Perfect final for my favorite Kennedy boys- the Triplets!
Commenté aux États-Unis le 21 mars 2022
The Kennedy Boys series represents everything that makes Siobhan Davis one of the best- emotive story telling, complicated characters, riveting plot twists and soapy drama, and unforgettable romantic chemistry. The final three brothers have some of the best stories, I love every one!
“To courage and to truth.” Two virtues, one simple but powerful toast - and I can’t think of a better thematic summation of this amazing story. I knew I would love sweet Keaton’s story, but I had no idea the depths to which his story would move me, how Keaton and Austen would totally own my heart. THIS STORY IS EVERYTHING. Keaton and Austen filled me with such love. Adoring Keaton has everything I adore about this amazing series- angst, that Kennedy family drama, a dynamic cast of riveting primary and secondary characters, and the perfect balance of heart, heat, and humor. By those merits alone I would love this story- but Keaton in his quiet and tender way has snuck up on me...and now, Adoring Keaton is tied for my favorite Kennedy story ever. Not only because of its deeply beautiful love story, but because of the important themes Siobhan isn’t scared to explore. Adoring Keaton is courageous in its truth- it is heart-warming, poignant, beautiful and honest.
I already loved Keaton- and his book only made me love him more. I’ve loved the way he loves the ladies in his life- his love for his mama, his connection with Faye. He’s always been so sweet and selfless- willing to give up so much for those he loves. But here, we see the price he’s had to pay. Because Keaton has sacrificed more than we could know. He’s hiding in plain sight- hiding his true self, lying to everyone he knows and therefore lying to himself. He’s struggling to come to terms with who he is and what he wants, to find the courage and confidence to be himself. He’s a bit lost- directionless and insecure. And I loved getting to see the inexperienced, emotionally needy side of him- he’s adorably awkward at times, vulnerable and sensitive. He wears his big beautiful heart on his sleeve. Siobhan gives him such complexity, such heart, such emotional resonance- I felt his every word in my heart. I felt such compassion, such love, such pain for him. He just needs someone to see him- and Austen, well Austen more than sees him. He understands his very soul.
While I knew I would love Keaton, I was unprepared for the beautiful creature that is Austen Hayes. Dare I say, Austen may be the most compelling leading man Siobhan has EVER written. I FELL SO IN LOVE WITH HIM. He’s the dreamiest- he’s loyal and honest, so compassionate and intuitive. He understood Keaton’s needs, is in tune with his feelings- and the patient and compassionate way he builds trust with Keaton moved me to tears more than once. He’s self-assured, confident, and self-aware- unlike Keats, he knows who he is and has embraced his identity, even if his current situation has him less than open about it. Austen is the character manifestation of unconditional love- pure, honest, and most importantly, BRAVE. His courage not only inspired me, but inspired Keats- he’s the catalyst to Keats journey, to his growth, and it is so breathtaking to behold. The way this man loves is so beautiful.
The chemistry? I’m not even sure I have words for how beautifully their connection is written. Together- these two are magical. I’ve never swooned so hard for a couple. Siobhan has scribed such a compelling story of TRUE partnership. They are a team. Two people who love each other and support each other. Who communicate and want to lift each other up. The vulnerability, the honesty, the genuine affection they demonstrate for each other- it is magnificent to behold. They both embody such an all-consuming care for one another, a mutual respect and admiration. But what is most moving is how they understand each other- the way they trust, the way they can only be their full selves with the other person, the acceptance and understanding they demonstrate for one another’s self-identity journeys, even though they are both in very different places. This is some of the most compelling, soulful, tender and intimate character chemistry I’ve ever read. Their relationship-I FELT in my soul. This is what it feels like to read about true soul mates. Not to mention- THEY ARE SO HOT TOGETHER. SCORCHING!
I was so enraptured by their magic. I felt transformed by both their joy and pain, moved to tears several times by their emotional range. Their story is hard in places, euphoric in others. The obstacles are many- not only do they both have parts of their past threatening their powerful but risky connection, but other aspects of their identity keep overshadowing and silencing this very important part of who they are. Being a Kennedy, career aspirations, stigmas, trust, and fear all jeopardize how openly they can exist as themselves- and therefore threaten who they can be together. And that leads to some real heartbreak and pain.
The truth of this story is that these two men are each other’s center. They ground the other, amplify the best in each other. But Siobhan doesn’t shy away from being real about what makes their story uniquely, and unfairly, complicated- the role of identity and acceptance. She explores what happens when you find your center before you’ve even really figured out your own path, before you've even accepted your own self. And that is what this makes this story so special. This isn’t just a story about two people falling in love- this is a story about exploring and embracing your own identity. About two people realizing that time spent not being yourself, where you let others limit who you are, is time wasted, time lost. About two people figuring out what acceptance is or is not, and doing the hard, and unjust, work of learning to accept themselves while also feeling repressed in their identities. Somehow Siobhan made their love feel normal and familiar while also giving it space to be unique- to acknowledge that Austen and Keats have barriers that the other Kennedy couples will never experience. And that is so powerful.
Courage. Truth. Traits endemic to any kind of love- traits that are actually universal to the act of loving. But for Keats and Austen, courage and truth aren’t just the core of their story in falling in love with each other. No, they are also core to their story about accepting and loving themselves. And that love story...well, that story may be the greatest love story of all. I'm so in love with Adoring Keaton- I could not ask for a more beautiful story!
