Tangled Web by Lizzie James does a good job of pulling the reader into the author’s debut novel from the start. Forbidden love stories never get old; feuding families are a universal obstacle people from any culture or class can relate to easily. The way the Johnsons and the Walkers loathe each other with no given reason beyond: ‘It’s the way things are for Johnsons and Walkers.” That comes across well throughout the whole work.
Chloe makes for a good protagonist in the sense she’s young enough to make the reader want to feel terrible for her circumstances as they spiral from bad to worse. There’s a kind of casual charm to her characterization which I think, for me, comes from the fact she has a lot of ‘young’ struggles. Chloe missed her college graduation due to a bad situation she’d landed herself in with a boyfriend. Most people in their last year of college make some mistakes while panicking about going out into the ‘real world’ to get a job. I empathized with her plight without thinking she ‘should have known better’ which is the attitude passed her way by her misogynistic father and brother.
“Come on, Chloe, live a little.”
That seems to be the theme for the whole work as Nathan Walker sweeps Chloe off her feet in a whirlwind romance. They start out as a rough-and-tumble affair only for both of them to find themselves surprised.
Nathan’s ‘Boss Voice’ was amazing. Most women enjoy the idea of a man who’ll take charge, never stop respecting them, and be willing to leap to their defense while making it obvious they don’t believe this guy thinks they’re too weak to take care of themselves. He’s the kind of guy I’d buy a drink in the bar for being too good to be true.
“I’m not asking you for anything. I just want to be clear. I want everything with you.”
Who doesn’t want to be wanted like that?
First person in Chloe’s POV throughout, Tangled Web by Lizzie James sets a fast pace which feels almost too fast at time, but life feels that way for people in Chloe’s age bracket. I think the author captured the feeling of turning 21, of graduating college, of going back home when one is on the cusp of being a ‘real adult.’ It’s a solid read which has some steamy scenes as well as some silly ones. Four stars on the whole for being an enjoyable debut novel which I would recommend to people looking for a light afternoon read who enjoy contemporary work and don’t mind an unresolved ending since this is distinctly the first of a series, not a standalone work.
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