Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 1/2
When I saw that Rachel Blaufeld had a book releasing, I was excited as I had enjoyed her book, Wander Love. The dark, angsty feel of that book is something I love to read with rom-coms, contemporary romances, new adult, etc. It creates a balance that imitates life, I think. So given all of that, I was excited for her newest book, Love Disregarded. For one, I love a second chance romance which is usually fraught with so much angst as either the H or h are separated for some ungodly reason. Additionally, this is also a bit “opposites attract”: rich boy and poor girl. Those stories too generally come with a parent who is disapproving and goes to great lengths to keep them apart. In a nutshell, those two tropes create the recipe for an angsty romance with the possibility of a redemptive conclusion, so I jumped into Love Disregarded.
And sadly, I was a little disappointed. I hate writing these words. I really do because I want to love everything that a writer writes. As a teacher of writing, however, I know that that notion is fiction itself. At the core, the trope qualities I listed above are present in Blaufeld’s Love Disregarded, and if you like those tropes, you should grab this book. Now, should you stop what you’re reading and pick this book up immediately? Sadly, I would say “no.”
For one, Aston, Blaufeld’s hero, is not my favorite person in the present. In my opinion, for a second chance romance to work, you have to want the perpetrator of angst in the past to be a better person in the present time, and while Aston has a few moments of kindness, he really isn’t a great guy. I actually prefer younger Aston before he makes the choice to ruin their relationship. It is his younger self where his compassion and integrity lie. I kept waiting to like him again, but I grew to appreciate his role, not his characterization, in the later parts of the story. As a character, I wouldn’t identify him as a nice guy, and he isn’t an anti-hero either, so it makes it hard for me to actually like him.
Secondly, there are holes in the story that I wanted to be filled. Typically with second chance romances, you receive the former story before you receive the present story, and the building of that former story elevates the tension and angst of the romance. There is another iteration of this where the former story is woven in the midst of the present, but you generally receive those woven bits chronologically and you have a moment of break up. It’s almost painful to read those past parts. For this reader, I find myself taking breaks to push through the difficulty of the eventual separation. Yet, Blaufeld doesn’t take that tact, which, if intentional, is both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing in that you don’t suffer through their break-up chronologically because she doesn’t present it that way, but it’s a curse because I think she loses the momentum of her angst level. Even more, we are fed those details in later chapters that interrupt the present, but we never get the actual moment of break up. Again, it causes a strange chronological disruption which doesn’t sometimes make sense as Aston and Bexley are trying to move forward. It also leaves you confused at times.
Thirdly, there is a bit of repetition in this story. One of my pet peeves as a reader is being reminded of the same feelings and anxieties between the couple. For me, it feels like filler. This happens over and over again in Love Disregarded. It creates a whiplash effect as these two struggle towards their happy ending. For obvious reasons, Bexley complicates their reunion, while also falling into Aston’s arms, constantly trusting and distrusting him. I want forward motion, so it felt repetitive to relive their past (especially when it’s divulged in pieces) over and over again.
Bexley, her children, and Aston’s children are the highlights of Rachel Blaufeld’s Love Disregarded, especially Piper. Honestly. Yes, I think Bexley is a little too indecisive, and she could have shown greater strength against Aston given the lessons she had learned in the future; however, she is more likable as a character over Aston or any of the ancillary characters besides the kids. I know there are many people who love Rachel Blaufeld and will read this book. I did. It’s good. It isn’t a top read for me, though, for a variety of reasons, and in the end, that makes me a little sad as I HATE being the bearer of a middlin’ to fair review.
In love and romance,