FEELINGS. I’m overcome by them- stunned and raw. Siobhan has saved the most challenging, most harrowing, most complicated Kennedy story for last- this one may have hurt the most, but it is also the most rewarding. The hardest to like Kennedy is somehow the easiest to love.
These Kennedy men and their loves have been THROUGH IT. But no one, perhaps, as much as Kent. His story is unexpected, emotional, riveting, and haunting. This book will rock you- unsettle you, but it will also move you. Because for nine books we’ve blindly watched this character self-destruct, watch him unravel and destroy relationships and cause others pain. While every other Kennedy has found security and stability- found PEACE and contentment- Kent has been standing in the dark, drowning in pain and secrets. Everything we knew about him is wrong- the facade of the womanizing jerk, the partying antagonizer, the hateful and hurtful anti-hero is shattered by this story. And in doing so, Siobhan shatters a piece of us, too.
Kent and Presley are the embodiment of the redemptive and rehabilitative power of unconditional and compassionate love. How love can save and heal. Kent is an undisputed jerk- he knows it, we know it, his family knows it. Heck, even Presley knows it. But Presley awakens something in him- gives him a light, some hope, some freedom. In wooing her, we see the real Kent, as he lets her in, he lets us in too. And this is not a Kent we know- a sweet and vulnerable man with so much heart, a man more fragile than we could ever realize. He’s charming and considerate- the type of man who writes meaningful love notes and sends flowers. A man so easy to love you wonder how no one could see this version of him. And Presley? She’s just as magical- I loved her instantly. This woman, too, has been through it. She’s resilient, compassionate, and SO very loving. But she, too, is fragile...she too has masked pain. Both of these characters are so tragically lonely- surrounded by loving people but somehow entirely alone. Everyone around them has somehow failed them. Until each other- until the love jars them so thoroughly that it gives them hope. Peace. Light. The true connection that both have them have been robbed of their entire lives. And for Kent, oh that hurt my heart- because this amazing family, this beautiful group of men and women I adore, have missed seeing him entirely. And I did, too. Both of these characters are so brave, so beautifully broken, so sweet and courageous. My heart swells with love for them.
What perhaps is the most captivating about Siobhan’s narrative approach is how she contrasts Presley and Kent’s romance with their inner turmoil. There is a beautiful juxtaposition of the sweet and light with the dark and disturbing. The love story here? It is easy- perhaps the easiest we’ve read in the Kennedy series. These two fall fast and quickly for each other- authentically slipping into an easy familiarity, a connection sweet, and pure, and blissfully grounded and mature. There is such a marked lightness, a simplicity to their coupling. Of course, that doesn’t change their baggage- Presley is scared of getting hurt by the notorious playboy, and she has her own past pains. And Kent, oh, sweet Kent just doesn’t want to mess this up- he wants to be WORTHY. But their connection is so electric, so intimate and TENDER- they can’t help but be consumed by it regardless of their fears and turmoil. They jump in so vulnerably, but so naturally. For the first time ever they can just BE. This is chemistry somehow intense and gentle, fierce and soft- they make each other feel it all. And we feel it, too. Siobhan gives us that peace, that achingly beautiful sweetness, and then she shrouds us in truths that hurt, painful realities and experiences. The dark “Give me your truths, Kent. Even if those truths hurt. At least it will be real.” And Siobhan gets real- unflinchingly so- she gives us the truths. And they are not easy- they are raw. They hurt. And what was a sweet and innocent love now becomes dangerous to them both- because they unexpectedly find aspects of each other’s lives triggering. Pushing them to do something neither has been able to do before- confronting their pain. And only their love can make it safe to do that- give them the courage.
But Siobhan also shows us that the love of another is not enough on its own- not if you don’t love yourself. Both characters are drowning in aspects of themselves. Alone in the violent waters that have engulfed them. Their connection is so powerful, so catalyzing that it pulls their heads out of the water. Their love inspires survival, is the proverbial life vest in the water- but even so, when you’re drowning you have to be the one to grab the vest. You have to want to be saved, to be willing to save yourself. If not, you still drown. And sometimes you have to break completely before love can glue you back together- before you're ready to reach for survival. THIS. OH THIS. This is what makes Kent and Presley’s story so impactful- the parallel journey of two people sweetly and easily falling in love right alongside the turbulent, painful, and challenging journey of those same two people desperately battling to save themselves, fighting to be brave enough to work on their own stuff so that their hearts can fully belong to each other. Being whole with someone else means also being whole with yourself. Siobhan is giving us a story about one of the most courageous and bravest acts we can take as humans- facing ourselves. It isn’t just surviving life’s tribulations that make us brave, although certainly that alone is magnificent. But for Kent and Presley the greatest act of bravery is doing the self-work it takes to THRIVE despite their adversity. To heal. That is what makes them “truly brave.”
That journey is the reward. Kent and Presley have a love so epic that it rebuilds them, but it also reshapes them. This isn’t just about the two of them putting each other back together- this is about both of them inspiring each other to change how the pieces are assembled. The phoenix rising from the ashes. Being reborn. REFORMED. And you can’t help but feel a little be reformed yourself for having walked this journey with them.
I can’t help but marvel at how Siobhan has let this story come full circle. Back to its roots. This whole series hasn't really been about the drama, that soap operative existence of the Kennedy’s- because the drama doesn’t matter. It doesn't define them. What does is how this family grows, evolves, and comes together to survive and thrive despite it. How they figure out how to love each other, and themselves, just right. And in this world, love isn’t always timely, or easy, or neat or normal, but it is restorative, it is liberating. And, most importantly, it is brave.
LOVE THIS SERIES!
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