Love You Madly by Ashlee Mallory
The second in the You Again series from Ashlee Mallory, Love You Madly is a textbook example of romantic suspense. High school classmates and enemies, Travis and Meredith are reunited under dire circumstances when Meredith’s daughter disappears.
In high school, Travis was a skinny, mullet-wearing computer geek, Meredith the school’s queen bee and resident torturer, with Travis as her favorite victim. 11 years later, Travis is a successful investigator and no longer an awkward teen. When Meredith hires him to find her daughter, she doesn’t immediately recognize the devastatingly handsome man in front of her as the boy she once made miserable. Mortified by her past behavior, Meredith reluctantly works with Travis to find Darcy. As they spend more time together and grow closer, Travis has to decide if Meredith has changed her ways, something Meredith tries to determine as well.
Love You Madly checks all the blocks for a romantic suspense novel and is extremely well-written. Mallory has an easy style, her words smoothly moving the story along. With little effort, she brings Meredith to life, portraying her journey from cold and cutoff to a woman who chooses love. Abandoned by her mother at an early age, she let her fear of being left alone, along with feelings of inadequacy, fuel her abuse of those around her. After three marriages, one which left her a widow and a stepdaughter, Meredith built a suit of armor around her heart, vowing never to be abandoned by someone she loved ever again. When circumstances bring Travis back into her life, Meredith finds herself reevaluating who she was and who she has become.
As good as Love You Madly is put together, it fell flat for me and it’s hard to pinpoint why. Travis and Meredith have decent chemistry while the plot is believable and easy to follow. Yet as well rounded as Meredith is, Travis comes across one-dimensional. His history-abusive father, two tours in Afghanistan-should be enough to bring him to life, but he never seems to own his experiences. Despite a well, laid-out conflict there weren’t any heart racing moments and I had a tough time connecting with the secondary characters, one of which is the heroine in the series’ first book, You Again. They came across mean towards Meredith because of what happened in high school and it was hard to get past that.
Overall, a well-written romantic suspense novel that needs a shot of “oomph”.
Published June 2015 by Entangled Select Suspense in both paperback and e-book. Click on the picture for details on making Love You Madly part of your library.
Heat Level 2.