Things We Hide From The Light Book Review
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New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lucy Score returns to Knockemout, Virginia, following fan-favorite Things We Never Got Over with Knox’s brother Nash’s story.
Nash Morgan was always known as the good Morgan brother, with a smile and a wink for everyone. But now, this chief of police is recovering from being shot and his Southern charm has been overshadowed by panic attacks and nightmares. He feels like a broody shell of the man he once was. Nash isn’t about to let anyone in his life know he’s struggling. But his new next-door neighbor, smart and sexy Lina, sees his shadows. As a rule, she’s not a fan of physical contact unless she initiates it, but for some reason Nash’s touch is different. He feels it too. The physical connection between them is incendiary, grounding him and making her wonder if exploring it is worth the risk.
Too bad Lina’s got secrets of her own, and if Nash finds out the real reason she’s in town, he’ll never forgive her. Besides, she doesn’t do relationships. Ever. A hot, short-term fling with a local cop? Absolutely. Sign her up. A relationship with a man who expects her to plant roots? No freaking way. Once she gets what she’s after, she has no intention of sticking around. But Knockemout has a way of getting under people’s skin. And once Nash decides to make Lina his, he’s not about to be dissuaded…even if it means facing the danger that nearly killed him.
Lucy Score does not give any sensitive content warnings for this book. Here are the potentially triggering content I observed while reading:
- Cardiac Condition/Hospitalization
- Gun Violence
- Police Brutality
- Sexual Harassment
- Sexually Explicit Scenes
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There are possible **SPOILERS** beyond this point!
This is a long review and it is your right and privilege to click out of it if you thoroughly enjoyed this book. I read the same behemoth 500 page book you did so I’m going to share my thoughts on the story. I would highly recommend you click out at this point if you disagree with the 2.5 rating I gave this one. There are some spoilers as I go through my thoughts. Please take care.
When it comes to Nash, “Alexa, play Needy by Ariana Grande”.
There was so much of this romance book that I enjoyed. I love slow burn and angst and tension! I love the diversity of the supporting cast. I loved the little rescued dog, Piper, and Nash’s relationship. I absolutely adored Lina’s development as a character. Geez, it sucks because I really like Lina so much! I loved the older neighbor and Lina’s friendship so much. But unfortunately there was many parts that prevented me from fully enjoying this book. I had so many questions about the choices this author made in writing this book. I enjoyed Things We Never Let Go well enough and I expected to love this one even more. I was so disappointed in what I actually read.
It still bothers me in the last book and in this book, there is a plethora of unusual names that just seem very unlikely and too campy to me. That isn’t a huge deal but I don’t care for it either way. I just wish that was the biggest issue that I had with this book.
I really question what are the reasoning behind how Lucy Score labels actions/people good or bad.
How is Lina bad? Because we’re told she defended herself against disrespectful and handsy men? Because she’s not a doormat like Naomi? Because she doesn’t like to be touched? Because she cusses? Because she wears crop tops, tight pants and heeled boots? Because she had a tattoo?! Because she has short hair? She literally takes care of a stranger and helps him rescue a dog from a drain pipe at no advantage of her own. She even has the opportunity to actually betray Nash’s trust and she doesn’t on her own accord. Women don’t owe men anything just because they’re attracted to them. If she didn’t want to disclose her life story to a man she DOES’T feel comfortable disclosing to, that’s her right! Regardless of how much he has shared. Lina tries to protect Nash from an inevitable heartbreak because she acknowledges that she is not emotionally available to be in a relationship nor does she want one. Why should we label this character as bad for doing her job and being emotionally mature?
How is Nash the “Good Guy” when he’s not good at his only job of protecting and serving his community? Sure, he’s nice enough (from what Lucy tells us) and he’s got some manners. From all the anecdotes we hear from other characters, his “niceness” boils down to him obliging women in objectifying him or exhibiting some basic human decency. I’m just not convinced. From what his actions actually indicate, we see him negligent, circumventing the law, giving access to classified documents to civilians and using unnecessary force on civilians he doesn’t like. In what circumstance would it ever be appropriate for a police officer to bait a drunk person they don’t like, so that they can punch them in the face? So if he doesn’t like someone, it’s ok to assault them? His grand scheme to protect himself, his future sister in law and niece in law, is to go outside of his jurisdiction and involve his civilian brother and friend (further endangering himself and others involved) to catch the person who shot him. How is this upstanding behavior from a Chief of Police? How is this him being the good guy? He is often seen pushing Lina’s boundaries that she has been vocal about and others close to her have also been vocal about. Not a bad thing but using guilt to manipulate someone after they have been vulnerable to you is not what I would qualify as a “good guy” trait. Where is the respect?! He unfailing believes Lucian’s warning (another person who DOES NOT know Lina) over what Lina tells him simply because he isn’t getting his way with her. I feel like it would have been more accurate to say a “Good guy gone bad” for the tagline instead.
Lucy Score tells us more than shows us either of these characters being “good” or “bad”. She spends much more time showing us the opposite of what she claims these characters are like. As a reader, it made the story very implausible and I just could not get behind her narrative of them.
