I don’t even remember when or how I stumbled across the first of Marla’s books, but ever since, we’ve become great buddies and supporters of one another on Twitter.I’ve always longed to write my own book and would be so terrified of any feedback; after all, is your own writing not a reflection of your own soul and being!? This review has been a long time sat in my WordPress drafts, eager to jump out into the real world to shout about how fantastic this book is -written and re-written, edited and re-edited! I just hope it now does Marla and her beautiful writing justice – and makes her writer’s soul feel good!
The first book in the ‘Road’ series is called ‘The Road Back’ (my blogpost can be found here – https://thisgirlreadssite.wordpress.com/2018/04/22/the-road-back-by-marla-machado/?preview=true ) and follows the gorgeous story of Karina, a young widow of Jason and mother of two girls, and her first true love, Sawyer (yum). One of my absolute favourites. This second book is a follow-on, a continuation of sorts. Hannah is Karina’s sister, whilst her love interest, Ian, was Jason’s best friend and colleague (and also previously held a flame to Karina…awkward!).
This book opens at Karina and Sawyer’s wedding (spoiler alert for the first installment) and Hannah has just woken up in a strange hotel room, sore and woozy-headed, after a drunken-night with Ian. This comes years and years after flirtations and pining for him, so works out well for Hannah, though the walk-of-shame guilt does nothing for her ego to begin. Ian on the other hand is a little uneasy with the situation, this is Karina’s younger sister after all. That said, he comes around to the idea, though he has many bumps along the way, and the chemistry is undeniable! But of course, loves path never runs smoothly and, amongst plenty of other things (fighting personal demons, a kidnap, deaths, births and ER visits), there’s also plenty of love, ‘steam’ (ooh la la) and ‘stick’ to this book to make you want to keep on reading even after the very last page.
In comparison to the first book, there is absolutely 100% more drama and grit in this second installment and I love it! Of course, there is still the fabulously written, erotically charged scenes – I mean, this is a Marla Marchado book, guys. But there’s also so many twists and turns, shifts in time and place, you just never know how it’s going to end – and yet it’s written so cleverly, you follow the story the whole way along and are left wanting more from each page.
Marla’s writing style is clever, it’s easy, like having a conversation with a friend and catching up on all the gossip in a coffee shop or a bar. Her characters become like people you’ve known for years and the character development is flawless, considering how many crossovers and how much history Marla includes. I adore that we still have Karina and Sawyer in the picture, very much in the action of the key storyline; here we are introduced properly to their wider circle, the people who make them who they are (or were in the first novel)- I feel like I understand Karina even more after reading this book. Though they feature in this book, they do not dominate it; it really is a fresh story and fresh storyline developed for Hannah and Ian. I also have high hopes for a third book in the pipeline, maybe Ms Marchado…?!
A beautiful addition to this book are the opening dedications. The first is a loving shout-out to Marla’s daughter, Leah, and the second is a touching tribute for the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in 2018.
I wholeheartedly recommend this book to all ladies out there. Ideally, read the first book first (support an author now, come on!) for the full backstory, but this book also works perfectly as a stand-alone novel – Marla gives enough detail for you to catch up on the gist of it, as it does form part of the key character developments to begin the novel. After all, this is all about Hannah and Ian, a new chapter in the ‘Road’ series, and hopefully the middle installment of a trilogy (is this enough hints that I want a third!?). It’s a bit of everything in this one; plenty of love, lust and action, superbly written by a very talented lady.