I honestly have so few words to really describe what I am feeling after finishing Cruel and Beautiful by A.M. Hargrove and Terri E. Laine. This book was everything. It was every emotion possible, and it was one of the best (if not the best!) book I have read all year. I am not much of a crier when it comes to books or movies, but this book had me in tears. I felt so emotionally connected to this book and the characters and I could not put it down. Even as I was trying to read through the tears I just couldn't stop. Knowing that this book was based on a true story added a whole other layer to my feelings here, and I honestly can't even begin to describe what going through something similar in real life must have been like. While I am a fan of A.M. Hargrove (seriously LOVE her!), I am new to Terri E. Laine. I thought that they did a wonderful job of meshing their styles and writing a cohesive and solid story here. I can't wait to read more from each of these authors, and I really hope that we get more novels from them writing as a team.
While I would normally summarize the story, I feel like I can't really do that here. Even the smallest detail could spoil the story, and trust me you do not want that to happen. I actually hadn't even read the blurb before starting this book. I have a friend that had read this book and she told me that she needed me to read this so that she could talk to someone about it. So I just dove right in, not really having any idea what to expect. Honestly had I read the blurb or really paid attention to the cover, I never would have been able to guess the emotional journey I was in for. But this book made me feel and think, and while it was absolutely gut wrenching at times it was also full of love. It was sexy, fun and extremely emotional, but while this book was heartbreaking and sad it was at its core about unconditional love. This book was so accurately described with the title because while it is cruel, it is also one of the most beautiful stories I have ever read.
I loved the characters here. They were great and so easy to fall in love with. Not only were the main characters fantastic, but I really liked all the secondary characters as well. Each character played such a pivotal role in the whole story that without a single one of them the entire story would have been different. I feel like it is important to let the reader know that this book does switch between the past and the present, giving the reader glimpses of how everything started and the long journey to where this book ended. While this book wasn't always easy, it was worth the read and is one that I will be thinking about for a long time to come. I know that I will read this book again, even knowing what I am in for. It is one that I will recommend to everyone who asks what they should be reading. If you haven't picked this book up yet, you absolutely should. It isn't often that I will just blanketly recommend a book to anyone who reads without specifying which genre the readers should be a fan of, but I really believe that this story has it all and will be one that any romance fan can appreciate.
**ARC Provided by Authors**