What He Doesn't Know by Kandi Steiner
on March 15, 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance
I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Love triangles – who needs ’em?
WE DO, they bring about the most delicious angst. The kind that simply tears us apart. Someone is gonna get destroyed and because there is cheating – well the scoffee, as well as the scoffed are damaged. Betrayal can’t be undone and it’s one of the sins that tears at the seams of relationships. This element also means we DEVOURED this book. We can’t not know what the outcome points to. Because this is a duet, there is waiting involved. But the waiting is not long
(THANK YOU Kandi)
So let’s talk about the story without giving away anything? We think that’s possible.
First, the synopsis:
On the northeast side of town, there is a house.
The house was once magical, filled with love and joy and plans for the future.
Inside its walls are many things that belong to me — my books, the china from my mother on my wedding day, the beautiful cage once home to two birds, now empty, just like me.
And a man.
A man who also belongs to me.
A man I no longer wish to keep.
A man who, no doubt, has not slept, though the sun is rising. Because the house where he waits is where I laid my head to rest every night for eight years. Until last night.
No one who knows me would believe Charlie Pierce, the quiet, bookish girl who never made waves is pulling out of the driveway of a man who isn’t her husband.
But they don’t know me at all.
I don’t even know me.
They say there are two sides to every story, and I suppose in most cases, that’s true. But the one I live inside of? It has three.
On the northeast side of town, there is a house.
But there is no longer a home.
Cyndi: GAHHHH – Oh the FEELZ. At the center of the story is Charlie Pierce, wife to Cameron Pierce. When Reese comes back into her life, well the timing couldn’t be worse (for Cameron). He can no longer push Charlie away…
I try to not pick any “sides” but for this book I definitely developed one. I won’t share who it is until we get part two but make no mistake, no one here is innocent. All three are in the wrong in one way or another and I struggled with the hurt that was spread all around.
“O, what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive! ~Walter Scott”
Loredana: Oh Cyndi…you nailed it. A roller coaster of feelings. I found myself on a loop-de-loop throughout the book and even afterward. I think I flip-flopped a few times, unsure of the outcome I desired. There are shades of wrongdoing throughout. Are we looking at the inability to express emotions, opportunism, unresolved grief? I mean, which sin or hurt supersedes the other? And who gets to judge how we process grief? I am so torn up by the web Kandi has designed. And it is a tangled web… And I begin to wonder if the greater sin is the deception or the actual betrayal?
“It was almost like a fake assurance, a lie saying everything was okay when it was so far from it.”
Cyndi: All the same questions ran through my head. Things got muddled quickly between Charlie and Reeses’ history and Camerons’ childhood pointing to why he is so removed. We don’t get his perspective until the end and I’m glad we got his voice. I felt for them all but mostly for Charlie (no surprise there) and I felt her loneliness down to the core. So who could blame her attraction to Reese? He made her feel wanted and needed. There was no haunted past between them. Was she confusing what he made her feel now with what she may have wanted from him when she was fifteen? Maybe. They definitely connected through shared experiences and seemed detached from well, seems like everyone outside of themselves. Was Reese really offering her what (who) she’s always wanted?
“There was something behind his eyes, something unspoken that called to me in a way I couldn’t explain. We were like two magnets in a constant pull, fighting the urge to connect.”
And what about Reese? He’s experienced his own profound loss and in his grief he’s untethered. Is it grief and loneliness that motivates his pursuit of Charlie? Loredana– I think I’m quoting you on this? Contemplating this – well like you this book made me all sorts of uncomfortable. The phrase that runs through my head is the one so commonly used to excuse indiscretions: “The heart wants what the heart wants”. The thing with Charlie is she’s pushed and pulled. She has hope for her and Cameron and then it’s dashed. So she keeps changing her mind about what she wants and this is heavily influenced by these two men and what motivates them.
Loredana: At this juncture, I think I know who I am rooting for, but knowing Kandi, she has a WHOLE bag of tricks up her sleeve in part two of the duet. So, for now, I’ll reserve my judgment and cross my fingers that the part of my heart she tore apart will be sewn back together in Part II. I love the points you make about Reese and Cameron. I wanted to hate each of them at one point in the book or another, but then my heart would break for each of them. I found myself thinking Cameron was an idiot and unfeeling, but then Kandi was like, “But wait, look at this facet of his personality!” I did the same with Reese. I love the close family ties, I ached for his personal grief, but then had a similar moment of “what did Kandi just pull on me??!!”
Like you, Cyndi, I think I know what should happen…but what do I know?
Cyndi: Haaa 🙂 I agree, I think I know what I want too. Kandi has a way of giving us stories that mess with our hearts and heads. We felt that greatly with A Love Letter to Whiskey. Her characters are always ones I root for simply because they are confused and flawed and oh so real. Kandi so masterfully drops little hints to the past that pulls the reader in. I found myself staying up until the wee hours of the morning finishing this and have thought about it off and on ever since. I guess you’d say I have a #BookHangover. I can’t wait for our next #BuddyRead and the conclusion to this duet.
Loredana: Amen. I too am waiting with bated breath to see the next turn in the road. And I think we can both say with absolute certainty that Kandi delivered once again. But then again, that wasn’t a concern. Our main concern was how badly she would shred our hearts.
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