Saturday, December 26, 2015

Review: Unwrapping the Castelli Secret by Caitlin Crews

I liked this book a lot.

Be warned, the characters are more than a little bit messed up.

While the rest of the world watched wealthy Rafael Castelli hook up with D-list celebrities, he was having sex with his college age step-sister, Lily, on the side. In public, he treated her as the awkward, brainy little sister, but in dark corners and hidden rooms, he couldn't get enough of her. And she couldn't seem to give him up either. She viewed this an addiction that was bound to destroy her.

When she's involved in a horrible car accident, she thinks she finally has an escape. People begin to assume she's dead, and she allows it.

Then she runs into Rafael five years later. He demands answers as she makes a weak attempt to pretend she doesn't know who he is. Then he catches sight of her son and knows he's the father.

Rafael has been consumed with guilt and grief for years, but now his main priority is his son. He may not be able to win Lily's heart, but he's not going to let her disappear with his son again. I liked the way Rafael and Lily worked through their issues. There isn't any immediate forgiveness. They both need to move past the people they were when they were younger and figure out how they're going to proceed with their future, for the sake of their son and for each other.

Their relationship isn't by any means healthy, and I appreciate that the author made no attempt to gloss over how twisted both characters are in some of their actions
. They're both deceptive and cruel to each other, with clear control issues. I also really liked that the end is not an immediate, "oh, I love you, let's get married" and everything becomes magically perfect.

One thing that bothered me though was the frequent and inconsistent mention of Lily's hair color. Sometimes isn't strawberry blonde and other times it's honey gold. I see those as two different colors. Maybe it wouldn't have bothered me so much if it hadn't been mentioned so often. But her hair color is mentioned every time she is looked at.

Other than the inconsistent hair color, I really liked this story. This story may not appeal to those seeking more traditional or fairy tale like stories, in which the good and bad guys are well defined and their transformations obvious. But for those wanting a story with complex characters and emotions, this works pretty well.

Highly recommend if you're wanting a sexy, steamy holiday read with a bit more (okay, a lot more) angst than a Hallmark holiday movie. These characters had a very rough beginning and have a lot to work through before getting their happy Christmas.

I received a copy of this via NetGalley

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