Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️+
“To truly experience life, you had to live it in community.”
Catherine Cowles, always true to her inveterate storytelling, has written a beautifully tragic story in her newest book, Reckless Refuge, that reminds you that a life half-lived or lived in the shadows is no life at all. What has become her signature, a tempest of emotion swirled in a teapot of romantic suspense, Reckless Refuge ingratiates itself into your heart by the sheer force of emotion. Every turn of the page wrings out story and character that grab at you, moving you forward when you want to hold off the ending because the story is so good. In fact, that’s probably my favorite part of Cowles’s book: her understanding of how to plot and sequence a story so that you want more while also wanting to hold off.
In Reckless Refuge, Shay and Brody’s chemistry is clear from the moment they meet. Their connection is beautifully wrought, making you want more from them from the very beginning. Shay’s past, though, complicates their journey, although Cowles has crafted a stalwart hero in Brody, an artist with a sense for the darkness in people. When his soul recognizes its own darkness in Shay, you will find yourself lost in their love story. This is trademark Catherine Cowles: beautiful couplings born from tragedies. You cannot help but adore Shay and Brody in this book.
Even more, the themes of this story underscore Cowles’s overall message of living abundantly: the idea of choosing your own family, along with the suggestion that trauma doesn’t have to stop life. In fact, Shay and Brody’s romance is the salve for Reckless Refuge because their pasts are shadowed by tragedy. As that portion of the story is unraveled, as a reader, you will find yourself clinging to the depth of their relationship in the book. The sustained suspense keeps you turning the page like you watch a horror movie: peeking through a hand that covers your eyes. Consider that your warning for Reckless Refuge. If you’re a Catherine Cowles fan, though, this won’t be a surprise.
As is the case with every Catherine Cowles story I’ve read, I adored Reckless Refuge. From the character journeys of Shay and Brody to the inclusion of the Wrecked series gang to the intentional chronology crafted to sustain your anticipation to the most beautiful of happy endings, this book is an adventure, one that will drill into your soul and leave a piece of itself behind.
In love and romance,