Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

Review: Hold on to Hope by A.L. Jackson

hopeA best friends-to-lovers, stand-alone romance from New York Times Bestselling Author, A.L. Jackson . . . 

Evan Bryant wasn’t your typical hero.
But he was mine.
Broken by the worlds’ standards, he was still the strongest boy I would ever know.
My best friend. The boy I’d given everything to. My heart, my body, and the promise of forever.
The day I’d needed him most, he walked away.
He left me shattered and questioning the love I’d thought we’d shared.

Three years later, I wasn’t prepared for him to return to Gingham Lakes.
It wouldn’t have mattered if he wasn’t the most beautiful man I’d ever seen.
My fingers still would have ached to caress his skin.
My body still would have begged to get lost in his touch.
And my heart . . . it would have always sung his name.
But time changes things. With it, secrets that could ruin everything.
Can we find a way to love again, or have the fears of our past stolen the hope of our forever . . .

4 Stars

Romance | New Adult | Contemporary

***Received an Advanced Readers Copy through author reader group in exchange for an honest review***

I know my furry friends, a ‘Friends to Lovers’ trope, how could I? Normally not my personal favorite but by-golly, Jackson has such an amazing writing style and I am definitely hooked to anything she publishes. I loved the synopsis for Hold on to Hope, broken hearts, angst, rekindled romance and some interesting twists – oh yeah, sign me up.

The characters were definitely a push-pull connection for me as a reader. Frankie was sweet, very southern cute, possibly naive or maybe wishful thinker. I loved this about her character. She honestly thought the best of everyone, including Evan, after all these years, she still holds people at a pedestal. But at the same time, this also made her seem incredibly dull, predictable within the romance itself. I liked her, yet at the same time she seemed unmemorable as a female lead which caused me to disconnect. Then we have Evan. I went in wanting to dislike his character, within the first chapter he was set up as this bad guy; jaded not only his high school sweetheart, but also his entire family. So I was geared up to loathe him, but strangely I did not. He was sweet, kind and honestly quite cute in his personality. I enjoyed a lot that Evan had a disability, which made you adore his dynamic more.

Frankie and Evan, on top of their character invigorated, had an entertainingly sweet romance. It was beyond cute! They still had this amazing innocence to their romance, still having this vibe of where they left off and the sparks skyrocketed between them. 

Unfortunately, though I am sitting here gushing mostly about the overall romance, I have a few pet peeves still – the biggest is the fact that I feel like the rekindle of the romance between Evan and Frankie was a bit of a lack luster. Hear me out, I still stand by the points of they were cute, obviously always meant for one another, but that is just it, a few ‘I am sorry’ conversations and basically they were back together. The is a traumatizing history between them and I felt there should have been more of a struggle, climatic situation between their connection being rediscovered. You know I am all about those angst, arguing love/hate reactions and I just felt there should have been more, more something.

Overall, it was cute, fast paced read with the right amount of swoon romance to make me smile from ear to ear. Setting my slight issues, it was fun and entertaining. The drama was interesting, the characters and dynamics charming. This is what I enjoy about Jackson’s writing style, she is fun; her characters are definitely multi-dimensional. I look forward to getting more!

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