Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
“You’ve made me see things so clearly. What I lost wasn’t lost at all. I just didn’t know where to find it.”
I think ‘excited’ was an understatement when I found out the wonderful JB Lexington’s follow up to Forever Eve was in the works! It’s finally here, and I honestly could not be more impressed right now. This one is definitely my favourite book of the two and I’m still sat in awe just taking everything in! I was so excited to dive back into the lives of some fantastic characters and to see just how Izabel’s life had changed after the ending of the last book, especially after meeting Henry. I wasn’t quite ready for how explosive and unexpected this one was!
Izabel Jones had the perfect life: a PhD in psychotherapy and her own, successful practice; a hunky and adoring engineer husband, and a baby on the way-the first of many, Henry, liked to tell her.
Then one night the phone rang, and her world turned upside down.
Henry always went running when Izabel’s ex, Bo, needed help. Despite Bo’s abusive history, Henry’s kind heart was determined to help him with his afflictions and teach him to find peace within himself . . . only what started as a usual rescue mission, turned into fatal chaos.
Now with her husband’s life and their future in limbo, Izabel is thrown into tragedy, and she must find her inner strength in order to pick up the pieces and rebuild. But rather than follow the advice she would give her patients, she tries to close the door on her demons and ignore the nightmares that terrorize her recovery.
The fate of their marriage has traveled through time and Henry’s love for Izabel is undeniable, but will she risk almost losing him again by shutting him out too?
The past and present collide in this dramatic story about family and friends, love and loss, and the journey toward the future.
The start of book two honestly felt like coming home. The characters we’d grown to love from book one welcomed me back into their lives with open arms, and it was so easy to become acquainted with them once again after a four month break! We see just how Izabel and Henry’s relationship has grown over our time away, and we get a nice mix of present day and past to get us up to speed. I loved just how different Izabel seemed in this book compared with how book one started, and it was so refreshing to see her confidence and strength blossom like never before. I felt rather content! I knew this wouldn’t last however, and I just knew the drama was about to start again, so I definitely made the most of it while I could. The author’s tone perfectly matched book one, almost like there was just no break in between the two! It was such a great start to the book and it instantly made me eager for more.
After having such hatred for Bo, Izabel’s ex-husband after reading the first book, he’s back, but plays a very different part to what I thought he’d play. Henry is there for him when everything goes downhill or when he’s drunk and disorderly in a bar somewhere, and I couldn’t help but question his intentions. On the one hand, I was shocked Henry could even bear to look at him after how he hurt Izabel, both physically and mentally, but I also admired just how grown up he was being about it all. He believes everyone deserves a second chance, but with people like Bo, I’m not too sure. This was one of the many things I was looking forward to hearing more about, and seeing just how the author approaches these delicate topics throughout. The author has taken a very unexpected direction with this book, and I loved everything about it so far!
I couldn’t help but get drawn into the beautiful descriptions of places and feelings, and I’ve always thought that this is one of the author’s strong points. I’m always able to imagine myself in any place or feel so many different feelings as we read the pages. This doesn’t change when we’re hit with a shocking announcement of an accident and learn Henry is hurt badly. Seeing Izabel’s happiness dissolve before our very eyes was like a punch to the stomach, and I felt just as concerned as the characters about his safety. The author takes the story from 0-100 in the space of a few short moments, and I loved just how fast-paced things were. There was one thought in the back of my mind after this discovery – did Bo have anything to do with this? His track record isn’t exactly pristine when it comes to assault and I felt like I’d have to keep an eye on him as the story progressed. Things are constantly exciting and completely gripping.
“I let out a concentrated sigh. My life is right on track. I’m exactly where I am supposed to be.“
If you’ve read book one and are wondering whether this book is just as raunchy as the previous – yes, yes it is. The author’s descriptive scenes are enough to make anyone blush, but it just solidifies the relationship Izabel and Henry have. I normally screw up my face at a sex scene because 80% of the time, I feel they’re completely over the top and rather embarrassing to read. However, I’ve learned that Lexington is the ultimate Queen of the Sex Scene, with the words just flowing naturally and thankfully, with minimal cringe. The opening to the book was everything fans of this series want and need, and I had incredibly high hopes for the rest of the book. Going back and forth in time worked well and was easy to keep up with. A great experience so far! I was still eager to find out more about how Bo fitted into Izabel and Henry’s life, and just whether he was a threat to them. Could they stay safe with him in their lives?
Hearing from Bo’s mother, Tippy, was hard on Izabel, and in doing so, it seemed to open a whole new can of worms, bringing her old memories she’d rather forget back to the surface. We’re still not given every detail here, and I liked how the author gives readers a little something to think about, information we don’t know just yet. I knew that by going back and forth in the story, we’d eventually learn new information that would allow us to put all the pieces together. The way the whole plot worked was constantly exciting and always had me asking questions about certain people and what would happen next. Henry’s time in hospital was terrifying, and the words the author has used create such a powerful and intense atmosphere, but at the same time, I felt optimistic about his recovery. With everything Izabel has experienced in her life, I was sure she’d bounce back, but what she’s experiencing here is a completely new type of pain I wouldn’t wish upon anyone.
