“These kisses of his…they’re demanding and possessive. They’re hungry and deep. They’re the kisses of a man who wants more of a woman—who wants everything—and isn’t going to stop until he gets it.”
Author Olivia Rossi hasn’t been able to write a word since tragedy struck two years ago and ripped her world apart. Heartbroken and still haunted by the past, she accepts an offer to spend the summer at a friend’s apartment in Paris in search of healing and her lost muse.
What she finds instead is James, an enigmatic stranger who ignites in her an unexpected and all-consuming passion.
Agreeing to tell each other nothing more than their first names, Olivia and James embark on a torrid affair. But the more time they spend together, the more Olivia begins to realize her summer fling is turning into a powerful connection…and that the magnetic man she’s falling in love with might not be what he seems at all.”
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No review could do Perfect Strangers justice.
Perfect Strangers had me hooked from the first paragraph and craving bourbon only a few pages in. J.T. Geissinger did not hesitate to release the steam immediately and somehow creates a sense of mystery before you even learned the characters names.
In just the first chapter she not only managed to pump up the steam and create a sense of mystery, but she also wrote a shareable quote I absolutely had to save. At this point all we know is that the female lead is an author, temporarily staying in her spitfire of an agent, Estelle’s, Parisian apartment, she is running from her past and looking for inspiration, she has a sexy exhibitionist neighbor and she loves bourbon. Really we know very little about what to expect, but already we get a deep quote like this:
“But the thing people don’t realize is that the past is a living, breathing entity that exists apart from our wishes or best intentions. It’s not gone, and it’s certainly not invisible. Its fingerprints are smeared all over every moment of the present, its weight drags on every second of the future, its consequences echo down every hallway of our lives. We can no more rid ourselves of the past than we could stop the earth from spinning.”
And a hilarious one like this:
“The perils of an overactive imagination. If I hadn’t become a writer, I’d be in a padded cell somewhere, clawing at the walls.”
By the end of the first chapter, J.T. managed to develop a dynamic, relatable main character, Olivia. She was obviously suffering some sort of trauma, battling depression and running from demons, yet she doesn’t abandon her sense of humor or her compassion. She’s witty, awkward and already seems like the kind of woman I’d like to hang out, eat cheese and drink bourbon with.
The electric connection between Olivia and James is so palpable you can feel it through the pages. Their direct and straight forward approach is refreshing, especially to someone frequently referred to as blunt, like me. But, even with their straightforward relationship, there are boundaries put up and secrets kept. James is as mysterious as he is sexy and that makes him all the more enticing.
Although the first 3 quarters of the book are mysterious, they are mostly just romantic, emotional and hot as hell. The final quarter is riding the line of thriller and action and gets your blood pumping in a much different way than the rest of the book. Then it takes another dramatic turn that leaves you reeling, before finally delivering the final blow… The epilogue. Oh, the epilogue. You diabolical, talented, twisted woman, J.T. Geissinger, have nearly ruined me.
Everything about this book is beautiful. The story, writing style, characters, even the pain, are all blindingly beautiful. I lost my breath, cried my heart out and prayed for miracles. I couldn’t believe what I was reading. The moment I wrapped my mind around it, another shift came and knocked me back off course.
Toward the end of the book Olivia says “That’s the only way we can ever achieve immortality. Love is what binds us together eternally, the only thing that survives after death…” and I know that the memory of this book will live on vividly in my mind and my heart.
As my final words on this masterpiece I leave you with this quote I have stolen from Estelle, and slightly altered, as she captured it so perfectly. To J.T. Geissinger, “Yes, we’re going to talk about the book. And I’m going to end by saying this: you’re evil! Evil, you hear me?”
*I received a free advanced readers copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.