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The Cruelest Stranger

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  1,636 ratings  ·  402 reviews
The first time I saw him was at a bar called Ophelia’s on a misty Thursday night. I was there to drown my sorrows after a trying day, he was there to escape the storm. After a brief yet incredibly cruel exchange, the handsome stranger bolted before I had a chance to tell him off. Incensed and two cocktails deep, I followed him out the door, determined to give the audacious ...more
300 pages
Published January 20th 2020
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  • The Cruelest Stranger by Winter  Renshaw
    The Cruelest Stranger
    Release date: Jan 20, 2020
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    Community Reviews

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    Average rating 4.19  · 
    Rating details
     ·  1,636 ratings  ·  402 reviews

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    Jennifer Kyle
    Jan 28, 2020 rated it liked it
    3 Stars ...more
    Dora Koutsoukou
    2 s

    Let me catch my breath since I have just finished this cruel stranger’s marathon story.
    The first couple of chapters had me hooked and I was very excited. Astaire and Bennett were totally opposite characters, yet very interesting. She was joyful and pleasant, he was an arrogant and cruel arsehole.

    Bennett was cold, indifferent and remote, I couldn’t believe he responded to Astaire’s emails and wrote so many words!!! It was so out if his character.
    Astaire, towards the ending mentioned she
    Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing

    After having read just the first few pages, I was completely hooked. I stayed up all night to finish this novel - because I just couldn't put it down. A heartwarming story wherein characters were believable and flawed and wonderful.

    Astaire a pre-school teacher who grew up in a not so ideal environment but it didn't make her hard or jaded. She has this positive attitude and chooses to see the good in people. So, meeting Bennett is really a challenge to her personality.

    Bennett the arrogant,
    Bookgasms Book Blog
    Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: ratula
    Anyone who knows me knows that fictional mean boys make the world go round. THE MEANER THE BETTER! There is something about the spirited banter and the back and forth that has made me an addict. For that reason I loved Bennett Schoenback from the get go. He was cruel and heartless (oh the irony!) with a huge dose of cynical charm that I could not get enough of. At first his connection with Astaire was tumultuous at best but after getting to know one another, a love story was born. I thought ...more
    Keri Loves Books
    Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    Rain Brings New Beginnings

    A heart-wrenching and heartwarming enemies-to-lovers romance that will make you believe in fated soul mates.

    One night in a random bar and both their lives change forever. He’s the biggest jerk she’s ever met. She’s sunshine and all the good things about life. He’s a pessimist but sees it as being a realist. She always gives everyone the benefit of the doubt and looks at the bright side of life. She’s the light to his dark.

    You never know the pain that someone else is
    Brown Li
    Jan 21, 2020 rated it it was ok

    I may be a cruel bastard, but I’m no monster. And there’s a difference.

    Bennett is a dickhead. And Astaire is a ray of sunshine who just can’t help herself and meddle into a complete strangers life by sending him an email consoling him for his loss. First I was annoyed with her being so nice to a dickhead like Bennett, it was completely unnecessary but then later I just got over it because that’s how her personality really is. You can’t really change a
    I’ve long been a fan of Winter Renshaw and consider her a hidden gem of an author and I would love to see other readers discover her.

    Astaire is a young woman grieving. Her fiancé died in a car crash way too soon. And what makes it sadder is she grew up in foster care and has no family. She does have a job she loves though, as a kindergarten teacher. But it’s time she starts to move on and she is waiting in a bar one wet and rainy night for a blind date. She approaches a guy who she thinks might
    Jan 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
    Well, HE was definitely just one fine SON OF a BITCH!!! Till 60-70% of this book.. His behavior was just... Cruel, Cruel, Cruel...
    She was a goodie-two-shoes, ... Too much gold heart here, but well, i liked her: she didnt have sex with him till 60-70%... She was kind and all that but yes, she had a backbone as well... Although she grew up in system, and only from 14 years old she got a stable home... She was through a lot in her life... And then she went and took a pity of this cruel man.
    Too much
    Anna Valsa
    Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was ok
    She was amazing, he was an asshole. That's it. ...more
    Ria Augustine
    Jan 22, 2020 rated it it was ok
    Had so much potential to be a 5 star read but it just missed the mark.
    Super disappointing.

    Bennett’s and Astaire’s story takes off on the wrong foot, then slips bewilderingly into instalove with a relationship built on a clash of personalities and a series of coincidences, each one more mind-boggling than the past. That, in short, is ‘The Cruelest Stranger’.

