Sunday, April 13, 2014

Christie's Review: The Will by Kristen Ashley


Title: The Will
Series: Magdalene Series
Author: Kristen Ashley
Release Date: April 8, 2014
Rating: 4 stars
Cliffhanger: No

Early in her life, Josephine Malone learned the hard way that there was only one person she could love and trust: her grandmother, Lydia Malone. Out of necessity, unconsciously and very successfully, Josephine donned a disguise to keep all others at bay. She led a globetrotting lifestyle on the fringes of the fashion and music elite, but she kept herself distant.

While Josephine was trotting the globe, retired boxer Jake Spear was living in the same small town as Lydia. There was nothing disguised about Jake. Including the fact he made a habit of making very bad decisions about who to give his love.

But for Josephine and Jake, there was one person who adored them. One person who knew how to lead them to happiness. And one person who was intent on doing it.

Even if she had to do it as her final wish on this earth.

Was this highly anticipated, shiny new Kristen Ashley book worth the wait? My personal opinion…

Short answer:

Long answer:

This book had more of the vintage KA feel that many readers fell in love with but for me, the heroine held me back from completely loving the book. I had a very hard time relating to her and because of that connecting to her. Initially, when I read the sample chapters before release date, I knew right away that she was not appealing to me and I hoped that the Hero would ultimately soften her up and make her more likable. I was counting on that. Because really, how Josie comes off in much of the first half of the book is cold, unfeeling, snobby, and vain. (And also a little strange.) If it were anybody else writing this, I would have quit this book too soon. But yes, Josie did have a lot of self-discovery, introspection, and she went through a gradual change into someone more real and relatable.

Josie in the beginning is so cold she's like an ice queen. But that's understandable somewhat because she's just come home from her jet setting lifestyle in the fashion industry to take care of her grandmother's affairs who has just passed away. Seeing as this woman was the one person in her life who has never let her down and has always loved her unconditionally, it was expected that she was not going to be happy or overly friendly. But this wasn't the full explanation for her behavior. She's stiff and extremely dignified. And when I say that, I mean that the way she talks is like she's out of a Victorian England novel. The word indeed was used 76 times. She uses phrases like, "You cad!" And other less used words like Pugilist rather than boxer. Goodbye instead of Later. Everything out of her mouth is the definition of formal. You learn that this is coming from a place of protection. A place where she's been hurt so badly that she uses a mask to keep people out and isolate herself. Her grandmother knew this though and decided to make it her goal to break through that outer layer to the softhearted girl she knew and release her into the world. And this was her last wish and was discovered in her will.

Jake "the truck" is a boxer, family man, business owner, and just an all-around loyal and trustworthy guy. Kristen Ashley has a talent for writing the best Alpha Heroes and as usual she didn't disappoint. There isn't anything I can think of to dislike about him from beginning to end. He was crazy sexy, take charge, protective and jealous, and he knew how to "handle his woman with care". He gave her an adorable nickname, called her Babe in his growling, rumbly voice, and put his kids first. All the things we've come to love in KA heroes was there and I relished all of it.

Jake looks past Josie's behavior and attitude in the beginning because he was friends with her grandmother for years and she taught him all about the real Josie. He knew everything about her but in 5 years, they never once met. Hanging around Jake you see her softening up, growing, changing and allowing people in. She goes from a person who claims to not like or understand kids to swooping in and saving the day in the life of Jake's teenage kids' crises. She coaches them, advises them, and becomes a part of their everyday life until she becomes their defender and champion and falls in love with not only them, but falls hard for their father. Her growth is noticeable and satisfying to see.

Overall, it had a rocky start, and I didn't love all of it, but there was still so much to enjoy if you hang in there. You may not have as much of a problem with the heroine with me, these are my personal feelings. Or you may hate her from beginning to end and feel like she never redeems herself. If you are a big Kristen Ashley fan, you most definitely still will need to give it a chance. It not one of my favorites of hers but I'm still looking forward to the next books in the series. Which, by the way, if she doesn't write a book for Mickey, the hot boxer and firefighter that gives Jake a run for his money in this book....I'm going to have to complain long and hard.


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