Some of my theories already proved wrong, and I was completely shocked with a number of discoveries! The author just seems to be getting better and better with each book, and her ability to capture the heart and soul of her readers is something that I’m sure many other writers would be envious of. Just as we think Izabel’s strength has increased, it’s forced to increase even more as she battles with pain, suffering an a loss she simply wasn’t ready for. I knew she’d be able to pick herself up again with her loved ones around her – she’s done it once, so she can do it again! I admired just how much love, warmth and support there was between all our main characters as they build each other up and help one another heal. Izabel still has a long way to go and Henry would also need to be patient, but together, I was confident they would conquer anything life threw at them, together.
Shutting Henry out was the last thing I imagined Izabel doing, but it seemed her recent experiences were eating her up inside, and bottling up her emotions to the point of explosion was how she chose to deal with things. The arguments come in thick and fast, and this dream couple and loving family are soon spiraling down a slippery slope. It was a saddening thing to experience, but I also thought that these topics of self-loathing and guilt were things that many other people experience in the real world. I really appreciated how the author includes these topics in the book and I felt very emotional as I tried to place myself in Izabel’s shoes. To try and force herself out of her mindset, Izabel visits one very special person who I loved from book one… Regression was Izabel’s way of connecting with the past in the previous book, which was a great touch. Would it work this time around? I was glad the author revisited this – I loved it in book one!
“You’re not in my head. It’s like every day when I leave my room, I walk into the toxic fog that devours my mind and takes me back to that day. You don’t understand.”
I loved reading Izabel’s self reflection and her healing process – each sentence was incredibly moving. I also felt so emotional as herself and Nat reconnected. Nat is just the most matter-of-fact and badass character you could meet, and when she has some surprising news of her own, I couldn’t help but to do an internal squeal of excitement! The book seems to be full of important life lessons for characters that us readers can take away, and many of these will stick with me for a long time to come. Do you ever get that feeling where you just feel for a character so much that you want to pull them out of the book and give them a hug?! I wanted nothing but happiness for Izabel and I finally felt that she was well on her way to getting it. All she needed now was for Henry to come home and for them to make amends (which would probably end up with them falling into bed together).
Izabel is confident that speaking with Tippy is exactly what she needs to do right now. Their discussion makes us realise exactly what she’s going through, especially with a husband like Jack who seems to be more interested in his son now than he should have been before. She had the weight of the world on her shoulders, and these two women needed each other more than they initially thought in order to heal. I loved how the author visited so many issues and gave us closure, and with each scene that passed, I felt a sense of accomplishment and calmness just radiating from Izabel. Knowing Izabel was getting her life in order and taking the right actions for the future was so satisfying, and I had a positive feeling about the ending of the book. I was crossing my fingers for a happy ending!
I loved how exciting and adventurous Izabel and Henry’s relationship is and continues to be as we get closer to the end of the book. He always goes out of his way to make her feel good and to spoil her wherever he can, and their latest trip is full of surprises. Even though Izabel has no clue what Henry has planned, I admired just how much she trusts him to get every detail right. Their relationship seems stronger than ever, and it just shows the two are solid. Whatever life throws their way, they’re sure to overcome it. The author has consistently portrayed their relationship this way all the way through the book, and even though their journey hasn’t been perfect up to this point, the two are perfect for each other. Now will someone please pass me the goddamn tissues!
Eve makes another appearance (hooray!) but in a completely different way to what was expected. Henry manages to go above and beyond once again to bring the past and present together in the most generous of gestures. It wouldn’t be long before the pair have a little piece of Eve and Charlie with them forever. I love how this detail in the story brings book one and two together, and it’s something that fans of Eve’s story will adore. Not only does Henry play his part well, but Natalie also does whatever she can for Izabel and her family, and it’s something so heart-warming to experience. The author has created some of the most perfect characters who all think so highly of one another, bringing a deep sense of love and contentment wherever you look. Reading their conversations just feels like a complete breath of fresh air – I loved it so much!
“She holds the key to the secrets holding me. Eve will forever be in my dreams.”
In true Lexington fashion, the final scenes in the story were just fabulous, and we even see an exciting connection between Ben, Natalie’s partner, and a very special character. This surprise had the other characters in shocked silence, even myself who just loved every bit of this new discovery! The detail was brilliant and the information we learn was such a great ending to an already deeply satisfying read. The ending pages of the book tell me that this is only the beginning of what more there is to learn about Charlie and Eve, and I am beyond excited for what comes next! The book has been a truly brilliant read that definitely deserves five stars. I’ll be recommending this one instantly!
After Eve is the perfect follow up to Forever Eve – completely unpredictable and deliciously beautiful until the very end. There are some delicate topics in the book once again, and the author visits these with such care and attention to detail. We join Izabel on her recovery journey from PTSD and postpartum depression, and even though some of it isn’t easy to read, I was astounded by the author’s ability to express feeling and emotion so intensely through her words. We also continue to see the irresistible relationship between Izabel and Henry, which I’m sure fans have all been desperate to read more about! I’m once again in awe of her writing talent and I’m secretly hoping book three will be coming our way very soon!
A huge thank you once again to the author, JB Lexington, for my copy of the second part of this wonderful series! You can pre-order your own copy of After Eve over on Amazon, released on December 8th. If you’re curious about book one, take a look at my review of Forever Eve! Make sure you’re following the author over on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more updates.