Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ +++
“Some loves are a lifetime.”
There is something distinct and yet familiar about a Jewel E. Ann book. For me, each of her romances has a different voice, a different character. Yet, in their differences, you find threads that connect them in ways unique to Jewel E. Ann. Her newest book, Out of Love, is no different. Even as the fourth book of a series, one not originally considered, it is different in its demeanor yet elicits the sameness of her other novels. And in true Jewel E. Ann fashion, it is gritty, emotional, and unexpected.
If you have read Jewel E. Ann’s “Jack and Jill” series (End of Day, Middle Knight, and Dawn of Forever), then you have run the marathon of Ann’s epic romantic suspense. In the end, if you are anything like me, you felt every distinct mile of that marathon as Ann puts you through emotional paces over the course of the three-book series. Yet, at its end, it’s clear that forever love, love between soulmates, is this series’ focus. That in the end, everyone ends up with the person they are meant for EVEN after moments of trauma and loving others in the interim. That series is an apt example of Ann’s enigmatic writing: equal parts humor, suspense, $ex, and love. On any given page, you aren’t entirely sure what feelings will be provoked, and it makes you feel, to be honest, a bit bipolar, which makes that series (and her other books) my favorites in romancelandia. I love the manipulation of feelings in the series because it reminds me that I’m alive and human. It showcases Ann’s ability to invest you in her stories. And then, Jewel E. Ann decided to write a fourth book, an addendum to this series, with Out of Love.
Had I known that I would be running that marathon again, had I known that Ann would make me feast on pain and glory in the “ends” of things, I would have laughed at you. When I entered her story, I prayed that she wouldn’t undermine Luke and Jessica, my favorite couple of the Jack and Jill series. I was worried about going into the book because my heart wouldn’t handle the disruption of their relationship. What I found was even more diabolical because Jewel E. Ann hit against the portion of my heart dedicated to parenting. Honestly, that is probably one of my most predominant identities, and Ann reminded me of the depth and gravity of a parent’s love in this story. And she does this in a supreme recipe of humor, suspense, and spice.
I won’t tell you any part of this story. I won’t tell you the specifics about the people the story focuses on because it undermines the mystery of Ann’s book. For me, that’s important because every one of her books, Out of Love not be excluded, is anything you expect it to be. That is the brilliance of Jewel E. Ann. You never know what she will offer you, but you take it greedily and thank her wholeheartedly in the end. With Out of Love, one minute, you find yourself laughing at Livy’s tactics. She’s incredibly witty while naive. She’s persistent and tenacious, even to a fault. She is a perfect combination of her parents which makes her equal parts compassionate and dangerous, and Ann has ascribed her the heart of this story. In her characterization is the promise of a forever.
While Slade Wylder has earned the focus of Jewel E. Ann’s Facebook group and Instagram account for purposes of promotion, he is just a pawn at the hand of Ann. He IS the impetus for Livy’s evolution; he galvanizes her journey. He is the reason that Livy’s heart grows and morphs, and he does very little other than “being” in order for this to happen. He’s a mystery and a monster and someone you can’t help but love. Ann makes it hard for you to do so, but she makes it easier because of his dog (yes, his dog made me like Slade). Together, Slade and Livy are the embodiment of Jewel E. Ann’s trademark romance. If you have read her books previously, then you know that you are in line for a story that will indelibly mark your soul. If you are looking for Out of Love to diverge from her other stories, you won’t find it here.
What you find here is a book so carefully wrought, so canonically identified to the original series, that you will end the story astounded by Jewel E. Ann once again. There is intention here; there is a careful plotting; and there are characters who will burrow into your heart just as Jessica, Jackson, Ryn, and Luke did so in the earlier series. When I was done reading this story, I sat back silent for a time because I really had no idea that Out of Love would capture me as it did. I know I shouldn’t be surprised as I’ve encountered this at the end of every Jewel E. Ann book. Time and time again, she reminds us that she is a romance author who defies labels. It’s why so many of us love her stories and buy them without question. In a world where romance can be predictable, Jewel E. Ann illustrates that she has the power to surprise her readers each and every time. Yes, Out of Love is a standalone story, and yes, you can read it by itself. However, you will miss out on the treasure and intelligence of this book if you do so. This is the Jewel E. Ann effect, and I’m thankful for each of her books that reminds me that I’m still human, emotions and all.
In love and romance,