Cover Image: A Life Unknown

A Life Unknown

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Member Reviews

2.25 stars

A Life Unknown is the second in a series by DeDe Ramsey, but it was my first (in the series and of the author). I found it to be a frustrating read on several accounts, though the sheer fact that it *was* readable is a plus. And while I suspect that reading the first book would have helped somewhat, I don't know that it would have been enough to smooth out the copious clunky bits.

April Westerman, according to the blurb, is a socialite with a past who pushes Joe Cortez away whenever they start to grow close. Joe is a rather perfect guy though, big and brawny, smart and sensitive, hunky and helpful, etc. He's determined to be with April, warts and all.

The "socialite" descriptor was confusing for me. I think it may have been one of those things at the first book could have explained better, but I'm not sure. When April finally reveals some of her past to Joe, it doesn't seem like she had a particularly socialite-ish upbringing, at least from the age of 5 through her teen years. But somewhere along the line, she apparently did start living the life of a socialite, and that's where a lot of her bad history lies.

For his part, Joe doesn't seem to have any warts. The story starts off with him on his way to his BFF's wedding (see book 1), witnessing a horrific crash, and--with no thoughts at all to his own personal safety--rescuing the driver from a burning vehicle in the nick of time, all without more than a tiny smudge on his cuff. When things start to heat up with April, he promises never to let anything hurt her. 

April's issues--which should come with a trigger warning--are resolved fairly quickly and quite easily (though her full history was never fully clear to me). I thought that it was going to be the main plot point, but it wasn't, so when the protagonists were like, "Yay, it's over!" at around the 54 percent mark, I was a little confused. That said, there were other unresolved issues on Joe's part to solve.

Saying much more gets into spoiler territory, and that's not my preferred MO. I'll just say that Joe's issue is heavily foreshadowed with plenty of obvious clues that render its resolution unsurprising.

I guess if I had to summarize my gripes, it would be to say that the author tries to put too much in. Either April's or Joe's issue would have worked fine, but not both, for example. A more petty example is that I would have preferred far less winking and smirking (once each is enough rather than several times per page), and for the love of all that is good and holy, please save me from a heroine that constantly giggles. There were also several nuggets tossed in seemingly out of the blue: April's Native American ancestry is a prime example.

All of this said, I found the book to be largely readable, which earned it the additional half star. Less discriminating (okay, less picky) readers will probably breeze past the parts that I got hung up on.

I'll add my trigger warnings after my usual conclusion, so stop reading if you feel they will be spoilers for you.

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion. Thanks!

Trigger warnings: All are off page and in the various characters' (some secondary or tertiary) pasts. Suicide, rape, emotional abuse, death of a spouse, miscarriage.
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