Sunday, November 1, 2015

Review: It's Only Love by Marie Force

It’s Only Love by Marie Force
Series: Green Mountain, Book 5
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Contemporary Romance Its Only Love Cover
ISBN: 9780425275504
Release Date: November 3, 2015
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Ella Abbott has long been secretly in love with Gavin Guthrie. A few recent encounters have only added to her infatuation, especially the kiss they shared at her sister’s wedding. It doesn’t matter to Ella that Gavin is in a bad place. He says there’s no hope for a future with him, that he has nothing to offer her. But all Ella cares about is the love she feels.

It’s been seven long years since Gavin lost his brother. He’d kept himself under control and moving forward until his brother’s beloved dog died and his brother’s widow re-married. Since then, he’s been drinking, fighting, and even getting arrested. It seems the only time his demons leave him alone is when Ella is around.

Gavin knows it wouldn’t be fair to drag Ella into his darkness, but when she inserts herself into his life, what choice does he have but to allow her to soothe his aching heart?

It’s Only Love is both a sexy, fun romance and a sometimes-heartbreaking tale of learning to live again while dealing with an unbearable amount of grief. I applaud Marie Force for not taking the easy route in this unconventional story that starts where a lot of stories would end – with a hero and heroine who have always wanted each other finally getting together.

Ella Abbott has loved Gavin Guthrie for years, but he’s always pushed her away. When he is finally ready to take the plunge, Ella is ecstatic. This is what she’s always wanted, right? Not quite. While it’s clear that Gavin loves Ella, he’s been spiraling out of control since the death of his brother. I loved that Ms. Force showed how everyone handles grief differently and that there is no magic cure or set timeline at the end of which a person is healed. Gavin knows he’s not coping well with the death of his brother and because of this he and Ella take one step forward, two steps back for a lot of the story. It’s heartbreaking but also realistic, and what made me appreciate the story even more was that Ella was no doormat. She understands Gavin’s grief and is incredibly supportive of him, but even when it breaks her heart, she doesn’t let herself be drawn into a toxic relationship. However, for all his good intentions, Gavin seems to (unknowingly) use Ella as an emotional crutch. What troubled me about It’s Only Love is that by the end of the story I felt he was still using her as such. I really wanted to see Gavin on the road to being able to stand on his own – even as he and Ella get their happily ever after – and I don’t think we got that.

It’s Only Love isn’t all darkness; Ella and Gavin do have their lighthearted moments and the Abbott family is also on hand to add entertainment. The Abbotts are an almost frighteningly perfect family, but they are fun. How can you not like them when they’re so warm and welcoming? I’ve been reading the Green Mountain series entirely out of order, so I can safely say that It’s Only Love can be read as a standalone, so long as one doesn’t mind minor spoilers from the previous books. All the Abbott siblings make appearances, but I find myself most intrigued by Charlotte, Max, and Grayson Abbott. I’m glad we’re at least guaranteed a story for Charley in the future, because I’m looking forward to revisiting her and the rest of the Abbotts in Ain’t She Sweet.

It’s Only Love tugs on the heartstrings a lot, and even though I had some issues with the story I still thoroughly enjoyed it. Ella and Gavin’s love story is an emotionally honest one with ups and downs that make the book so engaging that I had a hard time putting it down.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.