Published 1st May 2022
My rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
When a strange girl stumbles out of the woods injured and barely conscious, five strangers become incredibly invested in her wellbeing. When she awakes, she has no idea who she is or where she’s come from, she just knows that she feels an uncontrollable need to be near the five men who stuck by her hospital bed. The five men feel the same undeniable pull towards this strange woman with no memory. When it becomes clear that she’s in danger, the five strangers take it upon themselves to hide away with her while they try and piece together who she is, what happened to her and what it has to do with them. What they uncover will turn all of their lives upside down and make them realise that the danger is just beginning.
I was super keen to check this book out when I read the synopsis. I love the idea of a main character experiencing amnesia after escaping what would appear to be some form of program or scientific experiment or any other numerous harrowing things that they could have possibly escaped. I think that the blurb gave me a different idea on what to expect, so it did take me a little bit to get right into the story, but by the two thirds through I felt invested in the characters and what was going to happen to them.
The story opens and we meet the woman while she’s on the run and trying to make her way to warn five strangers of something. So right away the mystery and intrigue is real. The POVs switch every chapter between the woman, and the five men she’s trying to find her way to – Micah, Lukas, Bennet, Jackson and Luis. Micah and Lukas have history, and If I’m being completely honest, I was mostly invested in their story than anything else. I really want a book that tells their history and their story, I was so here for their love and tension and them working through their problems, theis relationship was probably what kept me reading. Luis has been following Bennet attempting to discover more about himself and his mother’s death, and dear Jackson is just Jackson with no knowledge of the other guys prior to this event.
I really enjoyed the characters that Rathe has created. They’re all three dimensional and have amazing depth. From the get go these characters jumped off the page and were real. Micah and Lukas are probably my favourites for reasons mentioned above. Our Jane Doe was very well written and I loved learning more about her and what she’s been through and where she’s come from. The character relationships were well written, and even though it had a bit of the instalove thing going on, it was viable because of things yet to be discovered about how the characters are connected and ultimately what ever was happening to Jane Doe and what she was a part of. I will admit, as said above Micah and Lukas and their relationship was my favourite thing about this book, the other relationships felt a little bit clunky and a tiny bit forced and awkward at times to me, though this could be explained away by the fact that they are literal strangers with no idea how they’re all connected or why they’re feeling the things that they are feeling. The spice was definitely there, once again, I enjoyed the scenes between Micah and Lukas the most, and the other scenes worked for sure, I just felt that it may have worked a bit better for me had these scenes happened a little later in the story, once the character relationships had a chance to develop a bit more.
The story itself had an interesting premise, and I feel that this instalment was definitely setting things up. The little revelations were well planned and executed and I’m interested to see how things develop. I knew that a certain character mentioned had something to do with our Jane Doe from first mention, but I don’t feel like that was supposed to be a mystery, I might be wrong though. I have a rough idea on what I THINK is going on, but I’m still interested to see what happens and get some answers. This instalment does end on a cliff hanger.
All in all, this was a wonderful debut novel, Rathe has a wonderful voice and I just know that as she progresses through her writing career she is only going to get better and better at what she does. I commend her on her success on publishing this story and I look forward to seeing what she does next. This is definitely an author to watch, she is adept at her craft and can write characters that are very well rounded. I did find the story itself to not flow as well as I’d like, but I can’t even really explain why, and as said in the beginning, I think I was expecting a story told mostly from the Jane Doe’s perspective so was a bit thrown when she appeared more as a plot device than a main character, once I wrapped my mind around that though, the story became more engaging. I look forward to seeing what happens with this story and at this stage plan to continue the series – I do want to know what exactly was happening to our Jane Doe in whatever experimental place she was in and what they were doing with the information.