My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Initial reactions: “Deeper” was the first full novel from Megan Hart I ever read and with the second read through, I enjoyed it just as much as the first time. I liked following Bess’s perspective and could sympathize with her, though I’ll admit there were elements of it that also frustrated me this time around that didn’t on my initial read. Hope to expand a little more in the full review.
I’ll wholeheartedly admit that over the past couple of months, I’ve read quite a fair share of books by Megan Hart than a little bit. I think that’s been a combination of my ability to access her works at my local library among other elements. Even if my enjoyment of each novel has varied, there’s no doubt that I respect her writing and the way she delves into some of her characters and their respective situations. “Deeper” was the first full erotic novel that I read from Hart, quite some time ago, but I never had the chance to review it until now. Reading it a second time, I definitely found quite a bit to like with it, though there were parts of it I was less fond of this time around than on my initial read of it.
One thing I’ll say off the bat is that if you have a hard time with past/present time switching in a novel, this might be a tough read. Another thing I will say, is that if you are expecting an HEA (happily ever after), you may also be sorely disappointed. This is very much a story of grief with a very flawed heroine who has to deal with quite a bit of pain. Personally, I had no trouble with either aspect and appreciated the way it was told, the flow was very smooth and easy for me to follow after a little bit, though there is an initial hump to get over. I actually liked the paranormal twist this novel has, among other elements that pepper Bess’s experience, dealing with her respective family unresolved issues of the past, as well as her way of navigating her present relationships and way of stepping into her own self. It’s a tough road, and not one without a degree of heartache, but certainly worth watching how it ultimately unfolds.
“Deeper” toggles its narrative between two time frames: between the college aged Bess dealing with a boyfriend (Andy) who – for lack of a better term – is a jerk and isn’t attentive to her needs, a friend who insists on lying to her about the odd bad boy (Nick) who people say is “no good” for her, and the distant friend who may or may not have have a crush on her (Eddie, whom I adored in this novel). Fast forward about 20 years and Bess has two teenage sons, is expecting to divorce from Andy, and is generally in a sore place until Nick suddenly makes an appearance back in her life in a way she never thought possible.
At that point, Bess has to confront some tough realities of her past as well as come to terms with where she must go in the future. I definitely liked the focus on Bess’s family life, her relationship with Eddie, even the sensual scenes with Nick and ultimately her coming to terms with what/who he is. It’s not an easy read, and ultimately the flawed characters come across with a great deal of frustrating dimensions. Yet, they all seem in context and palpable. I guess the one question I had in retrospect was why Bess chose the remain with the relationships she had that made her so unhappy, but ultimately, since this is a coming to terms story, I didn’t really judge her and just followed along to how she learned that she needed not to “doubt herself” anymore. Her relationship with Eddie provided the more full measure of a relationship for me in this novel, while I’ll admit the erotic scenes Bess had with Nick were steamy and well-written. I kind of wish her relationship with Eddie came to more fruition than it did.
Andy was a jerk and I never liked him, and I never saw what Bess saw in him, but I could understand how frustrated she was with him and ultimately her longing for a relationship to hold onto. I did also feel her hurt and betrayal in spurts, but I think towards the end of the novel, the measure of how rushed the narrative was became more apparent and in areas, it wasn’t properly fleshed out (even contradicted itself in a point when Bess showed absolutely no appropriate emotion to a certain turn in events). That frustrated me, and I think it could’ve been done better in retrospect, but overall, I did appreciate what the overarching story was going for, and I liked it. I do think that this novel is a little harder to get into than some of Hart’s other works, but I found it worth the price of admission.
Overall score: 3.5/5