A Veil of Glass and Rain by Petra F. Bagnardi
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
**ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review.**
I can't quite make my mind up about this book. Part of me really liked it, and part of me really didn't like it. I'll do my best to explain both sides!
I really liked the concept of the story. Two people that have been best friends since she was nine and he was fourteen develop romantic feelings for each other when they get older. First, Brina starts to fall in love with Eagan, and she kisses him one day in the park when he is asleep on a blanket. The feelings that she has for him freak her out so much that she runs away, and keeps running until he finally chases her down several years later. Eagan has also realized that he loves Brina as more than a friend, but he decides that he has to pursue her slowly, because he knows he is playing for keeps. While there are several disjointed flashbacks that give us a glimpse into their past, the majority of the story is about their time in Rome, when Eagan shows back up in Brina's life and their relationship takes back up where it left off years ago, and then quickly escalates into more.
I also really liked Eagan. He was so open and affectionate and loving. But he was also flawed. I thought it was totally believable that he struggled with anger and depression after what he has been through. And I thought it was really sweet how he really thought about what it would take to make a romantic relationship with Brina work. He is crazy head over heels in love with her, but he forces himself to be patient and take it slow. Plus, he is also super hot, and is apparently very talented in the tongue area! ;)
The secondary characters in the story were also a positive thing. The twins, Clem, David, were all welcome additions to the story. They added humor, and also showed how many good things Brina and Eagan had in their lives. When they fell down, someone was always there to pick them back up again.
Okay, now for the things that I did not like about the story. I realize that this was aimed towards being a "dark" romance. It wasn't all about being a bouncy, sunny, HEA new adult romance. And I get that - in fact I like those kinds of books. This story fit all of the criteria. But, it didn't give enough of a background, or enough explanations for certain scenarios. For instance, what was the cause of Brina's food aversion? I understand that she was so depressed when she was away from Eagan that she struggled to make herself eat. In fact, it seemed like she was borderline anorexic. But what was never explained was why the link to her depression centered around food. And why was she still not able to eat regularly even after her and Eagan were together? And if she had so many problems with eating and food, why was she not hospitalized or near death after spending years away from him? I think that this could have been done in a different way that would have worked really well with the story, but it was just missing something. It went from being super believable, to just seeming like something convenient to throw into the story to make Brina seem more fragile. I would like to think that if her condition were as serious as it was portrayed, one of her friends, or Eagan, would have intervened and gotten her some help.
Another thing that I had a hard time understanding was why Eagan and Brina were so dependent on each other. Eagan seemed like a very strong and independent person until he and Brina began their romantic relationship. Then he became super needy and obsessive. I can understand that reaction from her because that seems to be the sort of person she is normally, but it seemed a complete contrast to Eagan's character. And the justification of their dependence on each other stemming from how their parents' relationships were wasn't plausible enough. Eagan and Brina wouldn't have an unhealthy co-dependent relationship based solely on the fact that that's how their parents were. And just when it seemed like they were going to break the cycle after Brina went away to Berlin for a month, here comes Eagan and they fall right back into their old ways. I don't know - I just wasn't feeling it. At some point in the story they needed to learn to stand on their own two feet and be strong, individual adults. And that never happened.
While this book lives up to the classification of a New Adult, Contemporary Erotic Romance, and while I love these kind of books, I was also a little disappointed with the sexual aspect of the story. Don't get me wrong - there was a lot of sex, and it was hot and kinky and wow! But it felt gratuitous. Once Eagan and Brina started having sex, it was like the story just stopped for a while. Their relationship never really grew from there. Granted, we did get a glimpse into their future in the epilogue, but more of that needed to be in the actual story. I don't know exactly how to explain it, but I needed more from this story.
Overall, I am glad that I had a chance to read this book. It was this close to being one of those stories that stick with you for a long time. The heartbreak and uncertainty and fear that Brina feels over the possibility of losing Eagan forever when she reveals to him her true feelings is powerful. This could have been a great love story - flaws and all. It just fell a little short for me. Thank you to the author, Petra F. Bagnardi, for providing me with a free copy to read.
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