ARC Review: Rend by Roan Parrish

Rend

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Matt Argento knows what it feels like to be alone. After a childhood of abandonment, he never imagined someone might love him—much less someone like Rhys Nyland, who has the voice of an angel, the looks of a god, and the worship of his fans.

Matt and Rhys come from different worlds, but when they meet, their chemistry is incendiary. Their romance is unexpected, intense, and forever—at least, that’s what their vows promise. Suddenly, Matt finds himself living a life he never thought possible: safe and secure in the arms of a man who feels like home. But when Rhys leaves to go on tour for his new album, Matt finds himself haunted by the ghosts of his past.

When Rhys returns, he finds Matt twisted by doubt. But Rhys loves Matt fiercely, and he’ll go to hell and back to triumph over Matt’s fears. After secrets are revealed and desires are confessed, Rhys and Matt must learn to trust each other if they’re going to make it. That means they have to fall in love all over again—and this time, it really will be forever.

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After the absolutely beautiful love story that was Riven, I thought I knew what I was getting into with Rend but wow was I wrong. This book put me through an emotional wringer and I have truly forgotten how much I cried. This is not the story of two people falling in love, but about how two married people deeply in love have to fight for their relationship when there are unresolved issues.

The story is through the single POV of Matt, who we realize from the get go has lot of issues to work through. Being a product of the foster care system, he has serious abandonment issues – first by his mother, then his aunt and then by the other foster parents before he ended up in a group home. He has really never learned how to want for anything, because he would never get it. He gets overwhelmed by even having to make the simplest of choices, can’t believe why Rhys chose him and never trusts that their happiness will last. It’s a very melancholic narration and being in his head is very sad and exhausting but it did make me feel satisfied when he decides to work on his issues.

Rhys is almost the exact opposite of Matt. He has a very larger than life personality, always lively and active and and only wants Matt to be happy. But being from a very happy family and having led an almost privileged life, he doesn’t always understand what Matt is going through or why he wants to keep his past a secret. He is also possessive by nature and wants to fix everything by himself. However, the second half of the book revolves around both of them deciding to try to be more honest and more open with each other. It was wonderful to see that despite Matt almost falling apart and Rhys hurting due to it, they never leave each other and their unconditional love is never in question. They really are each other’s partners and support systems and even though, sometimes it felt like they were too dependent on each other, I think it worked for them and also made me believe that it would only get better.

The writing in this book is truly magical. It made me sad, cry, laugh and fall in love with their love and adoration for each other. It shows us that marriage is not the end but the beginning, and I thought the author explored the highs and lows of the couple very well. The setting of their home in Sleepy Hollow, their late night walks to the cemetery and Matt’s pensive sadness or even his nightmares made for quite an eerie ambiance and I don’t think I could have chosen a more atmospheric book for the month of Halloween. It was also nice to see a little more of Theo and Caleb and they played important roles in helping our main characters – Theo’s wanting to be friends with Matt and Caleb trying his best to help Rhys keep his sanity were definitely turning points in the story.

If you want to read a love story like Riven, then this is not that book. But if you want something that explores the deep issues of a man who has seen so much unfairness in his life but still wants to do good and hopefully, live a life of peace with the man he loves – then you will love this one. Its emotional, you’ll end up crying buckets, but it’ll ultimately make you happy because theirs is a love for the ages.

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