Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Tropes: opposites-attract; forced proximity (next-door neighbors); brother’s long-time friend; romantic suspense; found family
“‘Tell me it’s worth it,’ I blurted out.
‘What’s worth it?’
‘Letting someone in. Letting them get close enough that they could destroy you if they wanted to.’
‘I might sound like a goddamn greeting card, but it’s worth everything,’ he rasped.”
I know that one of my favorite messages in romance is the idea of needing to become vulnerable when falling in love. That internal fight shading the journey of an MMC and FMC is both delicious and compelling. And Lucy Score’s newest tome, Things We Hide From the Light draws on this message in a way that gobbles your heart.
Score doesn’t leave it for just one of the characters; she weaves it into the stories of both Nash and Lina. Both of them initially fight against allowing the other into their emotional lives in any meaningful way. The book’s first half is a figurative tug-of-war between an overwhelming attraction to the other and a need to protect their hearts and souls. Score balances these conflicting emotions beautifully, giving us an inch and pulling us back a mile when these two opposites, Nash as the black and white officer of the law and Lina as the arbiter of the gray areas. Honestly, their journey is decadent, with Score offering up a five-course meal of story, character development, universe-building, emotion, and spice. Every turn of the page promises more investment into Nash and Lina’s story.
What are the big takeaways?
Score is a wordsmith, threading words together into sentences weighted in their truth.
Nothing is better than a “girl gang” in a romance story, and the combination of Naomi, Sloane, and Lina is a roundhouse kick of women’s power. When these three live on the page, the story is heightened. You find yourself either laughing or crying at their camaraderie.
The bonus epilogue will legitimately give you a cavity. It’s sweet and heartfelt, and I left this book hating to leave Lina and Nash to their life.
As I was reading, I reveled in the way that Score takes her time in telling Nash and Lina’s story, as well as the bigger story of the first two books: the one about Duncan Hugo. There is some resolution to it, BUT I don’t think it’s “done done.” I’m thankful that Lucy Score doesn’t feel the need to rush her story or character development, and there was no point in the book when I felt it was repetitive or redundant. Each cycle of Nash and Lina’s journey moved them closer to the abundant love neither really thought they’d find. Lucy Score allowed that space to build it.
Mr. Studly Do-Right is a dreamboat, even when he’s dark. I love me a dark-to-light trope, and Score uses it brilliantly to allow Lina to shine. One of my other favorite parts of romance is how an FMC or MMC truly sees the other person. Score utilizes this trope to draw Nash out of the dark. Because Lina recognizes his pain due to her own past trauma, he can be seen and work towards healing. This truth plays beautifully into the developing vulnerability between Nash and Lina.
One of the best moments of TWHFTL is a skydiving moment. It seems trivial, but Score uses it to impart an important life lesson, one needed for her characters and one needed for us.
If you’re a dog lover, then Piper will steal your heart. She adds another layer to Score’s interrogation of being brave to love.
It is without a doubt that I will read whatever Lucy Score has cooked up. Just as she did with Things We Never Got Over, she has written her heart into Things We Hide From The Light. As readers, it behooves us to take it to heart, reminding ourselves that loving bravely will make us better people.
In love and romance,