Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
In an unfortunate series of events, Drake meets Caleb. This is meeting the right person in the wrong circumstances–or maybe not! It starts with an enemies to lovers vibe. Frankly, I didn’t quite feel the attraction during the hate phase, but once it gets going I was really rooting for these two. This takes place in Auckland, so there is use of New Zealand vernacular. It alternates first person POV in different chapters. I am hoping this is a typo and will be removed before publication, but it breaks the fourth wall in Cal’s thoughts, “and yeah, you heard what I heard.” It is only one sentence, but I didn’t like it.
This is an honest look at two people who meet and are attracted to each other, but will have to be mature and put the work in to maintain a relationship. This is flat out real in the way most romances are not. Sex is awkward, at times difficult, messy, and painfully vulnerable. This story explores all that. Many people say they hate it when the characters have issues because they just don’t talk to each other–here is your book where they have no choice but to communicate if they want to make this work. Medical issues are no joke and either one or the other of them could chicken out and run away without confronting the details on a daily basis, but they don’t. Neither does this book slap a label on it and call it a day, the reader gets the full nitty gritty about Drake’s illness and profession. This is all seriously intense; they barely date and then they are in it for life, and yet it still feels really believable. I am worried people won’t give this story a chance, or will give bad reviews, because of the discussions about bodily functions. This story is very good. Thankfully, there is plenty of humor also.
These families are loving, accepting, and have ribald moments of fun. These friends do not let the characters have rose tinted glasses or lie to themselves. This is what friendship looks like to me–people who will tell you harsh truths, not to hurt you, but to help you and still support your decisions, even if they think you are wrong. However there is also a great line in Caleb’s thoughts about making sure to not let your friends define who you are, “the first mistake I’d made was believing that Leanne’s version of me was maybe all there was.” I love that there is a wide and varied cast with representation of different cultures and sexualities. The epilogue takes place six months later and is heartwarming, taking them into the future together.
The cover art is by Kanaxa. I think it shows Drake and all I could think of was that expression “in the weeds,” which seems apropos.
ebook, 1st edition, 354 pages
Expected publication: August 6th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
Edition Language English
Series Digging Deep #1