Disarm is about love, friendship, loss, change, and heartbreak. I honestly could not put this book down. With every flip of a page, I got pulled more and more into Elsie and Henry's story. When it ended, I wanted to continue reading about them.
Henry and Elsie have known each other for about thirteen years. Henry was Jason's best friend since they were teenagers. Elsie has had a crush on Henry since the moment she saw him. Neither one knew that the other had feelings for them. After Jason's death, Elsie ended up rooming with Henry at his and Jason's apartment. For the past two years, nothing has changed. Henry treats Elsie as if she were his little sister even though deep inside he's feelings for her are not those of a big brother. But he hasn't acted on those feelings because the timing never felt right. And most of the problem between Elsie and Henry are about the timing in which some events occur which tear them apart as well as push them back together.
I love Elsie and Henry together. Their relationship and their feelings toward each other felt very real. Their banter cracked me up and the angst made me shed a tear or two. I loved their sexually charged scenes but I also loved the tender moments that occurred between the two.
Throughout the story, I had no idea if Henry and Elsie will ever get their Happily Every After, but I hoped that they did. They went through a lot together as well as separately. The characters did infuriate me once or twice, but by the time I finished the book, I loved them. I also loved seeing their interactions through the years from both of their perspectives, from their teens until the present.
Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book and will definitely read more by June Gray. And if I am correct, there is a book two coming out this Spring which is the continuation of Henry and Elsie's story, but this book can be read as a standalone. Enjoy!
"He was my beginning , my middle, and my inevitable end."
*I received an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*
I've come to love best friend-turned-lovers romances, I didn't at first but I think there is something about the closeness, familiarity and strong bond between the two characters that I'm starting to fall for. So when I began reading Disarm, I got that warm fuzzy feeling upon discovering Elsie and Henry had been friends for years but harbouring their secret love for each other. One week before Henry is due to go to Afghanistan that all changes and their lives and relationship is altered forever.
Elsie was a resilient girl, she had to be after everything life threw at her. She lost her brother and then when she finally confessed her feelings to his best friend, she soon discovered he too was going to war, to the exact same place her brother never returned from. I felt poor Elsie got the short end of the stick, she was the one always waiting on Henry, left on the sidelines and pining away whilst he had to sort through his demons. But through it all her love for him never faltered and her commitment and faith were two great qualities I loved about her even though I wished she gave Henry a harder time at some points to make him suffer like she did. ;-)
I wasn't immediately drawn to either character, I think I liked the set up more than Elsie or Henry individually, I felt we were told more about their characters rather than discovering them for ourselves. I must admit I'm not a fan of several time jumps in a book and paired with lots of time apart, the romance element fizzled out quite quickly for me. I understood where Henry was coming from, war had made him question his life and the loss of his best friend still plagued them both but as time went on I found myself losing interest in Henry and wanting him 'find himself' a little bit faster.
This was my first time reading a book by June Gray. I didn't mind the story or her writing, I just wasn't in love with it. As I was reading, I felt like I was on the outside looking in, I wasn't totally submerged in the story, I couldn't get right into the character's heads and live and breathe their torment thus preventing me falling in love with both them and their journey. The ending is sweet with no cliffhanger but their story is not over, I do worry that a second book may be about unnecessary angst. I don't think poor Elsie can take much more!
Overall, Disarm was a sweet romance about hope and second chances (although in Henry's case more like third and fourth chances). There were some tear jerking moments that made me feel Elsie and Henry's loss of their brother and best friend. If you love army guys then this one is for you.
June Gray is a daydreamer who was born in the Philippines, raised in Australia, and now calls the United States home. At the age of ten she penned a short story inspired by a Judy Blume novel and has been unable to stop writing since. She resides in California with her family. She loves to titillate and enrage, to break the reader's heart and put it back together again.
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