Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
“Being in Deacon’s arms means being supported by a partner who will fight for me, who will hold my hand when I have to fight, who will wait for me when I need some space, and who won’t give up until I’ve slain my monsters.
Together, our love is healing. Our love is creative and pure. Our kisses are reckless, but they’re not irresponsible. We’re wild and free, like the horse in my painting. Our spirit is groundbreaking and revolutionary, brave enough to heal the wounds of the past and forge a future of unity.”
If I had to use one word to describe Tia Louise’s Reckless Kiss, it would be stunning. By my estimation, this book, this glorious romance of two people so fated for each other, so connected through their souls, is Louise’s most cerebral, most eloquent, and most viscerally romantic and sensual to date. Every page reveals truths that feel important to today. If you think you’ve come to Reckless Kiss expecting a re-telling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet or a modern-day Hatfields and McCoys, then you will be disappointed. Instead, Louise invites us into a world of romance where the underlying message is deeper than the love between her characters, Deacon and Angelica.
To be honest, the blurb for Reckless Kiss does not truly envision the beautiful essence of this story. Throughout the first twenty percent of the story, I breathlessly waited for Angelica and Deacon to fall apart given their families’ differences. Without revealing anything, that isn’t this story. Louise’s last two books revealed a Deacon who seems incredibly self-possessed that he feels like the rock for characters such as Noel and Mindy. Financially, he inspires them, but we don’t really see the true qualities of Deacon’s character until he’s coupled with Angelica. Together, these two are romance perfection. Seriously. Every moment you find them on the page, your heart melts for them because they complete each other. In Wait for Me and Here with Me, there was the allusion of Deacon with Noel and Mindy, but it’s clear in Reckless Kiss that Angelica would always be his. He feels alpha in those former books, but Angelica wields a power over Deacon that makes it clear she was always fated for him. Like Romeo and Juliet, this makes their coupling otherworldly. They feel ethereal in their coupledom, which makes Deacon’s name for Angelica (“Angel) even more profound. Louise has written an erotic, exquisite story for these two, and you will fall madly for them.
What is more provocative about this story, though, is its significance. Of the Tia Louise books I’ve read to date, for me, this is the most intelligent, the one with an intellectualism that underscores Deacon and Angelica’s fated love. This book is about promises kept, culture, prejudice, familial bonds, and identity. In Reckless Kiss, Tia Louise provides an answer to prejudice by crafting a beautiful abiding love between two intelligent, strong individuals, intertwining cultures, bridging gaps. Louise allows promises to be kept; she speaks to the need to control actions and ideologies; she doesn’t point fingers to one side of the debate on prejudice. Instead, she wisely shows her readers that the same thinking resides on both sides, and she challenges us to do better. Her book’s elements feel important and insightful, and quite frankly, it was nothing like I thought it would be, which made it a profound read for me. From highlighting microaggressions to illustrating how different characters co-opted parts of Angelica’s identity, the judiciousness of Reckless Kiss is its best part, even when Deacon and Angelica’s love is elemental to the story.
This book has many secrets, but like Deacon, it holds and keeps its promises too. It instructs us that change can happen, that people can be better, and that love will win if it’s unselfish and unconditional. Tia Louise’s title might be Reckless Kiss, but it is anything but reckless in its truth.
In love and romance,