Everything I Left Unsaid, M. O’Keefe
review from jeannie zelos book reviews
I was hooked in by the reference to Jodi Elen Malpas and K Bromberg but to be honest this book is nothing like any of those that I’ve read. Its a fascinating read to be appreciated for its own sake, and to me I don’t understand the comparisons. Annie isn’t anything like any of the leads in those books, Dylan like none of the men, and even the sex scenes, while hot, very hot are very different….
So we meet Annie and its clear she’s escaping from something, distraught, scared but she’s found a place for now in the trailer park. By chance she “meets” Dylan, well speaks to him anyway, when she answers a phone left down the side of the sofa. He had previous tenants watch over another resident, Ben, an older man and he asks Annie to do the same. He won’t explain why, or who Ben is, but warns Annie to keep away from him. She gets to know some of the other residents including Ben though over the weeks and can’t understand why Dylan says he’s dangerous. He just seems like a lonely, harmless older man, who gives her home grown veg and accepts her occasional meals made from them gratefully. They’re not friends, none of the residents go that far, but they speak when passing and watch out for each other.
Annie and Dylan’s calls somehow turn from conversations about Ben into some hot and heavy phone chats, and she starts to get out of her comfort zone sexually by way of instructions from Dylan. She feels safe that way, he’s just a voice, he’s never met her, doesn’t know her and she’s given him a false name so she can left her fantasies out – slowly, very slowly. She’s such a sweet girl, been so repressed first by her mother and then by….well, you have to read it. Dylan too has issues, and he’s not sure what it is about Annie, or Layla as he thinks she’s called, that keeps him wanting to hear from her, but there’s something that he can’t quite bring himself to let go of.
We meet some of the other inhabitants of the park too, not just Ben but a solitary, slightly brash lady that works as a stripper and has the odd man caller/client, and a young mum of three who’s clearly being physically abused by her husband. It seems to be a place where everyone is trying to find a way to live life as best they can, and they’ve all got different problems.
Time goes on, weeks pass and Annie starts to grow a little more relaxed, more confident in her everyday life, stops looking over her shoulder every time there’s a strange noise. She and Dylan still have their odd on/off phone relationship where she tells him what she wants, and he gives her instructions on what to do next. Then danger comes to the camp and its all change….and damn it the book ends on a massive cliff-hanger – and I hate those, but I see book two is scheduled for this November so hopefully not too long to wait ;- )
It starts quietly, builds slowly and gently and then explodes into action and danger at the end, leaving me on tenterhooks waiting for book two, desperate to know more. Its a story I really loved, so very different to what I’ve read lately, and perfect for me getting tired of trilogies that are telling the same kind of story. I really want to know more of Annie and Dylan, of their pasts, and to see if they can make a future together. I desperately want them to – they deserve happiness, but somehow you just know there’s lots of barriers in store before that can happen and of course their pasts – that never stays away too long!
Stars:Five, a fabulous, engrossing read, beautifully written and paced so as to draw the reader in slowly, revealing a bit more each chapter until it all explodes at the end.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers.
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