Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 1/2
“You made this wrecked palace a home.”
I knew from Catherine Cowles’s earlier books, Reckless Memories and Perfect Wreckage, that Wrecked Palace, her newest book, would be my favorite thus far in this series of standalones. I knew that Griffin “Griff” would steal my heart in his sullen, mysterious way. I knew that Caelyn’s story as guardian and caretaker of her siblings would steal another portion of my heart, but until I jumped into the beauty of Wrecked Palace, I didn’t really know. At each turn of the page, Catherine Cowles reminded me why I will always buy and read her stories. Her ability to invest you into her broken characters is her superpower, and it compels you to pick up her book and read to the very last page.
I won’t speak to the plotline of Cowles’s newest romance. I wish for you, potential reader, to read it on your own. It has too many secrets. Even more, the story is so beautifully drawn at Cowles’s hand that I simply want you to experience it on your own. What I will tell you are the reasons for its beauty.
Firstly, you should know that unlike her other books this is a seriously slow burn. There are definitely sparks, but that isn’t the focus of this book. Instead, this book is about growth, about finding the salve to the broken parts of one’s soul. It’s about a saving grace to pull you through difficult times. Instead of drawing you into the bedroom, Cowles deftly draws you deeper into Griffin and Caelyn’s lives, and it’s a masterpiece.
Secondly, Wrecked Palace is much like her other stories and other series which means more romantic suspense. There is something to be solved in this story, and Cowles guides you carefully through the story to a resolution that is perfect in its rendering.
Thirdly, Griffin and Caelyn are magical together. These are my favorite types of characters: a brooding, silent broken hero, and a heroine who is the light to his dark even in her own brokenness. I know this is written often enough in romance, but Cowles does a superb job with this couple. I hated to leave their story because Cowles invested me so deeply in them that it was difficult to say goodbye. There is simply too much to love about them and their friends who, once again, remind us of the idea of a crafted, constructed family. That element is one more reason why this book is my current favorite of 2021.
Lastly, Catherine Cowles’s style is enigmatic. There is a quietude to her careful storytelling, and it juxtaposes against the violence of her story. Over and over again in her books, her words whisper across the page, crafting beautifully romantic scenes between her characters, and it contracts against the mysteries that need solving as characters’ lives sit in danger. That is one of the qualities of her storytelling that keeps me coming back for more.
So, what does it mean to love and be loved? Is man meant to live a life alone? Can two broken people find completion in each other, in a family of friends constructed out of love and respect, not blood? Those are the questions that pervade Catherine Cowles’s Wrecked Palace. This book destroyed and reconstructed a part of my heart. Yes, the story title is Wrecked Palace, but this book is a reminder that something that is wrecked doesn’t have to remain that way. Instead with love, care, and attention, out of the ashes can come a palace of beauty. Run and read this story.
In love and romance,