Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Oh, Diego. I don’t know how you did it, but you won me over. Now, don’t get me wrong. I still struggled with you through the first third of Fighting for You, but Monica Murphy did something that helped you: she humanized you for her readers. That she could take a wildly unpopular character and strip you to your essential self, make you apologetic, and willing to work, or “fight”, for Jocelyn made it easier to love you. I didn’t know if she could do it. I mean, there are still some issues I have with her storytelling. I’m not a fan of the level of details she provides plus there are still inconsistencies in her characterizations. However, she made me LIKE you more than I liked Jocelyn in this book. You were the most consistent character of Fighting for You. In contrast, Jocelyn was like many of Murphy’s characters in the earlier Callahan books: one minute accepting of you and the other minute rejecting you. There was a moment near the end, Diego, when I was ready to tell you to move on because Jocelyn was holding a grudge for far too long. If you had told me that I would have imagined that about you after Eli and Ava’s duet, I would have laughed. But instead, this book, I believe, might just be my favorite in the series of standalones. Jake and Eli are still fairly unlikeable to me. Thank goodness for Hannah and Ava. With you, we see the consequences of early trauma. We recognize the impact of substance abuse on one’s development of character. We recognize the complicated binds of family. You, I think, have redeemed Jake and Eli’s stories for me.
Now, we really, really need Tony and Jackson’s stories. If you could put in a good word to Monica, asking her to develop heroes that we can like, I’d appreciate it. I mean, if she could redeem you, the sky’s the limit for them. Right?
In love and romance,
P.S. I kind of adore the fact that $ex feels incredibly tangential to this book which is odd given that clearly you and Jocelyn ‘did the deed.” While it does exist, the steam level feels appropriate for your’s and Jocelyn’s journey.