I was lucky enough to meet Alisha Rai at RT in May, see her speak on an amazing panel, AND receive an ARC of Hate to Want You. Plus when I told her how much a good friend identified with her characters she gave me an ARC for her. I went there already a fan but left knowing that she was firmly on my auto-buy list.
This is a second chance, forbidden love Romeo & Juliet type book without all of the suicide which as a description is not mine but I wish it was because it’s so apt. The angst in this book is palpable from the beginning. We have two warring families and a couple that was torn apart by tragedy. That sounds so heavy and like something I’d have to be really in the mood to read but I cant tell you right now I will always be in the mood for this book. I can’t imagine ever not wanting to reading something this well written.
Nicholas and Livvy grew up together, their fathers being best friends and owning a large grocery store chain together. The two fall in love and their families encourage it and all is fabulous until the tragedy and secrecy strike when Nicholas’s mother and Livvy’s father were killed in a car accident. Everyone is unaware of any reasons the two would have to be alone together going to a lake house. Blame is thrown around and to add fuel to an already intense fire Nicholas’s father buys out Livvy’s family shares for an incredibly low price.
See? Angst. Tragedy. Secrecy. If you like those things you will LOVE this book.
But if you don’t like those things? You will LOVE this book.
For one thing it is intensely passionate book. Nicholas and Livvy have met every year without fail for a one-night stand. When she returns home the book is just beginning and the sexual tension is immediate and jumps off the page. What I love so much about Rai’s writing style is that I *know* these characters. I *know* their family. All of the above sounds complicated. And it is. But I wasn’t confused, I just kind of got wrapped up in the characters and the depth of the family dynamics. I am hoping for so much more to the family dynamics in future books because I feel like there is more there!
In terms of pure pleasure and relief, he imagined the feeling he got when he received a text from Livvy was similar to what an addict felt when they got a hit of whatever drug they craved.
“You’re not my secret anymore. My love for you is bigger than anyone who might try to tear us apart.” He paused. “I won’t leave you, Livvy. You don’t have to trust me completely right now, but watch me. Watch me fight for you this time.”
I LOVE strong heroines and Livvy is strong but vulnerable in the best of all combinations. She’s a tattoos artist, which I think is just a badass profession, no matter the gender. Plus she deals with depression and I thought the way the author handled that was perfection. Another strong point for this book is of course the multicultural aspect. It’s an interracial couple as well. Diversity in romance is super under represented or is at least under represented in bestsellers so it’s always something I love to see. Representation matters for all of the above – diversity, mental health issues, strong heroines – all of these things can be powerful to see in the books we read so to see them all in one place kind of blew me away. And to have that place be in a sexy romance? SOLD.
“Society tells women that they have to be responsible for the emotional health of their relationships and then tells them they’re weak for feeling emotions. What kind of message is that?”
Buy this book. Then buy her back list. Then join me in the wait for her next releases and auto buy them all.
Rating: 5 stars
Title: Hate to Want You
Author: Alisha Rai
Release Date: July 25, 2017