Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 1/2
“It’s weird that in the space of three years, we’ve gone from enemies to friends to family.”
The bulk of this review is for the new novella in The Rivals, a compilation of Dylan Allen’s Rivers Wilde world. This newest iteration includes The Legacy, The Legend, and The Jezebel, along with The Gathering. If I can tell you anything, I HIGHLY recommend these stories. For me, beyond Allen’s The Sun and Her Star, these are my favorite books from her. She has this way of mixing tropes in with a deep helping of $exy character development. The Gathering reminds me of everything I adore about her Rivers Wilde characters as they entangle themselves in their family’s celebration of Christmas.
The Gathering reconnects us with Confidence and Hayes from the first book of this series, The Legacy. Confidence recognizes the depth of Hayes’s love for the celebration of Christmas. This is grounded in strong familial memories, and she has taken on the task of recreating those memories for him. Once again, Allen shows us the power of their deep, respectful, abiding love with a helping of $exual chemistry on the side. Allen also proffers more of Remi and Kal’s lives, and you’re minded of Remi’s adoration for Kal. Beyond his twin sister Regan, Remi is one of the most emotionally complex characters of the Rivers Wilde stories. Allen also returns us to, probably, my favorite couple of this series, Regan and Stone. Allen crafts them in such a way that you feel as though you inhabit their undying love for each other with them. In each of these updates for the characters of Allen’s Rivers Wilde series, the same adoration for their stories is felt, and Allen shows why she is such a great storyteller.
Along with Hayes and Confidence, Remi and Kal, and Regan and Stone, Allen treats us to a story for Tina, the seeming villain of the first two books of the series. I LOVE that Allen humanizes her in The Gathering, allowing us to empathize with her new journey. And Allen deftly teases Tyson Wilde’s story, a story about searching for his place. I cannot wait for more of his story in her forthcoming, 1001 Dark Nights story entitled The Daredevil. I suspect that Allen will write his story in such a way that we will, once again, fall deeply for her characters and their travails.
Look, this series, this new compilation, is so worth a read. Dylan Allen continually cements her status as a crafter of characterization and chemistry. She’s a little bit dirty, a whole lot of heart, and her stories will captivate you and sate you at their end. And The Gathering is the perfect little nibble to end your 2020.
In love and romance,