Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
“When you grow up with nothing, it’s easy to recognize a treasure. I know how rare you are, clover. You’re extraordinary. And you’re mine.”
First, Emma Renshaw introduced us to Hawk Valley in her first book of the Burn series, Ember. This reader fell hard for the fraught, but steamy journey of Griffin and Delilah. From that book, I knew Renshaw had hooked me into her Burn series. When Ignite was announced, I couldn’t get to the ARC sign-up (I read them for an honest review) fast enough. Why? Two words: Ridge Sanders. In Ember, we see very little of him, but there is a respect for him illustrated through his friends. Knowing that this man with the qualities of kindness, compassion, and insight would have his story told, I knew I needed this story, and Renshaw brings so much angst and passion to this story that I didn’t want this story to end.
There are many beautiful qualities in Ignite, Emma Renshaw’s newest book, that require you to read it, so here goes:
- I’ve used this phrase often, and I’ll use it again to describe the general characters of this book. Ridge and Zoe, Renshaw’s heroine, are two sides of the same coin. Both Renshaw’s hero and heroine have been left behind by the people tasked with caring for them. In Ridge’s case, he uses his tenacious spirit to survive and become a successful, respectable man and firefighter. There is an inner drive in him that leads to his success and stalwart identity. For Zoe, her Aunt Georgia becomes a key influence in her life, always encouraging her life choices. However, no matter their journey, these two must deal with being left behind and those consequences. One does it well, while the other struggles to find their ground. I love these aspects of Ridge and Zoe because many of us feel the gravity of these hurts, and Renshaw’s story becomes a promise of opportunity for her readers whose experiences parallel Ridge and Zoe’s. This is one of the places where humanity resides in this fictional story.
- Ridge as a hero is a key force of this book. Every turn of the page lends itself to considering Ridge as some kind of emotionally mature, superman. Given his background, it’s difficult to understand how he can be so emotionally mature. And Renshaw simply suggests through his characterization that we don’t have to mourn our past, even though we carry the hurt with us always. Instead, we can exist in the present and seek out the positives in the now.
- In contrast, Zoe is trapped in her past. Much of Renshaw’s story explores her troubles with letting go of the past. And to be honest, Zoe becomes the most frustrating part of this story. Usually, when I think the author has taken a character’s angst too far, I will downgrade my review. Not with Ignite, though. While I would have LOVED for her to find reconciliation earlier in the story, I think it needed to progress as Renshaw develops it. In this story, it was more about my impatience to get to Ridge and Zoe’s happy ending than Renshaw’s apt storytelling that made me frustrated. Yet, there are people in real life who never move on from past trauma, and Zoe’s experience feels real to me. Thankfully, she finds people who love her into her healing, but it takes much of Renshaw’s story for Zoe to find her peace. Zoe’s evolution is the most beautiful part of Ignite’s story, even more than the romance between Ridge and Zoe.
- There is lots of great steam in this story. While Ridge’s compassion and kindness are put on display quite a bit in this story, his alpha-level tendencies in the bedroom “ignite” the page. These two are quite the firestarters for this aptly named romance series, Burn. And most romance readers love the fire, and Renshaw doesn’t disappoint in this book.
With each new book, I grow a greater appreciation for Emma Renshaw. There is an ease to her storytelling, characterization, and style. When you enter her books, she grabs you from the first chapter, and you simply don’t want the story to end. When Ignite ended, I was disappointed because I fell deeply for Renshaw’s characters. Thankfully, she has more books to come in this series that is equal parts romance and suspense. Emma Renshaw’s Ignite reminds us that we can love right now, leaving our pasts behind us, especially when those we love are standing right in front of us.
In love and romance,