REVIEW: Toe the Line by Penelope Ward


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From New York Times bestselling author Penelope Ward comes a friends-to-lovers story spanning more than a decade…

At first, I thought I’d hate spending the summer with Archie Remington—the conceited son of my parents’ friends.

What I knew about Archie: he was gorgeous, pre-law, and had always treated me like I didn’t exist when we were younger.

When our families bought a house together on an island in Maine, he and I were forced to share a bathroom.

The boy I remembered was now a full-grown man—but with the same attitude.

After a rough start, Archie and I unexpectedly started getting along one day and eventually became friends. We shared secrets and bonded during our morning jogs. I discovered that Archie had a wild spirit and that he struggled to conform to his father’s expectations.

Things were cool until I had to go and ruin it, getting drunk one night, and blurting out my fantasy—involving him.

I took it back, but it was too late. Archie had heard me loud and clear.

After that, we never quite knew how to toe the line.

When that summer came to an abrupt and shocking end, I headed back to college, unsure if anything would ever be the same again.

Across the miles over the years, he and I stayed in touch as friends, but fate and timing always kept us from becoming more.

You know the saying: If two people are meant to be, they’ll find their way back to each other?

Let’s just say Archie came back into my life in a way I would’ve never expected.

And this time, my heart would really be put to the test.

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I love second chance romances especially within the friends-to-lovers trope, and Penelope Ward delivered one that was as heart-wrenching as it was heart-racing in Toe the Line. Archie and Noelle, the only children of long-time family friends, share a memorable summer of youthful exploration and wonder at the Maine vacation home their families share before their time together comes to a devastating and sudden end.

Toe the Line was a slow-burn romance full of heady sexual tension, angsty yearning and aching with emotion. Muddled with missed opportunities, miscommunications and misunderstandings, Noelle and Archie’s story was a rollercoaster ride of feels. There was a wistful tone to Ward’s writing here thanks to the constant pull this couple felt and all of those will-they-or-won’t-they moments, and it truly made this a completely addictive story. Sizzling chemistry and gut-wrenching emotion, Toe the Line was a beautifully told story about friends and family and second-chances at love. I was hooked from the start and devoured it in a day! Five smooches from me for Toe the Line by Penelope Ward.

~Danielle Palumbo



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