Mar 17

All I Ask by Corinne Michaels Review


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From the New York Times bestselling author of One Last Time comes a breathtaking story about first love, second chances, and starting over.

Teagan Berkley is trying her best. A single mom raising a precocious teen, she may have given up on her dreams, but she’s accepted her life in her small beachside hometown. Now the one person who abandoned her when she needed him the most has returned, bringing back memories of what might have been.

Derek Hartz arrives in town with a teenage daughter–and he’s full of guilt over his failed marriage and the way he ended his friendship with Teagan. He’s determined to set things right with her, but first he needs to gain her trust. Something he’s not convinced he deserves.

As Teagan and Derek open up to each other—and confess their deepest secrets—it’s impossible for them to deny what’s always been between them. But just when their happily ever after is within reach, their complicated history surfaces again and threatens to keep them apart. Forever.

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I’ve been looking forward to reading All I Ask since Corinne Michaels announced it, and hands down, this was one of my most anticipated books heading into this year. Everything about it spoke to me from the gorgeous cover to the blurb to the triple threat of a story rooted in three of my favorite tropes: friends-to-lovers, single parents and a second-chance romance. All I Ask gave every indication to me early on that it would be right up my alley and totally my jam—and it was. In every possible way, this memorable, poignant and deeply moving love story lived up to my hopes, exceeded my expectations and left me a fulfilled and sated romance reader.

Told in dual points of view, Michaels paints a vibrant picture of this couple’s bittersweet history by setting the story in Teagan and Derek’s present with flashbacks of their past. Corinne is not an author who shies away from angst in her stories, and she certainly didn’t here. Second-chance romances are naturally angsty, and All I Ask was certainly that. Teagan and Derek’s relationship began as a teenage friendship, and it quickly morphed into unrequited feelings of love.

Thirteen years after the abrupt ending of their friendship, they’re reunited in their hometown, and all of those feelings, along with all the hurt, pain and longing caused by the way their friendship ended, come rushing to the surface. Contradicting feelings war, and while the trust between them has been shattered, the foundation of love and friendship is still there beneath the rubble of their crumbled relationship. Derek was determined to earn Teagan’s trust back, but he also finally sees a real opportunity to have the relationship that he’s always wanted with her, and he’s not about to give up that chance. Teagan has been burned by life so many times, she’s afraid to reach out and take this chance, but Derek’s loving patience and steadfast resolve eventually win her over. A huge hurdle still remains, however, in their daughters and their acceptance of their rekindled relationship.

All I Ask was a beautifully written, touching and tender love story full of all the emotion and angst I’ve come to love in Michaels’ writing. Corinne’s keenly thoughtful storytelling offers a vivid portrayal of every facet of this relationship, and just as I’m sure she intended for me to do, I felt all of the feels and cried all the tears. While there was a lot of pain to sift through in this story, ultimately it was the underlying hope and the all-consuming love in it that captured my heart, and Derek and Teagan’s story will be one that I’ll not soon forget. A top favorite for 2020, All I Ask by Corinne Michaels gets five smooches from me.

~Danielle Palumbo




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