    It was the title that was eye-catching—and I’m always intrigued by grumpy (sometimes hurtful) characters, though Winter Renshaw gave some basis for understanding the kind of behaviour Bennett showed. Like several asshole ‘heroes’
    Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    All the angst I expect from a Winter book, some steam, some drama, and a HEA

    On a dark, rainy night, Astaire goes to meet a blind date. She was set up by a co-worker. After a stop to make herself presentable after the rain, she sits at the bar waiting for her date. All she knows is his name, he has dark hair, and is over 6 ft. Not altogether down with this after a long day, but she tries anyway. And a case of mistaken identity leads to Bennett and Astaire's first encounter.

    And it is far from
    Thuy Taylor
    Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    In my opinion, this is my favorite WR book. Bennett and Astaire had the worst accidental meet up. She thought there was a possibility that he was her blind date, but Bennett is angry, exasperating, infuriating, standoffish, a big ole meanie to her, just by her trying to ask a question. GAHHHHH, I felt my anger rise when that happened to her. This guy, really? But, when someone is that angry, there is a backstory there. Astaire is wanting to find out, she always looks on the bright side of ...more
    Jan 18, 2020 rated it really liked it

    Winter Renshaw is one of my favorite go-to authors. I devour all of her books that I pick up, and this is no different.

    I was captivated from the outset. I read it overnight! It's angsty and sad but also sweet and swoon-worthy... I think this book is definitely more emotional the other books that I had read of hers.

    Gosh, and that plot twist?! I was like, what are the odds? If it's meant to be, it's meant to be. There is no fighting fate.

    “The man remains a mystery … an infuriating, enigmatic mystery man with a story begging to be unraveled” …“Caring is a weakness, a gateway to destruction. And I’m as indestructible as they come”

    Hey, have you heard the one about the kind-hearted kindergarten teacher and the cruel-hearted rich guy who walk into a bar one rainy night? Well, you haven’t heard this one! As she does so mesmerizingly, Winter
    Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: finished
    Looking for something angsty to read that will keep you entranced the entire time? Then read The Cruelest Stranger by Winter Renshaw. I read over 200 books a year and have read almost everything published by this author and in my opinion her latest release, The Cruelest Stranger, is her best work yet. It’s a suspenseful enemies-to-lovers drama with many, many layers that were interwoven perfectly.

    I do believe people are a product of their upbringing and Bennett Schoenback is a prime example. As
    Valeen Robertson (Live Thru Books Blog)

    Astaire has suffered the kind of loss no one should ever suffer, but yet she's so kind and compassionate, she's like sunshine. When she meets Bennett Schoenbach, it's on the anniversary of that loss, and she's had a day. And he makes it worse, so much worse just by being his hostile, asshole self.

    So how on earth did she come to fall for such a dick? Well, the heart (and body) wants what the heart wants, and she's determined to figure him out, as determined as he is to keep her out, to keep his
    Jan 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    After being fortunate enough to receive an ARC of this book, I was so excited to delve in and see where this story would take me. Right from the get go, I wanted to dislike Bennett. No matter how bad your circumstances, there is no excuses for taking it out on a stranger. Astair has had a tough up bringing, but still sees that there is more to Bennett even after the way he treated her the first time they met.

    Bennett had built up a wall and was not really living, just more existing. He really
    Madeleine East
    Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    I have loved every book by Winter and this was another homerun. Enemies to lovers book. Bennett is a jerk but, I love him anyway. The characters were amazing and really made this book.
    ☆Tweety ~ purplebass ☆
    "The Cruelest Stranger" is the first book by Winter Renshaw that I read, although I've added some of her older books in my TBR list that I will read in the future because I really liked this one. It didn't just have a hot guy on the cover, it also had a nice story that was my cup of tea because it's an enemies to lovers romance.

    The book tells the story of Astaire and Bennett, two people who couldn't be more different if they tried. Astaire is in a bar waiting for her blind date. Thanks to the
    B. C. Booklover
    Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    On a stormy night, one year to the day after her worst heartbreak, Astaire Carraro, a kind, thoughtful and sweet kindergarten teacher, has a verbal run in with the absolute worst human on the planet in the neighborhood bar where she's late to meet her blind date. Yeah, he's beautiful on the outside but cold as ice, nasty and a condescending a-hole without an ounce of guilt about it on the inside. Clearly, he must be having a very bad day to hand her the most callous dressing down she's ever ...more
    Jan 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    When the heart knows it’s other half

    Winter Renshaw writes damaged heroes with a flavour all of her own. It doesn’t matter how many books she writes about deep and profound men who haven’t experienced the best things in life like love, and a loving family, I can never get enough of her books.

