Book Review – Look After You by Elena Matthews

by Maryse on May 11, 2014 · 13 comments

in My Book Reviews

Look After You
I heard of this one for the first time on Friday, while putting together the bargain list and wow! That TITLE??!! That BLURB?!! That COVER!??? I couldn’t help myself. I had to read it now! It seemed to be promising an uber-angsty romance read full of love triangle decisions and pain (and maybe even happiness).

But it wasn’t just that, that had my attention. It was the hint that I was about to experience something deep, and heartrendingly meaningful. I could “see” it, you know? Something this big, equally emotionally unfortunate… and uplifting (depending one which character you are). I could absolutely see it happening in a time of emotional crisis. Just on the synopsis, alone, I imagined it would have a “real” feel, a lot of soul searching and a big finale that could honestly… go either way. I wasn’t reading “predictable” in that synopsis, and I was SO excited (albeit super-nervous) for the potentially destructive and/or healing journey I imagined it would take me on.

So what’s it about?

Ava’s happy new life (she’s pregnant and in love with her handsome soldier <— *sigh* it already had me right there) goes awry when she prematurely goes into labor and gives birth to her 2lb baby daughter.

“I’m sorry, baby. I wish more than anything that you were still inside of me, keeping you safe, but it’s okay, we can make it work. I’ve tried to call Daddy, but he’s fighting the bad guys so you won’t get to meet him for a while yet. He will be devastated that he missed this.”

Mostly alone (her fiancé, Sebastian, is serving a tour in Afghanistan) she spends her days watching over her tiny baby in the hospital, praying that she will survive (all the while, missing the love of her life and worrying about his own safety). And she begins breaking down from heartache, worry and exhaustion.

But there is a certain *light* to her suddenly dark days by way of her baby’s handsome doctor, “Ashton Bailey” (*sigh* it had me there, too). ;) His gentle demeanor, attentive care, and concern not just for the baby, but also for the mother provides her a certain comfort and hope.

“Thank you,” I whisper, in awe. He has quickly become my favorite person. He let me hold my daughter’s hand. He has made my day just that little more bearable and he even managed to put a smile on my face.

Which sparks a lingering crush…

This is ridiculous. I am engaged. I am in love with Sebastian. Doctor Bailey shouldn’t be making me feel like this.

No. It must be the hormones. It is the hormones. I am not attracted to him. I just miss Sebastian, that’s all. I’m feeling this because I miss Sebastian.

…which in turn develops into a more personal friendship, and then… ?

And that’s where I’m stopping. ;)

‘Cause you know… there’s more.

And while I enjoyed it very much for the most part (I wanted to read it to the very end), I was left slightly… disappointed.

There was just SO much potential to this story. So many personal, emotional facets and connections and conversations and love *dramas* that it could have explored. And while it touched (and maybe even delved into) quite a few of them, I was left somewhat unsatisfied. I did sort of have a “team” that I was rooting for. But I wanted to be fully invested in that team. Or I wanted to be fully torn. Alas, there was just not enough one on one time (in my opinion) with either of the love potentials, nor with her own self, for me to fully connect to anyone.

In fact, while I could completely see (and maybe even understand) something like this happening, there wasn’t enough info, history or enough present “living” for me to see why each one was so highly invested in the other (and that applies to all of them). I wasn’t attached to them because of my experience “living” them. I was more attached to them on principle. Urging myself to connect at least in some way… by what I was imagining was going on (or had gone on) in their lives (past or present) for them to feel so strongly now.

Mind you, we do get some of those endearing, silly-sweet “get-to-know-you” scenes that gave me a few butterflies. We do. But to me, for the BIG potential of this kind of story? I just didn’t get enough of it, you know?

In fact, I was actually surprised at the detour it took. I did read that part in the synopsis about her “secret demons”. Her dark past. But it’s like my mind was so overwhelmed by the sad story/love story potential of that synopsis, that I blanked out the rest of it. And I didn’t expect it to be what it ended up being (and WARNING!! That part is DARK. Abuse triggers… and all that).

But to me? For a deep story like this… a baby fighting for her life, deep loneliness and worry for her amazing fiancé that is out there risking his life daily and that incredible comfort/connection forged with the very one that could save her baby.. in turn saving her? Yep. I could see the HUGE dilemma and conflict. To me? It didn’t need that “other” over-the-top angle that seemed to take up way to much of her story. She had enough going on, and exactly what I wanted to read about… ONLY what I wanted to read about, as it was. The “extra” drama, and a few of the er… “tantrums”, just seemed a little out of place in a deep story such as this one.

I dunno… there was just something about this synopsis and story-line that gave me a “Megan Hart” feel and I suppose I went in expecting… that. I was wanting my heart to be ripped right out of my chest, I was wanting to be deeply in love with two WONDERFUL and so very deserving men. I was dying for that kind of personal depth and deep (yet uncomfortable) romantic connection. I was hoping to be unable to choose. Or if I was able to choose, I was hoping to be so fully invested that I would have been screaming about this book from the rooftops, no matter what the outcome.

Did she choose right? Ahhhh… I can’t say anymore.

