Let me start by saying that I did enjoy reading this book. It was nicely written, flowed well and it was certainly not a struggle to reach the end. However, I did feel as though for the most part it was a rewrite of Beautiful Disaster and nothing more. I didn’t feel as though I learned anything about Travis that I did not know before, or the other characters for that matter. I really enjoyed the prologue showing Travis as a young child at the bedside of his dying mother and must admit to having the glisten of a tear in my eye! For me, this small section of the book showed what the author is capable of and it was a shame that it did not carry on in this vein. Given that the author justifies the flaws in her leading mans character with the death of his mother at such a young age I felt as though she could have had a much bigger voice in this version of the novel. It seemed as though she was used as a justification for Travis’ behaviour and then quickly forgotten about. I would also like to have seen the author explore more of the relationship between Travis and his elder brothers.
Although I didn’t struggle too much to enjoy this book I did find my myself a little bored as having read BD I knew exactly what was going to happen at the end of every scene, scenes that we have already become familiar with in the previous novel. Perhaps the author could have written some brand new “unseen” interactions between Travis and Abby rather than relying on the retelling of scenes and situations from BD. The novel does however redeem itself somewhat during the epilogue, this was the first time during the story when I felt myself wanting to turn the page to find out what would happen next.
Given the phenomenal success of Beautiful Disaster and the hysteria surrounding Travis Maddox as a literary hero (or a book boyfriend as I have recently heard him referred to as) I am not surprised that the author, or more likely her publishers would want to capitalise on this and make as much money as they can, which is fair enough! Nobody forced me to purchase it! Unfortunately, I do feel as though Ms. Maguire would have done herself much more justice as a writer by creating some brand new material. Perhaps she could have written fresh material telling us what happened in the 11 years that we missed between the end of BD and the epilogue of WD? I’m not sure whether there will be another book in this series at this point however there do still seem to be some loose ends, for example does Travis succeed in bringing down Mick Abernathy? I would also have loved to see more interaction between Travis and his children. How did Travis react to becoming a father? Given how damaged his character is, did he feel worthy of his kids? Was he worried about his abilities as a parent having not had his mother around? Was he scared and vulnerable as he was when he first fell in love with Abby? Or did he take it immediately in his stride? I do feel as though there is a lot more that could have been explored here and that simply writing the retelling of the novel might have been something of a cop out (sorry!!)
I very much enjoyed the relationship between Shepley and America. For me, they are much more real as a couple than Travis and Abby and I have to admit that I hugely preferred the character of America to that of Abby. She is strong and fiesty and takes no messing around. Unlike Abby, who I felt was needy, whingey and too much of a game player. For example, when she told Travis that she would have taken him back at Thanksgiving had he said the right things to her. Instead she made him suffer even when he begged on his hand knees outside the cafeteria for her to take him back, and continued to mope around herself instead of being honest. Although admittedly had she been immediately honest the book would have been a lot shorter! Abby is one minute insisting that she can’t be with Travis even though she loves him but in the next breath she is falling into bed with him and declaring her undying love! I just couldn’t figure her out! The notion of “I love you but I can’t be with you because (insert stupid reason here) always falls a little bit flat for me because in my experience if you love somebody there is no reason good enough to not want to be with them, right? You accept somebody flaws and all. Abby and Travis’ relationship seems to be based on a distinct lack of honesty and a lot of game playing (it started with a bet remember) which is why I feel that perhaps theirs is a relationship based on little more than sexual attraction rather than being a deep and sustainable love that will last a life time. To me, the real love story here is between Shepley and America and I would have dearly loved to see their story wrapped up in the epilogue also. We don’t even know if they are still together, whether they married and had children. Perhaps we will be hearing more from them in the future.
I felt Travis is a passionate, fiery and fiercely loving character who needed taking care of not messing around and I honestly didn’t think Abby was good enough for him!! She would have been better off with somebody as simpery and annoying as she, like Parker Hayes. Now Travis and America, they would make an incredible and passionate couple!!! Overall, I didn’t hate this book but I certainly did not enjoy it as much as the original. I will however, look out for Ms. Maguires next project.