Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Tropes: second chance romance; enemies to lovers; a bit romantic suspense; fated lovers
A.L. Jackson’s Never Look Back, the third book of her Redemption Hills series, is a whirlwind of emotion. It follows the youngest of the Lawson brothers. Much like his older brothers Trent and Jud, Logan’s past comes back to trouble him. However, this trouble is an opportunity to reunite with the love of his life, Aster. How this occurs makes for a journey of a thousand tears, but in true A.L. Jackson fashion, they eventually find their happy ending. Unfortunately, you must walk a broken road to get there.
Logan and Aster’s story is one of second-chance romance. They are fated souls who have been separated by seven years. This makes for a slow-burn story because, at their reunion, they despise each other due to the hurt perpetrated on them. Jackson uses dual points of view and flashbacks to provide her readers with the depth of their story. There are nuances to it that require the reader’s complete understanding of their background as a means to accept their choices. As such, this book is a sleepy read. I usually read romances in a day to a day and a half. This one took me longer than my average because Jackson doesn’t hold back on the details.
Aster’s characterization requires her to be reticent to reunite with Logan. There are keen reasons for it, and Jackson asks you to be patient with her acceptance of him back into her life. However, the pull between the two makes it difficult for her to continue to say “no.” She is tenacious and resilient, and she doesn’t allow Logan to push her around too much.
And Logan’s is a complex rendering in that he hides his vulnerability about Aster behind his seemingly easy-going, comedic nature or stern exterior. However, don’t be fooled by his facade. Deep inside Logan is a reservoir of pain. Their journey of reconciliation exposes it, allowing him to be eventually vulnerable with Aster. This dichotomy of Logan’s identity provides complexity to Jackson’s story.
Additionally, Jackson’s style is poetry once again. Her fragments, the incorporated poems at the hand of Aster, and the marriage of fragments with complex sentences create the ebb and flow of the story. Jackson’s voice is distinct, poetry in motion. It sets her apart from most romance authors.
Entering A.L. Jackson’s Never Look Back requires you to gird your emotional loins. Aster and Logan’s story is angsty, emotional, and heartrending. As you open the book to its first pages, grab those tissues and prepare yourself for an impassioned journey infused with eroticism, agony, and abiding, abundant love.
In love and romance,