STARRED REVIEW
March 27, 2018

A moving conclusion to Rai’s acclaimed series

By Alisha Rai
Review by

Alisha Rai concludes her emotional Forbidden Hearts series with a love story between an heiress struggling to live life on her own terms and her tattooed, very much off-limits crush.

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Alisha Rai concludes her emotional Forbidden Hearts series with a love story between an heiress struggling to live life on her own terms and her tattooed, very much off-limits crush.

Evangeline Chandler has suffered greatly trying to live up to her father’s expectations. Emotional abuse doesn’t even begin to cover it. She’s determined to make decisions for herself from now on to ensure her own happiness, which results in a beautiful, satisfying arc that unfolds alongside the romantic plot.

For years, Eve has crushed on Gabriel Hunter, though her love is seemingly unrequited. Gabe rejected her in the past and Eve has never forgotten it. Gabe is not only much older than her, but he’s also “the help,” and one of her brother’s friends. All of which are things Eve knows should keep her away. But despite Gabe’s rejection of Eve in the past, he’s been harboring his own feelings. He knows he can’t offer her the future she deserves. She has money to burn and her family’s clout and, in his mind, he’s just the son of a housekeeper. But nothing is insurmountable in romance!

When Eve and Gabe are forced together for a wedding weekend, avoiding each other becomes impossible and it quickly becomes clear there’s more chemistry between them than either previously thought. Eve’s growth as a self-assured woman is one of the best aspects of Hurts to Love You. Floundering under the opinions and expectations of others, Eve realizes that she needs to take ownership of her life, and one of the first steps to doing that is admitting her attraction to Gabe. That’s easier said than done—both are working to overcome toxic family dynamics and painful moments in their past, and are also hopelessly shy and awkward at times. But the emotional fallout of Eve shedding her shell and Gabe coming clean is balanced by how utterly helpless they are in each other’s presence.

It’s an irresistible attraction and Rai writes it seamlessly. Her ability to capture raw and realistic emotions is such a strength. Every conflict feels real and twists the reader’s heart. Every tender moment will make you sigh. Hurts to Love You is an emotional rollercoaster that you’ll want to ride again and again.

Additionally, any loose ends leftover from the previous Forbidden Hearts installments are satisfactorily resolved. While Hurts to Love You is still an amazing read on its own, the relationships and histories of books one and two add a depth that should not be missed. The only bad thing about this book is accepting that it’s the end of the series. Surely, Rai won’t deprive us of more romance for long.

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