I absolutely loved the first part of the This Will Hurt Duet and couldn’t wait to read the second part with Roe’s POV on this emotional rollercoaster friends-to-lovers, bisexual awakening, slow burn MM romance. And the second part did not disappoint in the beautiful friendship and all pining and suppressed attraction between Jake and Roe, but there were some parts that I felt conflicted about morally.
The This Will Hurt Duet follows the two friends and business partners Jake and Roe from their first meeting as young and broke film students and onwards over the years as they become best friends, roommates and partners in a very successful travel show and production company. Over the years they get married and have children, but there is always a burning attraction between them. In the first part of the duet, the story was told from Jake’s POV, where we got to see his struggle with internal homophobia and the ‘forbidden’ feelings for his friend. Here in the second part, the story continues from Roe’s POV after him getting married and becoming a father, while still loving Jake.
I love Jake and Roe as a couple, and how they first of all are friends, always there for each other and happy for each other even though it means getting hurt yourself. I also love the way the interacted with each other’s children and how they created a new kind of family with Jake’s ex and sister and the company crew.
But there was a major set-back for me in this part of the duet compared to the first one. Please be aware that there will be spoiler alerts from now on, so stop reading if you haven’t read this book yet.
Cheating is a big no no for me, and even though I can understand and sympathize with the reason behind it, and even though I wanted nothing more than for Jake and Roe to be together, it really made it hard for me to accept the way Cara Dee made it happen. I wish she could have made them achieve that in a different way and without crossing that moral line and making the beautiful love story between Jake and Roe felt petty and dirty.
I also reacted to the way Roe treated Sandra and especially how the post-partum depression was used as a way out from his marriage without making him the bad guy.
“I’m already a secondary character in your life.” Sandra said to Roe.
I completely agree with Sandra here. It felt like Roe was cheating on her long before he did it physically. I think he should have been honest with her way before, and found a way to co-parent instead of holding on and even getting more children together. And the way she completely avoided the twins and refused to get any help without Roe or Sandra’s mother intervening more forcefully just seemed like the author was making up excuses as to why it was ok for Roe to cheat.
There was also something lacking in the passion and angst in regard to the relationship between Jake and Roe. Maybe because Roe didn’t have the same struggle with internal homophobia, commitment issues and denial that Jake had. I can’t help feeling that it might have been better for the story to be told in alternating POVs rather than in two separate installments. But that’s just my personal opinion of course.
But those objections aside, overall, there were so many things I loved about this series and the wonderful relationship between Jake and Roe that only grew stronger over the years. The story was so realistic and authentic, and I truly rooted for Jake and Roe. The love story itself is definitely a five star one, but because of the moral lines that were crossed, I have to settle for a three star rating.
But please don’t let that discourage you from reading this beautiful and emotional story about friendship, love and family. Despite my moral objections it’s still a wonderful story about overcoming internal struggles and past trauma for a chance of true love.
I received a free ARC of this book, which I have voluntarily reviewed.