*grumble grumble grumble* <— hehe. That’s the only hint I’ll give you on what “team” I was on, and yes… maybe I’m just a  bit disgruntled. :P I will say that I was sad for one, and I would have been absolutely destroyed if I had had the opportunity to have been even more connected to said character. But I hear his book is next, and I think I’m just invested enough to want to read it.

Good story (maybe even very good)! Good writing but with a few hiccups that didn’t “feel” right to the flow of it overall, and kept me slightly on the outside of it. And yet, I connected well enough to feel many parts, and will definitely be looking into book #2. I just gotta know where it “goes” from here.

3.5 stars! (I struggled between 3 stars and 4 stars depending on what part of the book I was on, so i’m settling on 3.5 stars).

P.S. This doesn’t have a cliffhanger, so no worries. Book #2 is a continuation of the story but with another character.

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Sylvia May 11, 2014 at 9:13 PM

This line caught my eye in your review…” I was wanting to be deeply in love with two WONDERFUL and so very deserving men.”….
I got this exact feeling reading ‘So much it hurts’ by ‘Melanie Dawn. Loved it!

Jody K May 11, 2014 at 9:13 PM

I have just finished this one too and I have to agree I didn’t quite feel it enough. I wanted the heart hurting, screaming at the kindle angsty torment but it didn’t come. Don’t get me wrong, still loved it but just missed a little something. :)

Rachel May 11, 2014 at 9:19 PM

Hmmm…I’m always torn whether I should read or not when you say you’re not fully invested, but so many things about this book call to me. I also had a 2lb preemie daughter (now a healthy, happy 18 month old!), and I love the intensity of Megan Hart’s stories. So, maybe I’ll give this one a try and see where this author can take me. I feel like I’m always on a search for the ache!

Maryse May 11, 2014 at 9:31 PM

Thank you Sylvia!!! :D I’ll check it out.

Maryse May 11, 2014 at 9:34 PM

Rachel, oh yes I get you. It totally called to me, so I know how you’re feeling. I liked it (really liked it!), even despite my “issues” with that added past drama/twist that I could have done without. The emotional/romance aspect and angst was enough to keep me reading. It just (for me) could have been even more. But plenty good! :D I hope that helps.

Amy May 12, 2014 at 11:19 AM

I struggled with this one. Started it Friday evening and *just* finished it this morning. I even started another book midway through it. It wasn’t the topics or content, I just couldn’t connect with any of them no matter how hard I tried. I finally figured I needed to stop trying to make fetch happen and just started skimming. To be honest, I’m pretty sure it was because I was hoping for a Thoughtless level of angst, which I didn’t get. It’s not the book’s fault I like to be worked over like that. ;)

I keep reading that Tempt My Heart has some gut churning going on in it, so I’m thinking maybe that or the Nova and Quinton series? Coin toss time…

Amy May 12, 2014 at 11:26 AM

And Rachel, you *should* give this one a try. There is emotional turmoil and angst, but for me it wasn’t the level I was craving. Then again, I like getting an angst beat down most of the time so you shouldn’t base your decision on my opinion. ;)

Maryse May 12, 2014 at 11:31 AM

Okay Amy let’s do Tempt My Heart next. I wanna!! YOU?

Amy May 12, 2014 at 11:53 AM

Okay, I’m in!! Tempt My Heart it is! :D

cheryl May 12, 2014 at 8:34 PM

I just read Tempt My Heart! It definitely is a tearjerker, but in a different way than I expected going into it. More past than present. I’m not sure it was to the level of angst and turmoil that say Thoughtless was, but it was a good. Jordon was so *sigh* and reminiscent of Kellan. Also, just finished The Year We Fell Down. It was a sweet story with minimal angst. I think I need something with some definite emotional turmoil and angst now.Just not sure what that is. :)

ashley May 12, 2014 at 11:42 PM

I know where you are coming from on your *team*. I think it is the Arsen Effect. Or at least that’s what I was thinking of when I wanted to hate where she was mentally. It didn’t have that soul destroying angst. But I was OK with what was there and how they handled it. One would hope that not all second decisions have you seeing your child from the far side of the road….

fabs May 13, 2014 at 1:35 PM

None of you had a problem with the grammar? It kept tripping me up and pulling me out of the story. The point of view of the writing and the awkward phrasing had me hard put to stay invested. Then to top it off, the plot had too much going on and I feel like the research into those things didn’t delve deeply enough to portray them accurately in the story.

I really had a problem with this one. :-(

Marisa May 13, 2014 at 8:40 PM

I had to stop. The story is not believable at all, although medically correct. As the mother of a preemie myself, I can guarantee that after a C section, seeing your baby for the first time, there is no way, no way, that a woman would look at a twice, notice his good looks or feel anything for a man while visiting her baby in the NICU for the first time, That made the story completely non believable. I might have bought it if it had happened slowly, starting after she had settled a bit. So, not believing the story and crying non-stop because her expression of the emotions of a preemie’s mother are spot on and it being so medically correct that it took me back to that agony, I’m giving it a pass. I’m deleting it from my device.

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