Publication Date: June 23, 2015
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Growing up, Hallie Hartley was forced to give up everything for her Victoria Secret model look-a-like step-sister, Shelly. Not only did she “give up” her boyfriends to Shelly, she gave up her dream college. Now Shelly is pressuring Hallie to sell her beloved childhood home and give her half the proceeds. All pampered Shelly does is take, take, take. She always gets what she wants.
Well, at least until Hallie comes home early one day to find Shelly impersonating her. Hallie learns that she has unexpectedly inherited a house on the island of Nantucket. Shelly pretended to be her in order to steal the house out from under Hallie. That’s not the worst of it, either. Shelly had planned to pretend she was a physical therapist just like Hallie is. Shelly was going to rehabilitate a ski injury for rich man staying in the house. Hallie is mortified and makes a split decision. She hops on a private jet to Nantucket to care for the injured man herself.
Halllie’s first impression of Jamie Taggert isn’t great. He’s exactly what she expected: a rich, gorgeous, pampered man. But as she works with him, her impression changes. Maybe this rich guy isn’t just a spoiled brat after all. Maybe there’s more to his story than Hallie realizes.
My rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Ever After is the first novel I’ve read by Jude Deveraux. I’m kind of wishing it wasn’t right now. I wish I would have read another of her novels prior to reading Ever After so I had something to compare it to. She’s obviously a very well respected and popular author. I can see why. So, then why the 2.5 star review? Well, let me explain.
The first 30% of this book killed me. Killed me. I honestly couldn’t believe what I was reading. I hated Hallie. First, she had no big reaction to Shelly’s betrayal. I know she was shocked and was generally a doormat, but Shelly was trying steal a house from her! A house!
Second, when Jamie meets Hallie he looks her up and down and likes what he sees. Hallie immediately jumps on him and tells him off. I know she was tired of guys using her to get to Shelly, but it still seemed out of character for her. Especially with how fast she changed her impression of Jamie. The next thing I know, she’s telling him she’ll stop putting her breasts in his face when she’s treating him if he doesn’t do something.
My biggest reason for hating the first 30% of the book, though, was Hallie’s night visits to Jamie. When Hallie hears Jamie having nightmares, she goes to his room. She sees he’s taken sleep medication and that she won’t be able to wake him up. Hallie tries to sooth him…by kissing him. (Kissing him? I thought she couldn’t stand him?) Then, when he pulls her into bed with him, she sleeps next to him. This continues nightly and she never tells him. It comes to a point where she almost has sex with him while he’s sleeping.
This was so wrong in so many ways. It made me want to put the book down and DNF. I get that she was just trying to sooth him, but it became more when she didn’t tell him and didn’t stop her actions. She was taking advantage of him while he was under the influence of drugs, whether she meant it that way or not. I just kept thinking that if the roles had been reversed and Jamie was doing that to Hallie, it wouldn’t fly. It would be equated to a guy trying to sleep with a drunk girl. I know it was probably meant to be cute or something, but all it did was anger me.
Obviously, I kept reading. Ever After did get better. The second 2/3 of the book was really good. It was almost like the first 1/3 of the book never happened. If the book had started at 2/3 I would have rated it 4 stars. I was pulled into the story. Jamie and Hallie falling for each other was cute. I loved what the ghost story added to their romance. I also absolutely adored Jamie and his entire family. There were some really good twists, too.
Would I recommend it? Well, I’ve seen a lot of 5 star reviews out there, so it’s obvious other people love the story. I’m sure Jude Deveraux fans will love it. I did really enjoy it after the creeper parts were over.
I would like to thank Ballantine Books for the opportunity read and honestly review an ARC of Ever After.
Other books in the Nantucket Brides Series: