on February 21st, 2019
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.
What He Never Knew, a standalone teacher/student romance in the What He Doesn’t Know series by bestselling author Kandi Steiner is live!
I never learn my lesson.
And I always want what I can’t have.
When Sarah Henderson walks into my life, I tell myself she’s off limits. She’s my student, sixteen years younger than me, and my boss’s niece. It doesn’t matter that I see the same pain reflected in her eyes that I have in my own, or that the dead organ better known as my heart kicks to life when she’s around.
I’ve been here before, and I know how this ends.
It’s been two years since I fell for the last woman I knew I couldn’t have, the one with the ring on her finger that I chose to ignore.
Two years of trying to overcome that heartache when Sarah slides into my life.
Another woman I can’t have. Another woman I can’t stop myself from wanting.
I never learn my lesson, but with a constant reminder of how that last forbidden love burned, I think I’ve finally learned this one.
This time, I won’t chase what’s off limits.
This time, I’m staying away.
And I’ll keep telling myself that until I believe it.
Imagine this (that big voice introducing a forthcoming movie)
“From a Girl who feels everything comes a story of a man who feels too much. “
Kidding aside, I can really hear that voice in my head and I had to get that out there. Another thing to get out these is this disclaimer: The very existence of this story is a “spoiler” for the series, so if you still have the “What He Doesn’t Know” books by Kandi Steiner on your TBR then read no further.
I knew this book was coming and somehow it slipped my mind how very intense Reese Walker is and I never contemplated that he’d be where he is when this story opens, two years after the end of his affair with Charlie. This is both good and bad. When the “duet” ended, everything felt tied up for me. Except for Reese. Sure Charlie’s story was solidified, her choice made, but Reese was still out there. This ghost of a man, and the air was thick with his heartbreak. Kandi, well Kandi pushes that feeling out through her words, making this a somewhat difficult book to read. If you’ve read the series and you thought Reese felt broken before, well watch out.
Two years after Charlie proclaims her choice, Reese is STILL getting over it. But there’s nothing in him that resembles a man who is at all healed, not one bit. Going through the motions of life and forced to witness the love he once considered he’d have. He never had all of it, but he could taste victory. Fool that he was. A broken hearted artists equals an inspired artists.
“Reese was an entire universe, and the piano was a mere telescope we tried to see him through.”
He’s good at faking it, but only just enough. He is STUCK. Just STUCK. Frustratingly so. Wake, work, rinse and repeat. It’s as though he is punishing himself for loving a woman he should have left alone. As a passionate man, he couldn’t. Miserable by his own making.
Then into his life comes a young woman, a seemingly too young for him woman who is broken in her own right. So very broken. What happened to her is just gut wrenching and hard to read. But it’s necessary to understand her and the next chapter of her life. The chapter where she will heal and become who she’s destined to be, and Reese will become a big part of that.
As the two begin interacting and sharing their stories of hurt and loss, they form a bond, trusting each other to keep them safe. We needed Reese to move on and for Sarah to take a stand for herself. Considering what she went through, it would be a very big leap for her to take the necessary steps. Is this relatively tight nit community, assumptions are made, right or wrong, and judgement is placed. I guess it’s not enough that Reese tortures himself, but people love to interfere and in some the motivation is clear and in others, not so much. I’ll just say some people need to learn to let go. Yeah, Charlie takes some mis-steps but Reese owns taking a stand. Sarah and Reese are incredible characters who grow leaps and bounds and it all culminates in something that is magical. Two people who release the past and learn to love – for what seems to me is really the very first time.
I guess I needed to write the review because my heart was weighed down by recalling Reese’s emotions. I feel lighter and more hopeful. If you’ve ever read anything by Kandi Steiner you know this is her MO – make her readers FEEL.IT.ALL.
I think Reeses words say it all…
“We’re not destined to run from our misery, we’re destined to bathe in it — and to somehow find a way to make it beautiful.”
I heart me some Kandi Steiner. Thus, this review is a bit difficult for me to write. I wanted to love Reese. I wanted to feel for him. I wanted to connect with him. But I couldn’t. After reading and being destroyed by the duet, I was totally Team Cameron. Unfortunately, that left me very upset with Reese and his choices. There were times when I glimpsed some maturity coming forth from him in the book, especially in the end.
But there is a huge reason I didn’t promptly add this book to my DNF pile: Sarah. This book was a bit of a trigger for me; the beginning made me put it down for a solid week before I could attempt to read it again. And even though I was a bit distraught by how the book opened, Sarah’s strength, personality, and perspective kept me going. She was the savior of this book. I felt as though she not only saved herself, but also Reese. Yes, her relationship to her piano and how she interacted with Reese changed her for the better, but she was the one who had to find the strength and the desire to let herself be helped and do the work to make her way back to herself.
I would say that the first three-quarters of the book were building blocks to the story but they didn’t capture me. However, that last quarter is what moved me to give Kandi 4 stars. She took all the messy parts of Sarah and Reese and turned them into a beautiful recipe for love and success. Perfect? Not always, but lovely all the same.
~Review by Loredana
Download your copy today!
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2FQyjpN
Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/WhatHeNeverKnewKS
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Kandi Steiner is a bestselling author and whiskey connoisseur living in Tampa, FL. Best known for writing “emotional rollercoaster” stories, she loves bringing flawed characters to life and writing about real, raw romance — in all its forms. No two Kandi Steiner books are the same, and if you’re a lover of angsty, emotional, and inspirational reads, she’s your gal.
An alumna of the University of Central Florida, Kandi graduated with a double major in Creative Writing and Advertising/PR with a minor in Women’s Studies. She started writing back in the 4th grade after reading the first Harry Potter installment. In 6th grade, she wrote and edited her own newspaper and distributed to her classmates. Eventually, the principal caught on and the newspaper was quickly halted, though Kandi tried fighting for her “freedom of press.” She took particular interest in writing romance after college, as she has always been a diehard hopeless romantic, and likes to highlight all the challenges of love as well as the triumphs.
When Kandi isn’t writing, you can find her reading books of all kinds, talking with her extremely vocal cat, and spending time with her friends and family. She enjoys live music, traveling, anything heavy in carbs, beach days, movie marathons, craft beer and sweet wine — not necessarily in that order.
Connect with Kandi:
Mailing List: bit.ly/NewsletterKS
Facebook Reader Group: (Kandiland): facebook.com/groups/kandischasers
Kandi Steiner may be coming to a city near you! Check out her “events” tab to see all the signings she’s attending in the near future: