Didn’t You Promise by Amber Bardan

Didn't You Promise by Amber BardanFirst, a disclaimer: I just realized this is a part 2, which explains the “jump in already running” feel and why the relationship was hot and heavy from the start. I’m still posting my review, though, because even without the first book to set things up, I found Didn’t You Promise compelling.

The blurb and cover make it look dark. There’s no question Angelina and Haithem are on the run and in constant danger. Some horrible things happen to them. Still, I’d say that’s the smallest part of the book. Often, we find ourselves pausing within their love nest to treasure the moment.

The book is an answer to every thriller romance or epic love story. This is what happens next, after the fireworks of their first meeting, when they start to work on true commitment.

Despite all the pieces in play that others might consider worthy of the main focus, saving the world with enemies in tight pursuit is little more than a complication and barrier to achieving the love they were born for. This is a co-dependent, obsessive love story. Haithem and Angelina are self-aware and embarrassed about the fact, though, which smooths out the twinges of stalker, and leaves only true love and harsh sacrifices in the name of that love.

Don’t get me wrong…there is action, tragedy, betrayal, forgiveness, and rebirth along with tangible character growth and pain. This is no sappy love that makes everyone else fade away. In many ways, it’s about collateral damage. About the people on the periphery whose lives are changed forever by events they didn’t know were going on.

I made a comment that I wish I could have seen the five scenes before this book begins. I said that because the lust and sex came before I knew the characters enough to feel the depth of their love. The way it starts makes sense now, knowing it’s a second novel, but the wish was more curiosity than dissatisfaction. I didn’t need to see how things began to come to know them.

I quite enjoyed this odd story running beneath an explicit beginning. The book is compelling and encourages the exploration of deep concepts. It teased me with hints of the bigger picture that were so intriguing I kept going in the hopes of understanding the whole. Obviously, had I started with part 1, I might have known more of the set-up, but if so, you’re still left with a tense conflict between the needs of the many and the desires of the few, namely Haithem and Angelina. They don’t make all the right choices, but you’re right there with them when they stumble as well as when they fight to make up for their errors.

It may be odd, but the book grew on me and turned into something quite powerful.

P.S. I received this novel from the publisher in return for an honest review.

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