Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
For Your Love, book 2 of Kate McBrien’s Hidden Hearts series, is a beautiful story about second chances. The story follows Colleen and Finn, childhood friends (a friendship created through the friendship between their parents) who realize in their teenhood their mutual interest in the other. Their burgeoning attraction reaches its peak when Finn asks Colleen to come home with him to New York. On her pause in response to this request, he rescinds it and quickly denounces any interest in her to her meddling brother, effectively breaking her heart. The story fast forwards ten years, and the two meet again at the funeral for her father. Like their past, they instantly feel their chemistry; however, Colleen has years of disliking Finn for his rejection of her and she spurns him. Over the course of a few weeks, Colleen breaks up with her awful boyfriend, is fired from her teaching position, and finds herself relocated to New York where she lives with her brother (Finn’s best friend) in the same building where Finn lives. Finn knows that Colleen is “the one” for him, so he works to win her over. Yet, a secret trauma from Colleen’s past along with a tragic moment for Finn seeks to undo all of his work to bring them together. Will they find their happy ending?
For Your Love has so much potential. There is a sweetness to this story as it’s clear that Finn, a playboy in his early twenties, adores Colleen. Except for two moments in this story, McBrien allows you to fall in love with Finn because he wants to love and keep Colleen with him forever. Unfortunately, McBrien makes her readers work for it because outside forces seek to undermine Finn’s love for Colleen. For one, Finn fights his past with a father who was abusive and lorded his wealth over his son. This creates a psychology of doubt in Finn that creates problems for him and Colleen.
Along with Finn’s psychology, McBrien creates the character of Colleen with a traumatic past. Honestly, she takes much of the story building to that moment that, even though it’s hinted at in her blurb, you wonder if McBrien will realize that moment in For Your Love. That’s one of my biggest criticisms of the story. There is no concrete build-up to it. It is secreted in whispers until the moment that Colleen divulges her secret. You are never quite sure if it will be fully realized. When it is, there is a resolution to it that feels too steady and easy in a way. Granted, the resolution of it is one of the most powerful parts of the book, but its progression could have used more work.
Instead, for me, the emotional gravitas of the story is Colleen and Finn’s reconciliation. I think McBrien could have left out Colleen’s piece, and their love story would have provided enough investment for her reader if she had slowed down their journey. Finn’s past provides enough power for this romance in his need to resolve his past feelings for his father. Add in Colleen’s need to forgive him for hurting her and his willingness to woo her, and McBrien’s story would have been enough to win over her readers. One of the biggest issues I had with the book was the various parts of the story that didn’t fully develop into big emotional moments. Again, that’s my opinion, and the reason this book sits as a solid four.
If you’re a fan of second chance romances and all of their complications, then you will certainly love Kate McBrien’s For Your Love.
In love and romance,