I would not want to live in Knockemout where police officers can do seemingly whatever they want. It seems unsafe. I wish the author had done more research to prove that Nash truly was a good guy and also good at his job. She tells us these things but does not show them. As a reader, I can discern things for myself and what I could interpret did not align with what the author hoped to convey.
I say this all this time but authors that include sensitive content in their romance novels need to give their readers the option to know what they’re getting into. It doesn’t have to be in the book, but if it’s included on their website they have the opportunity to bring in more newsletter recipients and also not blindside/upset their readers. When these aren’t included, as a reader you trust the author to not include sensitive topics or treat them appropriately, in the romance genre especially. I don’t feel that Lucy Score did either of those things. I feel blindsided and irritated that I’ve spent so much time on a book that ultimately I would not have read, had she given me the choice to decide for myself.
I was so excited about this book with the expectations she set in interviews (I watched several prior to release) and in the blurb. I was pumped about the mental health representation where the MMC is the focus. I was pumped about the badass female lead. I did not enjoy how the author demonstrated these subjects. I was not satisfied with how Nash handled his major depressive symptoms or how he cajoled his hot neighbor lady into caring for him instead of seeking true professional care. I enjoyed this book until I really, really didn’t. Right before the 400 page mark (yea! I know!) it was kinda ok and then there was just too much for me to ignore! I was going to DNF but since this book was my pick in a Buddy read, I chose to finish the book.
As someone in a major place of power, Nash allowed many things to slip by his notice because of his mental health concerns and was never reprimanded for it. I did not like how victims of police brutality that occurred in his department were the only reason a diversity and sensitivity training or whatever it is, was implemented in this station. His subordinates did not even notify him right away of the mistreatment of black citizens in his jurisdiction happening until he “felt better”. When your mental health is NEGATIVELY impacting the way you perform a job that is as quintessential as this one, you need to be removed, replaced or supervised, at least temporarily! I really did not like seeing how casually these topics were treated when they are not casual! Black people and people of color are exponentially mistreated, abused and sometimes killed for this type of negligence in police departments all over the United States on a REGULAR basis. It’s not just some throwaway plot point that can be used for shock value in a ROMANCE novel! I am not an authority in this matter just because I’m black and I would not ask someone who is to waste their time analyzing this more, but I would not recommend this book to my fellow black readers as a book I stand behind. When I read romance, I don’t want to be blindsided by this kind of flippant treatment of very sensitive topics that affect people who look like me everyday.
As a white author, I feel like this subject was not researched nearly enough for her to include it in this book. It felt very privileged, over simplified and minimized. Not only that, it could have been completely left out of the book entirely and the romance aspects of the book would have worked just the same, if not better, in my opinion. That is how truly small of a topic this was in the nearly 600 page book. The book was far too long to begin with. All the other malpractice things both Nash and his subordinates get up to we’re large enough that she could have excluded minimizing such a controversial and triggering topic.
Look, I get it. These are fictional people in a fictional place. It’s not that serious but when we give this material to those who have no idea what it’s like to be in the shoes of those fictional characters who are racially profiled and mistreated, this subject becomes normalized and minimized when it absolutely should not be! Reading is for entertainment BUT it can also be an instrument to convey complex ideas like love, race, morality and normalcy. Many people form their opinions on certain subjects based off the media they consume, both consciously and subconsciously. I don’t want to be subconsciously fed that systematic racial injustice is a simple idea that can be solved by one person being fired or that “one bad egg spoiled the bunch”. That’s absurd, disrespectful and misleading. I also don’t want an author to tell me that someone is bad for having a strong personality and personal boundaries or that someone is good simply because they are aggressively vulnerable and wear a badge but allow countless illegal activities to be perpetrated by themselves and others. I love dark romance because you have options (with triggers warnings) and your expectations for horrible things to happen is a given. You know these topics are taboo, or illegal or unrealistic. In a contemporary romance, you’re saying all of this is normal and ideal, condoned behavior. Blanket statements, indeed, with exceptions, of course! However, the point stands.
This book was a travesty to small town romance and I just think there are so, SO many more amazing small town romance stories that are leaps, bounds better than this one. The writing was average, there should have been much more editing to take out the cringy attempts at humor, the poor choices Nash makes as a police officer and chunks of this story that are only about Sloane, Lucian, Naomi, Knox and Waylay without the main couple also present. The fluff was boring or irritated me and this story absolutely dragged. I felt like I was just hate reading by the end of it.
This is the second book I have read from Lucy Score and I’m very torn on whether I will read the last book in the series. I don’t like leaving a series unfinished just to placate my anxiety but I definitely won’t read other books from this author and I’m sad about it. Many book buddies love this author and I gave her a chance based off of glowing recommendations from them and other authors I love. However, not everyone likes the same books and that ok. I, ultimately, did not like this one. Could you tell?
The spice was meh for me in this one. After about 350 pages is ramps up to be pretty often and explicit. It all occurred after I fell out of love with the story and I just skimmed most of it for dialogue.
Genre & Tropes
- He falls first
- Found family
“I really love bad ideas. Don’t you?”
“Can’t blame her. You’ve got a lickable face.”
“Don’t you ‘ma’am’ me. This is northern Virginia. Y’all barely say y’all here. You can’t ‘aw shucks’ your way out of this.”