Still stuck in his small Central Pennsylvania hometown, Ilya Stern is used to feeling like a disappointment. After his high school girlfriend, Jennilynn, drowned, he married her sister, Alicia, only to divorce a decade later. The business they started together is threatened by a luxury development—and Alicia has already sold her stake. Now that Babulya, Ilya’s gentle Russian grandmother, has died, there’s no one left who believes in him. Or so he thinks.
Theresa Malone was Ilya’s stepsister for only a year, until his mother threw her pill-popping father out of the house in the middle of the night, forcing teenage Theresa to follow. Now she’s returned for Babulya’s funeral—and to facilitate the quarry-development deal. As she tries to convince Ilya to sell, she realizes her feelings for him have ignited—from sisterly into something more.
Working together closely, Ilya and Theresa struggle to define their intense attraction. When the details of Jennilynn’s death surface, will Ilya and Theresa’s deep connection keep their hope for the future afloat—or submerge them once and forever in their tragic past?
*Thank you to the publisher, Montlake Romance, and NetGalley, for the copy in exchange for an honest review.
It is just over a month since the first Quarry Road book was released. And now Megan Hart’s latest offering is the second and final installment of the series which focus on the story of Ilya and Theresa. All the Secrets We Keep picks up where Alicia and Niko’s story left off. While Alicia is off traveling the world, Niko continues with the house repair. Theresa is still trying to sway Ilya to sell his share of the business he put up with Alicia, for the quarry development project. Only, Ilya is adamant, he is not going to sell. But then, not only the business started to fall apart, he also had a close call that made him realize that maybe it is time to let go. Not only the business but also the past that held him there, Jennilynn. Theresa, on the other hand, is keeping a secret to them. Not because it is damaging or something since her reputation is already destroyed in the first place, she is more embarrassed about her situation. Especially since Ilya thinks highly of her. She can’t let him know how messed up her life. Not when she’s feeling something towards him. Not now, when she’s starting to feel like she belonged to something again. A feeling she hasn’t felt since Ilya’s mother kicked his father, along with Theresa, out. But there are secrets that slowly making its way to the surface which can change the course of Ilya and Theresa’s relationship.
I’d say I enjoy this one more than the first book. All The Lies We Tell is such an unhappy book for the most part that it affected my mood while reading it. Thank goodness this one is a bit lighter even though the family drama continued. There were few questions left unanswered in the first book that was finally dealt with in this story. Mainly, the mystery revolving around Jenni’s death. There are clues that are thrown along the way so come revelation, it doesn’t really come off as a surprise. And though it is not as horrifying as I guessed, it is still tragic to lose someone in the way that Jenni died.
Like the first one, it was told on four different engaging POVs: Ilya, Theresa, Niko, and Alicia, with a few glimpses around the past. An unpleasant past that mold them to be what they are now. Ilya is one disappointing and stubborn character in the first book so I am expecting he’ll be his same jerk self on his own story. But, alas, he mellowed down and changed his ways. Slowly, I warmed on to his character as I get to know him deeper. I like how his character gradually matured and developed from someone you don’t like to someone you root for. Theresa, on the other hand, seemed to be so mysterious in the first book which will make you question her motives. She’s keeping a secret that I actually expected to be something more vicious, like a revenge or something selfish in nature, than what was revealed. It is a surprise but also heartbreaking. I admire her perseverance because, despite all the hardships that she’d been through, she is still strongly taking on life. What I like most about the characters is how each of them has personality flaws that makes them feel more real.
Megan Hart surely knows how to captivate her readers with not only well-written and compelling stories but with realistic characters as well. This one is not an exception. In the Quarry Road series, she gives us two unconventional stories of romance which teach us a thing or two about love, trust, loss, grief, letting go and moving on. All The Secrets We Keep sure gives a nice ending for the quartet.
(*Photos and synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)
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