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Monday, April 24, 2017

ARC Review: Too Hard to Forget by Tessa Bailey

This is the third book in the Clarkston siblings series about a wild road trip filled with pit stops, self discovery, romance and hot sex. I've been on this journey since book 1 and I really love this entire series. Even though the last installment was previously my favorite, this book eclipses it. I just really loved the story of Elliot and Peggy (even though, ugh, I hate both of those names). This story was really unexpected in the level of emotional depth, angst and self revelation that occurred. The connection between Peggy and Elliot and the suffering that each put themselves and the other through was compelling from beginning to the end.

Peggy met Elliot when she was a 21 year old college senior. Elliot was the head coach of the football team and Peggy is a cheerleader when the two meet. Elliot has recently lost his wife and has a 9 year old daughter. Elliot is also a man of strong faith and a more than healthy dose of Catholic guilt. Elliot is covinced that he didn't love his deceased wife as much as he should of. He views the evidence of his failure to love as the fact that he fell madly in love with Peggy (which he doesn't admit until the bitter end) right after his wife passes away. Elliot doesn't think he deserves to be happy with Peggy. She's a student and he is punishing himself for his failures in his relationship with his deceased wife.

As for Peggy, she is strong and optimistic. Peggy comes along and really loves Elliot, flaws and all. Peggy realizes and appreciates Elliot's struggle with himself and she doesn't try to push for more but she truly loves Elliot and wants more in the future. Unfortunately, Elliot can't move past his guilt and he lets it drive him away from Peggy. More accurately, he pushes Peggy away. Three years later, Peggy has been engaged 4 times and has broken all of them off. Peggy feels like if she can return to her alma mater and be the one to walk away from Elliot first, she can erase the hurt of the past. What both Peggy and Elliot discover is that both of them made mistakes in the past but there might actually be a future for them.

What I love about this book is how both Elliot and Peggy come to realize that it was wrong for Elliot to project his issues on to Peggy. Peggy figures out that she deserves better right around the same time that Elliot does. And I really love how Elliot's daughter, Alice, plays a role in that discovery. Alice was a great supporting character. She did things you would expect a 12 year old with grief and a mostly absentee Father to do but in the end Alice may have had more insight than the adults in the book (which was a low bar to clear). I really liked that once Elliot pulled his head out of his nether regions, he realized the first thing he needed to do was make sure Alice was on board with his new relationship. I also loved how Peggy woke Elliot up, not just to what was going on between them but to everything. I was inspired by the whole healing power of love message in this book. And ohhhh, did I mention the sex is just, OMG, smoking hot. If you read this author, you know she loves men with dirty mouths and Elliot fit the mold. Oh it was nasty and it was gooood.

All in all I have nothing but good things to say about this book. This is another notch on my 'I love Tessa Bailey' belt.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | iTunes |


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