The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by Elizabeth O’Roark
January 20, 2022- Self Published
Review by Angela
I have another fabulous KU book for you today! Yay! And it’s one I normally wouldn’t have looked twice at since I don’t like the ‘I dated one brother, but now I find myself falling for the other one’ trope. But I’m so glad I took a chance and read this one because it’s FABULOUS.
Let me introduce you to one of the main characters, Drew Wilson- pop singer and messy girl. Drew agreed to a trip to Hawaii with her ex, Six, without knowing his whole family would be there, including his stuffy brother Josh. THEN she realizes Six hasn’t even shown up since he’s been arrested and is still sitting in jail in a foreign country. Against her better judgment, she’ll stay and make the best of it.
Josh Bailey is a doctor, a good son, and the nemesis of Drew Wilson. These two are like oil and water. They can’t help but needle each other, over and over again. Drew will never forget their first meeting when she overheard him saying something perfectly awful. So verbal sparring and rude comments it is.
Then they start to spend time together… and it all starts to change.
Y’all, I read this in one day. YESTERDAY. Then I immediately came to write a review because I simply adored this book so much. Drew is a pop singer and from what I gather, an unhappy one stuck in a horrible situation, under the control of her manager. She has a less than ideal relationship with her family and her reputation has suffered a hit after taking a dive off a stage during a performance. Drew is messy. So messy that I couldn’t help but fall in love with her. She is also funny and fierce, and a survivor. She doesn’t let people in because there leads to disaster and disappointment. That is until Josh.
Yes, Josh is a little too perfect. The doctor who works in Somalia, the son who will do anything for his mother (even put up with his father and brother), the man who always knows the right thing to do… But damn it, the way he becomes Drew’s protector got to me. This man is a caretaker at his core. He and Drew may start out as barely tolerating each other, but the slow build of their relationship from that to being the best part of each other’s day was such a beautiful thing. The small smiles and gentle ribbing, sharing fears and laughs and secrets no one else knows, it’s the small things that make a romance truly something special. This book has so many of those moments and I literally could not stop reading.
There are a lot of dark themes behind the laughter and love and super hot sex scenes. Cancer diagnosis, drug and alcohol abuse, panic attacks, mentions of a past suicide of a parent are just a few off the top of my head. But none of that felt contrived. Drew’s problems with her management team and all-around overmanaged life felt authentic. Josh’s struggle to live his life very differently from his fathers was believable. Everything about this couple and their slow-burn relationship kept me engaged right up until the epilogue and HEA.
If you’re worried about the other brother and that there might be cheating, don’t. You can put that worry to rest. I won’t get into specifics, but this is not a love triangle in any way, shape, or form. And there is absolutely no cheating.
What this is a lovely romance featuring a wonderfully messy woman who finds her power and the man who wants to care for her for the rest of his life. There is lots of sniping and sarcastic humor, some very hot sexy times, and a heartfelt admission of love. Most of it amidst the backdrop of beautiful Hawaii. What more could you ask for?
I read this a few weeks ago. I’d never heard of O’Roark, and I’m shallow enough to confess that my initial interest was based on that smoking-hot cover model (his name is Xavi Cortes, if anyone is interested, lol), but like you, I discovered the book was interesting and well-written. I really liked how O’Roark showed that both families were dysfunctional and, although it appeared the hero’s family was so much more loving and stable than the heroine’s, his mother’s enabling and denial had resulted in his father and the brother being permitted to get away with a lot of bad behavior, always leaving the hero feeling as if had to pick up the pieces. I would describe the book as a slow-burn with both MCs have pre-conceived ideas about the other and then being honest enough with themselves to realize they were wrong. And I also agree that the descriptions of Hawaii are vivid and lush. Another strong thumbs-up from me!
This book was so good and completely took me by surprise. I have some review books to read, then I intend to dive into the first book in this series.