Overall Grade: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I love to read new authors. As my profile has grown, authors have reached out to me to consider reading their upcoming releases for an honest review. Morgan James is one such author. The first book I read from her is The Devil You Know. Honestly, I don’t read a lot of romantic suspense, but her book, along with a few others, has shown me that I actually love the sub-genre quite a bit. Now, she has a new romantic suspense, Unrequited Love. It’s part of a trilogy, I believe, and this first book has definitely grabbed my attention.
The story follows Amelia and Jack. As a travel photographer, Amelia has seen many beautiful places and photographed them. However, she realizes that her life isn’t complete. She walked away from a marriage eight years ago to the love of her life when she felt betrayed by a decision he made, and she has struggled to move on relationally since then. She is also estranged from her father because he sided with her husband. The story begins when she finds out her father has died. Feeling as though she missed an opportunity to reconcile with him, Amelia agrees to attend the reading of his will. Her father sets a stipulation in his will that she must live for a time at his forthcoming mountain resort, Briarleigh, in order to inherit her trust. What she doesn’t know is that Jack, her ex-husband, plays a huge part in the building of Briarleigh.
While there, Amelia receives threats from an unknown source. Not wanting to be deterred, she pushes forward until her life becomes endangered. In this first book, Jack and Amelia don’t meet until the end, and it sets off a cliffhanger that will keep you enthralled. Will Jack and Amelia reconcile and realize their undying love for each other, or will they let each other go again? Even more, who is the person endangering Amelia? Will Jack be able to protect her from the threat?
For the most part, Unrequited Love is a background novel for this trilogy. It is here that Monica James sets the story for the rest of the trilogy. She unveils the character of Amelia. In this book, James crafts a heroine who feels a bit stalled in life. She can’t seem to move forward romantically because her heart belongs to her ex, Jack. We see her struggle with her father’s death and the ramifications for not reconciling with him. This guilt drives her decisions, and we see her turmoil at realizing her father is gone. By the end of this book, we have a good idea of her as a character and her journey ahead.
James doesn’t spend as much time developing Jack. We understand his love for Amelia, his relationship to her father, and his struggle with the future. One of the issues I had with Jack was his inability to remedy the issue with Amelia. He tells us multiple times that she’s the “love of his life.” Yet, he never pursues her. James doesn’t reveal why he never chased Amelia. Instead, he seems fine with the status quo, living without Amelia, and that confused me as a reader. His life’s decisions are clearly influenced by his love for her, yet he keeps his distance.
When the book ends, you will find yourself at the edge of your seat because James leaves us with a doozy of a cliffhanger. It comes a bit from out of nowhere, but it will be interesting to read how she remedies the situation she’s created. Additionally, as she did with The Devil You Know, she has a tertiary character, the Watcher, who represents the threat to Amelia. She gives the Watcher chapters, so we understand his or her motivation for wanting to destroy Amelia. This seems to be Morgan James’s signature calling card, after reading this book and The Devil You Know. It’s an interesting stylistic choice and ensures we understand the motivation of the killer. Yet, I hope this isn’t something she does in every book, even if it’s an element of her style.
If you love romantic suspense, then you will enjoy Unrequited Love. I know I am waiting patiently (almost) for the second book as I want more Amelia and Jack. While the chemistry is there, this book doesn’t give it time to build. I imagine it’s going to be a scorching page-turner once it hits.
In love and romance,