.
Metric – Lie Lie Lie
Baby, you’ll be safe with me Rage against the dying of the light Holding up a tattered dream Rage against the dying, rage against the dying of the light
Another great Canadian band – this song is fascinating. An anthem against changing with fame or popularity. Which doesn’t fit with my book – but I just love that lyric…
Rachel Platten – Fight Song
Like how a single word Can make a heart open I might only have one match But I can make an explosion
My kids are totally obsessed with this song. I hear it in my sleep and it’s a great song that encapsulates Annie’s journey.
She published her first Harlequin romance at age 25 and hasn’t looked back. She loves exploring every character’s road towards happily ever after.
Originally from a small town outside of Chicago, she went to university in St. Louis where she met and fell in love with the editor of her school newspaper. They followed each other around the world for several years and finally got married and settled down in Toronto, Ontario. They welcomed their son into their family in 2006, and their daughter in 2008. When she’s not at the park or cleaning up the toy room, Molly is working hard on her next novel, trying to exercise, stalking Tina Fey on the internet and dreaming of the day she can finish a cup of coffee without interruption.
- An ARC was provided by the publisher through NetGalley for this review!