“You are the light in my darkness, Charlotte.”
What a beautiful, heart-warming story! I read this book in one sitting and loved it! It initially caught my eye because it sounded so different but had something I really love: a tortured, grouchy, reclusive hero. Don’t ask me why, but I love those! So, naturally I had to read this book!
The story is about this guy, Noah Lake, who used to be a professional and famous extreme sports athlete who was blinded and severely injured in a cliff diving accident. He’s been a daredevil since childhood and he’d turned his passion into a career — meshing extreme sports and journalism, doing every crazy thing in every remote corner of the earth, testing his limits to the max and living life to the fullest, until the horrific accident that left him and his life in pieces and robbed him of his dreams, his sight, and his reason to live. Although most people considered him lucky to have escaped with his life, he was left bitter and angry. With his life shattered and tired of the constant pity he was receiving, he retreated away from his family and friends and shut himself away the world in his New York home until the heroine, Charlotte Conroy, arrived to work for him as a live-in assistant. She was a prodigy musician who’d just suffered a staggering loss of her own and had lost her passion for playing music. Now in need of a place to live and a job, she agreed to come work for Noah. Although they got off to a rough start, they soon began to be drawn to each other. And as they slowly began to help each other heal, they also fell unexpectedly in love…
Now, I’ll admit right off the bat that I found the first few chapters to be a little slow, but once Charlotte and Noah actually met and began to live/work together, I was totally hooked and didn’t put the book down until I reached the end… While most of the story is told from Charlotte’s POV, we get a few key chapters from Noah’s POV too giving us insight into what he was going through and feeling. I thought these chapters were especially well done and really made you understand his character deeply. It was really well balanced between showing us what Charlotte saw from the outside, then allowing us to see what he was going through on the inside.
“His rudeness, I realized, wasn’t directed at me, but at himself. Noah oozed self-loathing like a vapour, and I decided to show him that I could see beyond the cutting remarks and make a connection.”
“I hated to even think the word ‘tortured’ — it sounded so melodramatic — but that was the impression he gave. His body was meant for swimming in oceans and racing down ski slopes, not sitting hunched in darkened rooms.”
I really appreciated that Charlotte was a very strong heroine. Despite going through a lot herself, she remained quite strong and I really admired the way she stood up to Noah — especially in the beginning of the story when he was still (honestly) a total ass to her. But it was like, even though she was frustrated, she kind of understood him in a way and was determined to help him learn to live again. Underneath all the hate and anger that he showed the world was a really good man — kind, sweet, fun-loving, and I love the way she brought that part of him back.
I was immediately drawn to Noah’s character and really loved watching their relationship progress as he slowly began to warm up to Charlotte and come out of the angry shell he’d created around himself. There was a lot of dialogue and a lot of conversations with a lot of showing, not telling, that just really kept me connected to the story.
“Losing all that is bad enough. But I lost something else, something I craved and lived off of, almost as much as I did air and food and water.”
“The rush. The adrenaline. The thrill of walking the edge of life and death… I didn’t have a death wish, but I loved taunting it… Because only when you’re about to lose it all, do you realize how much you have.”
Towards the end of the story, there are two main events that I was honestly a fair bit frustrated with. I feel like, even though I understood why the characters chose to do that, it still bothered me. To be fair though, this is a very, very personal pet peeve that I’m not very tolerant of. I think most people would be fine with it so it’s the kind of thing I work hard to just look past. (PS: for any of you freaking out wondering what it is, I’ll just say it’s nothing horrible and it’s not cheating, it’s just personally annoying, but I don’t want to give spoilers). I guess I just wish people would be smart enough to choose the right path without having to go down the wrong one first. BUT, I did love that he openly admitted to her later that he should have listened to her first, lol. He got brownie points for that.
The ending was incredibly heart-warming and I absolutely loved the special reveal that Noah made. Really made the whole thing that much more meaningful and beautiful.
“I held him, kissed him, afraid if I stopped touching him, he’d vanish in a puff of smoke. He kissed me back, hard, holding me harder, pressing me to him. His hands roamed my back as he kissed my lips, my cheeks, my eyes with desperate intensity before finding my mouth again. I tasted my salt tears, or maybe they were his, and then we couldn’t kiss anymore, but held on to each other as the crowd parted around us.”
This is a standalone romance with a fully resolved ending (and epilogue). It’s part of a series of standalones, each one about a different couple, but you can read any of the books alone or in any order you want. This was my first book by this author and it can absolutely be read alone.
RUSH was a unique and moving love story, and I loved following Noah and Charlotte’s together as they fell in love and helped to heal each other. Actually, I’d say if you loved the “feeling” of Me Before You (minus the ugly-crying, I promise this isn’t tragic), then you should definitely try this book!!
Rating: 4 stars! Standalone contemporary romance.