by Melissa West
One of my favorite tropes, hands down, is the “Friends to Lovers” trope. Probably because my husband and I were the best of friends before we fell in love (I highly recommend this, nothing better than falling in love with your best friend). Silent Hearts, by Melissa West, fits the bill for this particular trope, is an easy read, and well-written, but I was hard-pressed to get behind one of the main characters or the romance.
Becca Stark and Nick Hamilton have been best friends for most of their lives, but for Becca it’s always been more. The wealthy Nick has been the man of her dreams for as long as she can remember and despite the fact that he doesn’t seem to feel the same way, she can’t get past her love for him. Nick has lost his parents and his fiancée and fears loving anyone ever again. With his brothers pressuring him to sell their family’s company, Becca is the only person in his life that makes him happy, causing him to realize she may be more than just his best friend.
I liked Becca. She’s loyal, smart, and funny. She’s sacrificed her dreams for family and, at 33, she’s a waitress in the small town of Triple Run rather than the nurse she dreamed of being. Even worse, she feels that she’ll never be good enough for town prince Nick, whose family is royalty, their horse farm and business a town mainstay. Becca really finds herself in Silent Hearts, realizing that being in her 30s doesn’t mean her life is over or that she can’t fulfill her dreams. She sees that she doesn’t have to be defined by what the towns people think of her or by her relationship with Nick. These characteristics make a great heroine and Melissa West wrote her well.
Nick, however, is barely tolerable. He starts off well, acknowledging to himself early on that he feels more than friendship for Becca. Even though he is struggling with his side of the family business, which is failing, and is resentful of his brothers success in business and in life, he decides to confess his feelings for Becca, convincing her that they should give in to their feelings. This is where things go downhill for me because he enters into his romantic relationship with Becca unsure of where he wants it to go. He doesn’t want to be hurt again, to lose someone he loves, and he tells himself that he can have a casual relationship with his best friend. This made me so angry and it only got worse as Nick got more wishy-washy as the story went on. He ends up hurting Becca in ways I’d never forgive, and I found myself rooting for an un-happily ever after.
I suspect that part of the problem with the story stemmed from it being third in a trilogy. I kept thinking that there had to be some relationship building between Nick and Becca in the first two books that would make Nick seem more like a book hero and less like a petulant child. Reviews from people who’ve read the whole series have been glowing, which would seem to support this theory. And, like I said, West is a good writer. The pace of the book flowed smoothly, and the early interactions between Becca and Nick were sweet and totally reflective of two people in a lifelong friendship.
2.5 Stars for Silent Hearts. Heat Level: 3
I received this book from Pump Up Your Book in exchange for honest feedback.
Silent Hearts was published in May 2016 by Lyrical Shine.