For those of you who know us from our fanfiction days, you know we love Soulmate AUs. In original published works, Soulmate stories for the most part are relegated to Young Adult or Fantasy/Sci-fi novels. So running into one in a New Adult Romance was unusual.
Naturally, I had to get it. And I am so glad I did!
I loved, absolutely loved Accepting Fate by Deanna Chase. Loved it!
It’s the second book of the series but you don’t need to read the first book in order to understand this one. Which is good, especially if you want to not confuse readers.
From the very first line, I was hooked.
During certain moments in life, reality melts away, trapping the people living it in a state of disbelief. When they know nothing after that moment will ever be the same.
And it’s not about meeting the soulmate, instead it is about shared trauma that defines and shapes both characters’ lives. The loss of the heroine’s best friend and the hero’s little sister. The loss permeates the psyche of both characters and knowing about it makes the things they do and don’t do make more sense.
Interestingly the core of the story isn’t about the soulmate connection, but about family and family of choice.
When two former friends, Jax and Derek run into each other at a mutual friend’s art gallery opening the sparks fly. Derek’s a firefighter with a hero complex and more commitment issues than you can shake a stick at. Jax is a woman who doesn’t know what she wants to do with her life. All she knows is that she doesn’t want to be like her brother and she doesn’t want to fall back into a depression that almost killed her. Plus she’s recovering from a bad break-up which left her on the edge of despair.
Derek and Jax have great chemistry with each other. And while Derek knows Jax is his soulmate, Jax doesn’t. Which means that her reactions aren’t colored by that.
Now soulmate stories often have an inherently problematic premise that free will is negated. That isn’t the case here. We have several instances in both side characters and in the main characters themselves that choice plays a major role. Which is super refreshing.
Choice matters. Because without it you essentially remove consent. So yeah… It matters.
I absolutely loved the characters. All of them. Jax is competent, but suffers from depression and a lack of direction. She felt real. Derek is also competent (not unusual) but he’s also emotionally in tune with himself. He knows what his problems are, he’s just choosing not to do anything about them. He’s got aspects of both an Alpha Male and a Beta Male. He takes command when he needs to, when Jax needs him to, but otherwise lets her take the lead and listens to her when she tells him what she needs. He also stands up to her when she gets jealous of him and another woman. While at the same time, he doesn’t break the woman’s confidence.
The side characters are also great. Sasha, the ‘other woman’, is actually nothing of the sort. She owns her sexuality and is dealing with some pretty big things. She also doesn’t get upset at Jax for misjudging her and eventually she and Jax work things out. There’s also Seth, the supportive friend. Lucy, his girlfriend and other supportive friend. And both main character’s families. They all have depth to them and none of them feel like cliches or tropes.
Even better, this book doesn’t demonize mental illness. It shows that getting help takes its own kind of strength and portrays psychology and therapy in a positive light.
Finally I liked the twist on the soulmate concept. It’s unique and something I haven’t seen before.
I happily give this book FIVE STARS!
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