Five years ago, tragedy brought Jared and Mia together. A tragedy that was the start of an unlikely source of support, a true friendship and eventually, deep, heart-stopping love. Until the day something pushed them apart, forcing one of them to let the other one go.
Now, over the course of a day and a night, Jared and Mia will finally talk about how it all went wrong. How something which seemed so perfect and true, was so easily broken. And just when they think they’ve found their way back to each other, their love, will once more be put to the ultimate test.
Sometimes, you never realise how much you can hurt the one you love.
Sometimes, you never realise the lengths you’ll go to, to help someone you love.
And sometimes, you never realise just how stubborn love can be.
Because it’s impossible to let somebody go, when you never stopped loving them in the first place.
Last year, I fell in love Natalie Ward’s I Love You to Death. It was an unexpected gem that more than took me by surprise. Now, a year later, I was once again entranced by her characters, and brought back into their lives. After reading Ash & Luke’s story, we got a glimpse into Mia & Jared, but I knew there was so much more to uncover there. Thankfully, in Stubborn Love, we hear what went down with them.
For starters, this takes place along the same timeline as I Love You to Death. I didn’t know that at first, so it was a touch confusing (not to the actual story), but just figuring out where Luke and Ash were in their relationship and how it pertained to Mia and Jared’s timeframe. It’s small potatoes, though, but worth mentioning, so you know going in, it takes place about that time.
Much like ILYTD, Natalie used the past and present to tell the story. She does this really well, and overall, I enjoyed this format. It allows readers to experience what’s happening with the characters, rather than just hear about the events. So this starts from five years back, and flips between those times and the present, eventually butting right up to the present. Like I’d said in my review of ILYTD, if not done properly, this flipping can muddy a story, but once again, Natalie nailed this.
What I liked about the present, was the fact that it took place over a day. Mia and Jared are damaged. When we meet them at the beginning of the story, they have some major stuff to deal with. There’s a whole series of misunderstandings, issues, unspoken words, etc. And they need a chat. And a chat is what they have. Through them rehashing their memories, we learn how they came to be, what they went through, what went down (which was a lot), and we get to relive this all with them.
I loved the development of their relationship, and how they came to be. Their chemistry was hot and they worked. When it all kinda went to crap, though, I was heartbroken. I felt for Jared. I was pissed at Mia. I was a mess. I couldn’t read fast enough. And damn, did I love Jared. Being inside his head was fantastic. With Mia (and even Luke), you get so much of why they are who they are, and it’s really surprising they were functioning adults at all with the childhood they had. And for Mia, this has travelled very much into her adult life.
As I said, they recount their time together, over five years, and it’s funny, charming, incredibly sexy, and definitely heartbreaking at times.
My two qualms with the story —I personally think it should be Americanized. I know that Natalie is Australian, so that’s how she writes, but seeing as it’s set in Boston and the characters are American, I do think that should dictate word usage. Is it a huge deal? Nope. Just something I noticed. The other thing would be the repeated dialogue. It got heavier in the most intense part of the story, and unfortunately, it did sort of kill the flow for me in those parts. I know it will work for some people because seeing both POVs is great, as you want to see how each character reacted to one conversation; however, I personally think it could have been executed differently. A chapter of Mia’s would end with a really strong line, but then the start of Jared’s next chapter wouldn’t pick up there, but rather, go back to that dialogue and we’d relive it again through his eyes, when I really just wanted to get on with it. Again, some people will totally dig that, but for me, it did sort of mess with the pacing when I was really in the most intense parts of the story.
Overall, I loved this story. Natalie’s writing flows so well. Her characters are really well-developed, and it’s so easy to fall in love with them and their stories. I obviously am DYING to read Luke’s story. I cannot wait to get more from these characters and just this group all together, but mostly, still just ready to get in HIS head, in particular. Note: I Love You, Always, is not a re-telling of ILYTD, but rather Luke’s story—his past, present, and his future.
It’s interesting how when you read ILYTD, you know OF Mia and Jared, but then you read their story, and you’re like WHAT THE HELL? ALL THAT WAS HAPPENING WHILE ASH & LUKE WERE GOING THROUGH THEIR STUFF? It’s amazing. And I definitely recommend reading it! You’re sure to fall in love with Natalie’s writing and her characters. Stubborn Love is definitely a must-read.