Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Tropes: Forbidden romance; alpha- hero; playboy; insta-attraction/love; soulmates; scars; age-gap
Forbidden. Intense. Driving. All of these adjectives describe Penelope Ward’s newest story, Moody. Dax and Wren’s story covers a spectrum of emotions, landing on humor one moment while gutting you the next. Ward puts her readers through their paces. It takes much of the book to feel safe about Dax and Wren’s coupledom. There is much I’d love to say about this book, but to do so would be to ruin it, to reveal this book’s secrets.
What did I like about it?
*I’m a massive fan of the broken MMC, the one who bears the wounds/scars of his past on his soul. He covers them with a fierce facade, but underneath it, he’s wounded and surviving. He hides behind work and impulsive hook-ups. Deep down, though, he wants more, even though he must be coaxed into it. This describes Dax Moody. He also loves hard when he allows himself that measure.
*Unlike Dax, Wren is insightful and intelligent. She’s interesting as she’s both a massage therapist and a gifted cello player. One of my favorite moments involves Wren telling Dax about the power of sharing stories from a third-person perspective. As Wren weaves the tale of her past, she forces him to consider his own story while also creating THE moment (I believe) when begins to fall in love with her. While she is younger than Dax, she’s much more intuitive about relationships than him. She carries her own wounds, but she’s found a way to move beyond them, while he is still tethered by them.
*The big secret of Moody is compelling, although I figured it out before its revelation. Also, it’s the driving force behind Dax and Wren’s inability to be together even though they love each other desperately (something that Ward crafts beautifully in her story). It is also where my most considerable criticism lies with this story because I struggled with the believability of the reasons for forgoing a relationship. Maybe my ethical filter is too gray, but I think Ward misses on developing those reasons in a way that could be believable for her readers.
*The supporting cast of characters in Moody provides layers to their story. They are all flat characters, but they act in specific ways to provide a gradient of color to this book.
Penelope Ward’s Moody is sometimes torturous, mainly because she writes two characters who seem reasonably real. She invests you in their story, making you want them to be together. Unfortunately, she asks you to wait on it, so you find yourself emotionally wrecked by their choices. It is never too overwhelming, but it’s angsty enough that, by the book’s end, its sweet HEA provides the perfect salve.
In love and romance,