‘A Masterpiece of our Love’ – Nikki Lynn Barrett
Two Lives Torn by tragedy: Eight year old Becca and twelve year old Hunter cling to each other and life after surviving a plane crash which stole their families.
Two Souls Seeking Love: Each year from the time she was old enough to travel on her own, Becca met up with Hunter on the island that altered their lives forever. Until he stopped showing. Her constant. Her link to the past. Gone in the blink of an eye.
Two Lives Bound by Secret: Suffering more heartbreak, Hunter returns to the one place he’s always sought comfort. The island where he and Becca met. The place that stole from him, and in the same instance gave to him. He hasn’t been back or spoken to Becca in four years.
Though he’s sure she must hate him for disappearing, Hunter discovers the girl gone, now a woman in her place. Hunter is determined to prove to Becca he isn’t the same twelve year old boy of yesteryear. But someone isn’t happy about their reunion… Strange things begin happening, letters showing up in their hotel rooms and at home with cryptic messages.
Two Broken Hearts Heal as One: With the mystery unsolved, Hunter convinces Becca to spend the remainder of the summer back home with him. For safety and to give them a chance to rediscover the adults they’ve now become. Will love get a chance to blossom or will the past come back and tear the masterpiece of their love apart, once and for all?
About the author:
Nikki Lynn Barrett lives in Arizona with her husband and son. She’s an avid reader, a dreamer, and loves everything about books. She runs a book blog, an online used bookstore, and writes various genres of romance. Nikki can also be found outside with her camera when a storm is near, snapping photo after photo. Her dreams of becoming a writer started when she was young, when she started writing books in one subject notebooks by the fifth grade. ‘The Secret Santa Wishing Well’ is her debut book.
At first I thought this novel would be more of a contemporary romance, focusing on how Becca and Hunter move on from the tragic accident that bound them together. However, Barrett offers something more with the haunting letters that find their way into Hunter and Becca’s lives and it was this element that I thought could have really made more of an impact in the story.
The characters of Becca and Hunter are quite interesting. Readers find more about the accident throughout the novel through Hunter’s flashbacks and this non-linear narrative added flair to the story. Becca, an artist and teacher, has always returned to this island at the same time every year and, for the past four years, Hunter has never showed. She is still loyal to this pact they made and this unwavering devotion starts to come through when Hunter and Becca realise their feelings for each other is more than just friendship. However, what is more unusual is that when experiencing a deeply traumatic or stressful situation, Becca finds her self mute and cannot speak. I thought this was a really unique take on the character and not something I was expecting. It was like I could feel Becca’s frustration about not being able to talk and this was particularly noticeable in the final scenes. As such, this certainly added more dimension to Becca’s character.
On the other hand, I found I just could not trust Hunter at all. Despite him coming across as a hero and protective of Becca, I still felt that there was something he was hiding. Hunter shows he has not been able to deal with the past as well as Becca and the flashbacks and lack of stability really made me question his motives, particularly when the threatening notes arrived. It was this that made me yearn for something a little deeper from the story and I was always hoping that the author would play on this emotional and psychological damage that Hunter is clearly suffering from.
With that in mind, I found the overall plot a little mediocre and wished that Barrett had explored Hunter’s instability a bit more. True, this would have moved this book away from the romance genre but I think it would have made the plot more substantive. For example, when Becca and Hunter find themselves stuck on one of the island’s for the night, there was real opportunity to delve into Hunter’s background. Instead, I was a little disappointed that the two just camp out for the night in an empty holiday home and wait for the morning to come.
My three star rating reflects the average and “plodding” storyline. The ending felt considerably rushed and it felt as if the author was trying to make more of the threatening letters in the final few chapters. As such, the novel concludes on a cliff-hanger and readers are left with little answers about this mysterious character who has been following Becca and Hunter. Instead, we will have to wait until the second book to fully understand the actions of this threatening person. If this had been more of a feature throughout the story, I think the finale would have been better executed and more convincing.
This is an interesting novel to read in terms of characters but I definitely feel there was opportunity to expand on the mystery element of the story. If you are after a happy ending, then this is a book for you. In fact, I think ‘A Masterpiece of our Love’ is certainly the type of book to read on a rainy afternoon when everything outside just seems a little gloomy. Otherwise, if you are after a romance with a bit of a twist, then I don’t think this quite works.
This book was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Excerpt from the novel:
She wondered why he would even bother locking them. The island was fairly isolated and she doubted anyone would try coming in. But with the boat incident, he seemed to be on his guard. Hunter had mentioned more than once today that he thought something was off. He acted a little paranoid. He took her hands in his and helped her climb to feet. He touched the side of her face. “You do look exhausted.” he said quietly. “What a day. If I hadn’t blacked out…”
“You can’t help that you fell overboard!” Why would he even feel guilty for that?
“I spaced out! I lost control and that’s when things went downhill!” Hunter protested. A muscle strained in his neck. He really seemed agitated about the whole ordeal. “I normally pay better attention to the weather, and failed to do that this time, too.”
Becca took his hands in hers, giving them a squeeze. She opened her mouth, hoping the words would come out this time. All that happened were a few squeaks. She stomped her foot in frustration.
Hunter pulled her in his arms again. She leaned against him and soaked in his warmth.
“Don’t try to force the words if they won’t come.” He pleaded softly. Hunter was one of the only people to be so patient with her. When this happened the first time, the only time it had lasted years, her grandparents had yelled, cursed, and belittled her for it. The therapists, doctors, teachers, everyone had made such a fuss about it. She ended up feeling less of herself when she really had been trying. Did they really think she wanted to be like that? To have a lack of communication? Nobody got it.
Tears sprung in her eyes at the memories and she held Hunter even closer. She was content there. She was so glad he came back this year. Despite the few years separation from her friend, she felt right at home with him.
At her sniffle, Hunter tipped her chin up. “You are crying! Aw Bec, why the tears?”
“I think my emotions are going haywire. I’m tired, so I’m a little weepy. I’m so glad you’re back this year.” When she finished signing, his lips curled up in a smile.
“ So am I.” He whispered softly. Something in his eyes resembled longing tugged at her. His hands were still touching her face. He inched closer and parted his lips. Without thinking, Becca reacted. They met midway, his lips crashing over hers. Her thoughts ran a million miles a minute. Did he start this? Or did she? What were they doing? No matter how much she wanted this, the last time they had an almost kiss, he disappeared.
It wasn’t about you, you know this!
It didn’t matter.
She uttered a sound when he deepened the kiss.
His kisses were passionate. So tender. Loving. Inquiring. He drew her closer, tightening his strong hold on her. He held on like he never wanted to let go. A sound escaped his lips, but he didn’t stop. Her heartbeat sped up. She placed a hand on Hunter’s shoulder, then slid it around his neck, running her fingers through his hair. She opened her eyes for a brief second and devoured the sight of Hunter. Then she closed them again, leaning into him. His tongue toyed with her, teasing playfully.
Another loud crack of thunder startled them both. Like kids being caught doing something they shouldn’t, Hunter and Becca pulled apart.
She let out a breath and covered her chest with her hand. She blinked. Hunter stared intently at her.
“I have no idea what came over me. Please know I never meant for that to happen. I don’t want you to think-”
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