    Bennett Schoenbach is one such man. Born into Chicago Royalty, the family seems perfect, but, as we get to know him, we realise that all he knows is to expect the worst in human behaviour. And the stormy
    Jan 20, 2020 rated it liked it
    Received ARC from BookSprout for Honest Review.
    I Give this Book a 3.5/5 Star Rating, Listing as 3.

    HEA(?): Yes.
    Insta(?): I would classify this as such, yes.
    Romance: 3/5
    Heat: 3(?!!)/5, I’m Just Gonna List is as 2.5/5
    Drama: 3.5/5
    Suspense: 3/5
    Spoiler in Review(?): No? Honestly, I’m Forcing Myself To Avoid Adding Any.

    I Have to say this is a hard one to rate, cause when I finished book..I had to ask myself... Did I Actually Enjoy The Book?
    Well I Did and Didn’t.
    The whole reasoning for him being labeled
    Lauren - SERIESous Books
    **I received a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest voluntary review. All opinions are my own and not influenced by my source.**

    Winter Renshaw's novels always surprise me with their trajectory and this one was no exception!

    While I was able to put together the pieces fairly quickly, that didn't stop me from becoming engrossed in this couple's story. From their hostile first meeting to the crazy coincidences that happen afterwards, there was something captivating about these two.

    Beneath The Covers Blog
    Jan 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: 2020-reads, kelly, arcs
    I went into this book blindly, intrigued by the title alone–a title that gave me the impression it was to be an enemies-to-lovers story. And in its own compelling and ambiguous way, it is. But between the complex layers of story line is woven a perception of opposites attract – a story of two damaged and flawed characters, but where one is bitter and pessimistic, the other is compassionate and sincere.

    The Cruelest Stranger is an emotional love story of redemption and second chances, a romance
    Caroline F
    Jan 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
    4.5 do-life-with-me stars!

    "I want to know his story. I'm going to know his story. One way or another. I don't know how, but I will. And I'm sure it'll explain everything."

    When Astaire Carraro misakes Garrett Schoenbach for her blind date, she's completely blindsided by his rudeness and cruelty. Nonetheless, he ignites a curiosity in her that she just can't let go of - even though it invites more scathing, cruel words from him.

    "I can fight it all I want, but Astaire is a delicacy. If I let
    Comfy Couch Book Reviews
    Definitely one of the best books Winter has written, amazing! Bennett and Astair run into each other accidentally in a bar where she is waiting to meet her blind date. Thinking that Bennett might be her date she tries to attract his attention only to be shot down in flames in a nasty and cruel way.

    As Bennett leaves the bar his umbrella is left behind Astair runs after him to return it back to him, only to see him going into a funeral home. Being the good person that she is, once she finds out
    Jeeves Reads Romance
    Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    This book is.... pretty fantastic. I always enjoy Winter Renshaw’s writing but this is without a doubt the best I’ve read from her. The first half of the book is a tension-filled mix of contrasts, punctuated by the most effective use of dual perspective I can remember.

    Bennett is cold, cruel, pessimistic, engages in countless casual affairs, and has the kind of life many would envy. Astaire is warm, kind, optimistic, grieving the loss of her fiancé, and brought herself up from nothing. Together
    Jan 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    I was so fortunate to receive an ARC of this book. It was so good that I read it in one sitting. I've been looking forward to reading this since Winter announced it. The title alone is intriguing, and that made me anticipate the female lead meeting this stranger just to see what made him so cruel.

    The main lead, Astaire, is a character you can't help but love. She's a teacher, a natural nurturer, and she truly cares about everyone she comes into contact with. Of course, when she comes into
    Stacey Timmons
    Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    I was hooked from the first chapter. I loved getting to know Bennett and Astaire. What they've had to go through in life and how they've come out the other side, happier (Astaire) and more relaxed (Bennett). Astaire is forever the optimist and well what can I say about Bennett? He was just downright cynical.
    Until one Thursday night that was pouring with rain that changed the trajectory of his life for the better.
    As the saying goes "kill them with kindness" and I think it worked in this case
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