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All 1 Star 2 Stars 3 Stars 4 Stars 5 Stars Abbi Glines Abby Kaitz Abdi Nazemian Adam Silvera Adib Khorram Aiden Thomas Aisha Saeed Aislinn Brophy AJ Collins Alexandra Christo Alex Beltran Alexene Farol Follmuth Alexis Hall Alex Kelly Alex Sanchez Alice Dolman Alice Oseman Alice Winn Ali Hazelwood Alison Cochrun Al Riske Alwyn Hamilton Amanda Ferreira Amanda Woody A. Meredith Walters Amy Aislin Amy Harmon Amy S. Foster Amy Spalding André Aciman Andy V Roamer Angie Thomas Annabeth Albert A. Poland Ashley Poston Ashley Woodfolk Ashlyn Kane Audrey Coulthurst Ban Gilmartin Becca Fitzpatrick Becky Albertalli Benjamin Alire Saenz Beth Bolden Bill Konigsberg B.L. Maxwell Briar Prescott Bri Spicer Brooke Skipstone Cait Nary Cale Dietrich Cara Dee Casey McQuiston Cassandra Clare Cat Sebastian C.F. White C.G. Drews Charlie Adhara Charli Meadows Chasten Buttigieg Chris Bedell Christina Lauren Christina Lee Ciara Smyth Claerie Kavanaugh Clarissa Pattern C.L. Beaumont Colette Davison Colleen Hoover Courtney Kae Crystal Frasier C.S. Pacat Dallas Smith Daven McQueen David Biddle David Yoon Dean Atta Debbie McGowan Debbie Rigaud Debbie Schrack Deborah Harkness Delia Owens D.G. Carothers Dhonielle Clayton D.N. Bryn Douglas Stuart Dustin Thao Elisa A. Bonnin Elizabeth Acevedo Elizabeth Arroyo Elle Kennedy Elle Wright E.L. Massey E. Lockhart Emery Lee Emily M. Danforth Emily Mims Erin Watt Ernest Cline Evan J. Corbin Eve Morton Everina Maxwell Evie Dunmore Felice Stevens F.T. Lukens Grace Williams Gwen Martin Hannah Grace Hanya Yanagihara Hayden Stone Heather Truett H.E. Edgmon Hettie Bell Holly Black Hope Irving H.S. Valley Hudson Lin Ingrid Sterling Jacob Gelman Jacqueline Lee Jacqueline Woodson James L. Sutter Jamie Deacon Jandy Nelson Jax Calder Jay Hogan Jeanette Winterson Jeff Zentner Jen Bailey Jenna Evans Welch Jenn Burke Jennifer E. Smith Jennifer G. Edelson Jennifer Gilmore Jennifer Iacopelli Jennifer Kropf Jennifer Niven Jenny Downham Jenny Han Jeremy Ray Jesse H. Reign Joelle Lynne John Green Jonny Garza Villa Julianne Donaldson Julian Winters Kacen Callender Kami Garcia Kara Leigh Miller Kasie West Kate Larkindale Katharine McGee Kathleen Mareé Kathy Anderson K.A. Tucker KD Casey Kendall Grey Kevin Van Whye Kiley Reid Kim Fielding Kim Holden Kim Liggett Kitty Bardot Kris Ripper K.S. Marsden Laura Hall Laura Pavlov Laura Silverman Lauren James Lauren Shippen Laurie Frankel Leah Johnson Lee Matthew Goldberg Leigh Bardugo Lex Croucher Leylah Attar Lisa Henry Lisa Williamson Lisa Wingate Liv Rancourt Liz Plum Lola Noire Lynn Michaels Mackenzi Lee Madeline Miller Magdalena Di Sotru Maggie Doolin Maggie Stiefvater Malin Persson Giolito Malorie Blackman Margaret Stohl Marie Lu Mary E. Pearson Mason Deaver Matthew R. Corr M.A. Wardell Melanie Munton Melina Marchetta Meredith Russo Miel Moreland Mila Gray Miranda Kenneally Moa Backe Astot Morgan James M. Tasia Nancy Garden Natalie Haynes Nathaniel Shea Nicholas Sparks Nicola Yoon Nic Starr Nic Stone Nina Kenwood Nita Tyndall Nora Sakavic N.R. Walker Nyla K. Owen Lach Penny Aimes Phil Stamper Quinn Anderson Rachael Brownell Rachael Lippincott Rachel Hawkins Rachel Reid Racquel Marie Rainbow Rowell Ray Stoeve Renée Dahlia Rhiannon Wilde Riley Hart River Braun Roan Parrish Robin Gow Roseanne A. Brown Rowan MacKemsley Ruby Moone Ruta Sepetys Ryan La Sala Sally Green Sally Rooney Sarah J. Maas Sarah Waters Sarina Bowen Sasha Laurens Saundra Mitchell Saxon James Serena Bell Shannon O’Connor Sidney Bell Simone Elkeles Siryn Sueng Sophia DeRise Sophia Soames Sophie Gonzales S.R. Lane Stephen Chbosky Stephenie Meyer Steven Salvatore Susan Mac Nicol Suzanne Collins Tahereh Mafi Tal Bauer Tamara Girardi Taylor Jenkins Reid Teagan Hunter Terry J. Benton-Walker Tiffany D. Jackson Timothy Janovsky T.J. Klune T.L. Bradford Tobly McSmith Tomasz Jedrowski Tomi Adeyemi Tracy Deonn Tucker Shaw Val Wise Veronica Rossi Veronica Roth V.E. Schwab Wesley Chu Victor Dixen Victoria Aveyard V.L. Stuart Xan Van Rooyen Yamile Saied Méndez