Review originally posted at: http://theindiebookshelf.blogspot.com/2012/07/binding-arbitration.html#more
What’s a great romance story without a bit of angst? Well, how about angst galore and right out of the gate? That is how Binding Arbitration began and as any true fan of contemporary romance (and glutton for punishment) would be, I was hooked. We are introduced to Aidan first and he comes across as the selfish, arrogant, pompous golden boy that just about any woman would hate…and possibly lust for. What’s there to like about this man? He was a womanizer in college. He dated one girl to keep his family happy while telling another how much he wanted her. He finally won over the latter, named Libby, (while they were both intoxicated mind you) only to leave her alone and pregnant so he could chase his career as a professional baseball player. He then sleeps with half of the female population in Chicago until he decides to finally “settle down”…with an ignorant, superficial daddy’s girl who needed vaginal rejuvenation surgery while she’s only in her twenties! Wow! That is so much to take in! By the time Libby is introduced, I already feel sorry for her. I feel pain for what she’s gone through and I despise this man who abandoned her in her time of need. So, what’s a girl like Libby to do once she’s left alone and pregnant at such a young age? Plow her way through school to become one of the best (and well-paid) criminal defense attorneys in Chicago! You just gotta love a gal who knows how to "stick it" to an old flame.
Time to move on! What’s in the past shall remain in the past! Let sleeping dogs lie! All good mottos to live by, right? Well, that’s the plan until Libby actually needs to dig up the past and ask Aidan to help save their sick child. It is at this point that we start learning about Aiden and Libby’s past. Maybe Aidan isn’t too bad of a guy. Maybe it was all a case of “wrong time at the wrong place”. Maybe the both of them were just too young to make it work at the time. One thing is clear. Even if Libby won’t admit it to herself, they were in love and their connection was undeniable. They were both just too stubborn to admit their feelings to one another. As I took this all in, I began to think of the lyrics to I Never Told You by Colbie Caillat and how fitting it was to Aiden and Libby.
"…But I never told you
What I should have said
No I never told you
I just held it in
And now I miss everything
I can't believe I still want
After all the things we've
I miss everything about you
We are then introduced to a new Aidan. He realizes what he lost and what he wants. He’s determined to get to know and help the son he never knew and to win back the one woman he ever truly loved. His resolve and determination to prove he was wrong amazed me and I was constantly in awe of his grand gestures. I was also consistently grabbing for tissues as he put his heart on the line time and time again. As music is always in my head, I was yet again reminded of another fitting song. The song Drive By by Train could’ve been written by Aidan to Libby.
"…Oh but that one night
Was more than just right
I didn’t leave you cause I was all through
Oh I was overwhelmed and frankly scared as hell
Because I really fell for you
Oh I swear to you
I’ll be there for you
This is not a drive by…"
As soon as we meet Aidan and Libby’s son, Cass, we know right away that he is no ordinary 6-year-old. He’s profound beyond his years and he is significant to Aidan and Libby’s past, present, and future. So, let the story really begin and the emotions and quirky characters run wild! There are old wounds ripped open, secrets revealed, and tests of true love and unconditional love around every corner.
The author tells the story in a witty dual-narrative style. Each chapter switches between the perspectives of Aidan and Libby. This is only the second book I’ve ever read that uses this narrative style and I’ve quickly become a fan. I love to know what’s going on in the two main characters heads, but still from a first-person POV.
This book had me dealing with emotions from perspectives of a mother and a woman who has been in love. There were so many ups and downs (just as there are in real life). I was in constant awe of the tender moments and revelations about love and life. There were several points in the book where I was truly questioning if I would get that HEA that so many of us romance novel junkies crave. Would you like to know if there is one? Well, read the book my friend… read the book.
(reviewed 26 days after purchase)