Overall Grade: 4.5 ⭐️
Can people change? Are we a sum total of our past experiences or can we be new creations? Amy Daws’s newest book, Replay, explores that idea through the journey of her characters, Santino and Tilly. If you read Daws’s Blindsided, then you know going into Replay that Santino and Tilly have a past, one that Tilly’s brother, Mac, has limited knowledge of. Therefore, before entering Replay, there is an understanding that we don’t know all of the details of their past.
What we find are two characters, who five years prior, were living different lifestyles. Santino was avoiding relationships and Tilly was a “good time girl.” Until she wasn’t. It is there where the details are vague for the first third of the story. It is now five years later, and Tilly has left her family home and returned to London to help her pregnant sister-in-law’s pet line come to life. One night, she attends a gala with her brother, and she encounters Santino. From their meeting, it’s clear that their attraction is the same as it was years prior. As the story progresses, Santino and Tilly must learn to forgive themselves for past choices, decide if they can accept the new versions of themselves, and determine if they have a future.
At its core, Replay is about control, the want for both Santino and Tilly to control their lives in ways that actually cause them to live restrictive rather than abundant lives. As Daws carefully takes us through their journey, you need to almost sing “Let It Go” as you watch them fight to accept love and forgo controlling feelings to a detriment. This is also what causes the tension of this story. Tilly, trying to control her actions because in the past they lead to devastating consequences, doesn’t allow her to become vulnerable with Santino. Likewise, Santino has to trust Tilly with his past so as to draw them closer together. As these two tango their way through their romantic journey, you experience incredible, $exy highs and emotional lows, and Daws’s story feels delectable in its design.
Add to this the return of the Harris family and a bit of a bomb at Replay’s end. For anyone who has read Daws’s Harris Brothers Series, I think you’ll laugh out loud at their additions to this story. While Santino and Tilly work through the chaos of their burgeoning relationship, the Harris Family adds an outer ring of chaos that acts as a humorous buffer to Santino and Tilly’s fraught moments.
Add to THAT…some serious steam. And let me just say. I’ve decided that any time an author wants to include a hero or heroine (but, for me, more specifically a hero) who can croon Italian to his heroine, just directly add that selection to my Kindle Library, please. Santino exudes that masculine, alpha, Italiano hero vibe throughout the story, and it counters nicely with Tilly’s insecurities. Honestly, when we find out Santino’s secret, it almost seems uncharacteristic of him to feel shame over it given Daws’s decided masculine drawing of him. However, it also lends itself to creating more sensitivity in his characterization.
To be clear, I inhaled Amy Daws’s Replay. I had been waiting expectantly for this story because I love second chance romances, and Santino and Tilly needed a happy ending. Thankfully, Amy Daws created a story that leaves you their perfect happy ending.
In love and romance,