Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Every Devney Perry book feels like a journey of the soul. She has this innate ability to encapsulate the challenges of the human spirit into 300 pages of a story. As you turn each page, you find pieces of yourself scattered within her words. When you finish the book, you feel as though the story has acted as a mirror of your own truths and a scalpel to your heart. At the most elemental level, I trust Devney Perry’s romances to both entertain me and entreat me to think more deeply about the human condition. Her newest book, Wild Highway, the second book of the Runaway series, is no different.
I adored the first book of the series, Runaway Road. For me, Brooks, the hero, was my favorite part of that book. With Wild Highway, I found a heroine who has quickly become one of my Devney Perry favorites. I tend to love broken characters because the journey they undertake holds a depth that you can’t find in a character whose parts aren’t broken. In this book, Gemma won my heart from the beginning. Maybe it’s because I too am trying to find a new place to exist. Maybe my past holds scars that make it difficult for me to connect with feelings. Maybe her struggles feel like my struggles. No matter the reason, Gemma’s evolution in Wild Highway bores deep into your soul as you empathize with her hurts. You simply want her hero, Easton, to figure her out from the start of the book and pour love into the fissures of her soul. However, that would be too easy, and Perry carefully constructs a story that allows both her hero and heroine to come to understand themselves AND develop a depth of love that feels essential, even though it might feel painful for the reader.
In terms of her hero, Easton, he too has his complications. While his struggles don’t feel as existential as Gemma’s, they also hold a similar tenor. Where do you find your place in a storied generational family? How do you break free of the bonds of family when that family is your foundation? She wraps these questions into Easton’s character while elaborating them within his gruff and temperamental exterior. This type of hero is my favorite hero because hard exteriors often portend soft underbellies. When that is recognized by the heroine, it makes for exquisite moments of connection. Wild Highway is no different in that sense. Easton’s struggle against falling illustrate Perry’s deft ability to craft chemistry. It’s why you can’t help but to fall in love with every Perry hero and/or heroine, including her Easton and Gemma.
And as is the case with her other books, Devney Perry’s style is seamless here. There is no stumbling over her words. There is no finding yourself lost in her images. Instead, there is a smooth trot through her story, finding yourself galloping to her end. She spins images with her words that help you feel the forever love of her characters, and you feel satiated by the end. Now, once this story ends, more than Runaway Road, you are left feeling bereft. Why? Because the next book in this series feels more connected than the last. I left Wild Highway mourning the fact that I don’t already have Quarter Miles. If Wild Highway is any indication, Quarter Miles story might even be stronger, if that can be imagined.
As I said at the beginning of this review, I trust Devney Perry with romance. I have read her entire book list, and time and time again, she takes little pieces of my heart and soul with her storytelling. Her characters read like real people. Their journeys are mirrors to my life experience, along with the experiences of others, and that makes Perry special. Ultimately, Wild Highway is a beautifully wrought romance about finding your place and your people. It’s about coming home and feeling whole again.
In love and romance,