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In the Unlikely Event by L.J. Shen
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I feel like L.J. Shen just Pen-Warded me.

I recently said that Penelope Ward puts me through the wringer, and my Ativan prescription gets a work out reading her books. I am highly dread-filled, a true worrywart, I don’t trust authors to give me HEA even when they promise it.
L.J. Shen nearly crippled me for a good portion of In the Unlikely Event.

Young love is a mixture of hormones and inexperience. I’m old; you will have to take my word for it. Rory Jenkins is full of the dewy awakenings of adulthood, not ready to reconcile the death of the dad she never got to meet or know beyond letters. Fresh from high school graduation, she goes AWOL to Dublin to at least see where her kin live. What she finds is a warning about homicidal gray squirrels, a sexy Boheme poet, and a cold welcome that lets her know that Tolka, Ireland is not for her.

Although she stays in Dublin and Tolka only one day and night, it’s long enough for her to realize that the poet who best knew her father is quickly and infinitely dear to her heart, but doomed to break it. Fate has given her a brief few stolen hours with Malachy Doherty. Upon their farewell, the troubadour, and drinky romantic, pens out a vow that in the unlikely event the two lovers should meet again, they will forego all else and claim one another for a lifetime of sublime moments like those that they discovered in Tolka.

It’s the Rory and Mal pre-marriage-proposal proposal written upon a napkin and signed next to a ketchup stain.

An admission that their youthful love will remain pure and will never dim nor die regardless of distance and time

It’s the promise that L.J. Shen was giving me that everything would be alright if I just hung in there.

But humans, both fictional and in reality, exhaust me, and these two lovers in cahoots with their creator were only issuing me a threat that my soul, heart, and nerves would not survive the wreckage that the plot and narrative would surely serve.

And L.J. Shen wrecked me.

She plays the devil with Rory and Mal’s hearts and lives. It’s Shakespearean in its level of tragedy. The wind up is intense, the transition felt rushed, but the reveals along the way were K.O.s that effed me up once and again.

The POV swaps throughout the book from Mal and Rory so you can see the emotional state of both. The story has cute little vignettes between chapters that are ‘notes’ from other characters to readers, giving us peeks into all the shadows and actors that impact the narrative. Although this unique exposition-packed vehicle of confessions has the potential to blowout the story, it doesn’t — the push and pull between all the characters works. The slow-rolling rediscovery of their metaphysical love opens up the world L.J. Shen builds in In The Unlikely Event.

Bravo! You figuratively kicked my dog into the street and made sure it was only struck by lightning rather than traffic.
Now that is ironic.

I loved this book.
I recommend it.

—and It is an excellent read for anyone who enjoys Penelope Ward too.

I voluntarily reviewed an advance complimentary copy of this book.
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Reading Progress

November 17, 2019 – Started Reading
November 18, 2019 – Finished Reading
November 20, 2019 – Shelved

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