New York Times bestselling author Susan Elizabeth Phillips is back with a delightful novel of a killer love that is filled with her sassy wit and dazzling charm
The dead of winter.
An isolated island off the coast of Maine.
A sinister house looming over the sea . . .
He’s a reclusive writer whose macabre imagination creates chilling horror novels. She’s a down-on-her-luck actress reduced to staging kids’ puppet shows. He knows a dozen ways to kill with his bare hands. She knows a dozen ways to kill with laughs.
But she’s not laughing now. When she was a teenager, he terrified her. Now they’re trapped together on a snowy island off the coast of Maine. Is he the villain she remembers or has he changed? Her head says no. Her heart says yes. It’s going to be a long, hot winter. – Goodreads
As a strong hard-core romance novel addict, Susan Elizabeth Phillips is often my go-to romance author. I have read all of her books and often re-read them. It was a joy at ALA 2013 to meet her in Chicago, I’m pretty sure I flailed. It was an honor. That is why when I had the change to read Heroes Are My Weakness I jumped at the chance. All of that being said this book was completely different from her usual fair, at least to me. I spent a solid portion of the book, around 25% reminding myself that this is the Susan Elizabeth Phillips I know and love. This was completely different. It was darker, it was sinister, it was heartbreakingly romantic.
I almost quit the book a few times in the beginning but I am very glad I stuck with it. After 25% something clicked and the book made sense to me. The stories of the past, the main story in the present and even the bits with puppets, it worked. It was never, ever forced and although it took me awhile to fully figure out I never wanted it to end.
The writer, Theo, the loner, and the puppeteer, Annie, have loved each other from when they were teenagers. However life happened and it became clear to both of them that it would never work. Mostly because Annie viewed Theo has a villain. A true villain that she could, and should never, trust. Because the villain couldn’t change, could he?
Theo and Annie learn a lot about each other, did they judge each other before they really knew each other? Was life just a lot of misunderstandings? Would everything work out okay? It took a lot to get there, Phillips reminds the reader that life isn’t perfect and tied with a bow. Annie claims she just wants a quick fling with no strings attached and Theo claims to give no fucks (but of course doing the actual fucking.)
She knew he cared for her, just as she knew he didn’t love her.–eARC 80%
He comes from a hard life, that is slowly shown to the reader, and Annie. Annie is just trying to survive aspects of life that she doesn’t really want to talk about, to anyone, anyone but Theo. Annie ultimately learns a lot about herself and those around her, people on the island who became her friends, including, yes Theo. The Theo that Annie believes she doesn’t deserve, even though she’s known him forever, because he’s far too beautiful for her, or to be real.
Do you ever look as though you haven’t just stepped off the cover of a paperback novel? —eARC 90%
Theo, of course, not only doesn’t see it. He doesn’t find himself beautiful, he finds himself to be the brooding author who writes fucked up novels and had a wife that killed herself. He wants to be left alone and deal with his demons himself. Even with these walls, Annie gets through: she forces him to listen and think about things he doesn’t want to. Everyone has that friend that one that makes them think about topics they are in denial about. That’s what make the two work well together, they’ve always been good friends until that summer. That summer that changed everything.
What Phillips does though is makes everything unravel and then slowly, real life slow, has things breakdown further and slowly work there way back together.
I’m ultimately glad I stuck with Heroes Are My Weakness because it has become one of my favorite books that I keep going back and reading passages from because it makes my cold bitter black cynical heart warm. I wish I could tell the Ashley who was struggling with the first so many pages that it gets good. It gets “keep you up even though you have work tomorrow” good.