Eyes Wide Open
is by far my favorite of the three books. Not only is it longer, but the story finally picks up and rolls on full steam ahead. I can’t review this without revealing something that may or may not be considered a
Ethan and Brynne are going to be plus one. Yes, there’s expecting. Surprise! This new development in particular was the best thing that could happen to this story. Brynne has to find a way to adjust to her new reality, as does Ethan, but he takes it better than she does, for obvious reasons. The pregnancy dialogue was the best part about this book, the way they talked or joked about the fetus was just adorable. I’m used to hearing people refer to the fetus as “peanut” or “little bean”, so hearing blueberry, raspberry, little live, prune and peach just brought tears to my eyes. Yes, I am a happy sap. Sue me.
The agony and the ecstasy.
After the shake-up at the end of book two, I loved the slight change of pace at the beginning of the story - meeting Ethan's family and seeing him so relaxed around them, and seeing Brynne be accepted into the fold as well. There's a surprise announcement, and then just like that, tragedy struck. If I ever had any doubts about Ethan being able to be the rock he longed to be, amidst his own personal demons, they were wiped away during that whole ordeal. There were some wonderful emotional scenes that followed immediately after, some soul-searching and some realizations on Brynne's part. I'm still of the opinion that a story can not sustain itself on sex and angst alone, so even though the sex remained as intense and copious in this book, there was also a lot more communication between them than ever before, much to my delight. The reveal of the villain didn't surprise me, but what pleasantly surprised me was Brynne's inner strength and quick thinking. Phew, this book drained me in a good way. My favorite moment was definitely Brynne's wedding gift to Ethan. It was perfect.
My only complaints would be 1) Since Brynne told her therapist practically everything, she probably also talked about taking birth control pills and why. Said therapist still prescribed antidepressants without telling her they could interfere with her birth control pills. How would the therapist not know this, and if she wasn’t sure, she should have told Brynne to check with her gynecologist. 2) Use commas to connect two independent clauses.
Since I read all three books back to back, I will say this about the trilogy: I loved it more than I thought it would, and definitely more than that "other" book. Like I said before, I loved that the characters weren't one dimensional. It didn't surprise me that the heroine showed more character growth than the hero. This was built around Brynne's past and the consequences. Ethan was a war hero who decided to use his knowledge and contacts to do good, instead of flash his wealth and status around. The author didn't resort to using past flings to rub it in Brynne's face, and she managed to make each sexual encounter scorching hot without being boring. And considering how many sex scenes there were in this trilogy, that was quite an accomplishment. There were a few hiccups along the way, but I would definitely recommend The Blackstone Affair to anyone and everyone. I would give the trilogy 4 stars.Disclaimer: My thanks to Atria Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, for providing a review copy via NetGalley.