Happy release day to Disarm by Karina Halle! This is the second book in the Dumont series (the first was Discretion, which I reviewed here back in August). Halle is one of my favourite authors as she writes such great romances that are real, raw, and pretty addicting to read. I enjoyed Discretion and the story she set up but something about this particular novel that just didn't thrill me. And I'm so upset about that.
Here's the synopsis:
Seraphine Dumont seems to have it all: she’s gorgeous, brilliant, and part of one of France’s most illustrious dynasties. But underneath the facade, Seraphine struggles to hold it all together. Besides grieving her adoptive father’s suspicious and sudden death, she also shares a tenuous role in the family business with Blaise, her in-name-only cousin. As tumultuous as their history is, he may be the only member of the deceptive Dumont family she can trust.I never like it when I don't like a book (does anyone?) and it's especially frustrating when I can't pinpoint why and it's by an author who I normally adore. This leads me to believe it's a weirdly personal reason that it didn't mesh with me which also makes it a really hard review to write. Most of the time I know why I don't like something or why a particular element throws me off and I've been at this long enough to not let it colour my review. This time? I don't want to keep you from reading the book but I also want to give my opinion. That's why I'm here in my little corner of the internet, after all.
Seraphine is a temptation Blaise can’t resist. The torch he’s carried for years still burns. It’s his secret—a quiet obsession just out of reach. Until his brother demands that he spy on the increasingly cagey Seraphine, whom their father considers a dispensable Dumont outlier. But the more Blaise watches her and the closer he gets, the more he sees Seraphine may have every right to be suspicious. And she could be the next one in danger—from his own family.
As blood runs hot and hearts give in, Seraphine and Blaise have only each other. But can their love survive the secrets they’re about to uncover?
I can say it wasn't the "forbidden" romance aspect of the novel that bothered me (as I anticipate it bothering other people but maybe I'm wrong). Seraphine and Blaise are cousins but not by blood and Seraphine didn't come into their family until she was nine or so (all the boys - Blaise, Olivier - who is featured in Discretion, and Pascal, Blaise's older brother and the focus of the third book - are all older than her). There was an attraction in Discretion that I picked up on and it continues into the second book. Some people might be put off by it but I rolled with it. So, no, that was not the issue.
It could have been the way it was written. The novel goes back and forth in time and also between points of view. We get Seraphine's and Blaise's perspectives in both past and present. It was a lot of back and forth and I found it a bit jarring. And while the jaunts into the past shed some light on a few things - like how Seraphine came to be adopted by the Dumonts' and one particular summer when they were in their late teens - I'm not sure they really added a whole lot.
Even though I wasn't totally head-over-heels in love with Disarm I still feel the need to finish the series because I
*A copy of this novel was provided by the Canadian distributors, Thomas Allen & Son, and an e-galley by Montlake Romance, in exchange for review consideration. All opinions are honest and my own.*