Jessica Lemmon has a knack for character portrayal. The characters in Bringing Home the Bad Boy come to life on the page. Even Rae, who died four years prior to the opening pages of the novel, felt alive and still very present, albeit only in the minds of the other characters. She was like a shadow between Evan and Charlie.
I really liked how Evan, unlike Charlie, had reached an inner peace that allowed him to pursue Charlie. He didn’t obsess over his deceased wife and the fact that she had been Charlie’s best friend. He honored her memory by being the best dad he could be to their son Lyon, but he didn’t let his past stop him from trying to be happy and to create a good, safe family environment for Lyon.
Charlie on the other hand was, understandably to a point, more hesitant and more riddled with guilt. A large part of that, I felt, was due to her having had a crush on Evan back when they were all just teenagers. But her indecisiveness reached a point where her guilt and insecurity bordered on obsession with Rae and how Charlie had no right to be happy. This was a result of how her ex boyfriend Russell had treated her, and it made a lot of sense, but I think the way he and his current wife were portrayed as entirely negative characters was too simplistic.
A very positive aspect of the story was the ending. This portrayed her as a smart and emotionally mature woman. She was also great in her interactions with Lyon. But the truly wonderful scenes were the ones with Lyon and his father. The author presented Evan as a truly great dad: flawed, but well-meaning and wonderfully loving and dedicated. I don’t think I’ve seen such a wonderful father figure in a book in a very long time.
Bringing Home the Bad Boy is an emotional read, with plenty of angst, but also filled with hot romance and tender emotions that grow into a strong, passionate love.
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