Haters will hate The Boy on the Bridge hard, but too bad because it’s Sam Mariano at her finest.
Not for the weak, Sam Mariano’s newest book has a hero that is broken and twisted. Hunter Maxwell’s character has an ambiguous moral compass but maintains the ability to be remorseful of his most heinous and tragic actions. It doesn’t necessarily stop him from doing heinous or tragic things.
Riley Bishop is a glutton for punishment. She knows that she did something that Hunter can’t forgive, but she still tries to make him forget it until she has something she can’t forgive. Her greatest sin was to fall in love with him and try to protect him. His is his inability to stop manipulating her and the people around him—a far larger problem.
There are some parallel’s in The Boy on the Bridge and Untouchable in that, like Carter Mahoney, Hunter, once fixated on his girl, will move heaven and earth to make things right and have her. There are also two scenes in this book that will thoroughly ruffle some feathers, not unlike the Untouchable opening scene. Some people who had issues with that book found that situation to be utterly unforgivable.
Trigger Warning. Trigger Warning!
If these things bother you, maybe you should stay away from Sam Mariano’s books.
Hunter and Riley have a dynamic that I genuinely loved. Writing monstrously wounded characters is something good writers often fail to nail; Sam Mariano is at goddess level with it. Riley’s mental state is something that drove me mad while simultaneously made me adore her. She is a tough and complicated female who understands herself and her love. She knows what her limits are and what she can and won’t forgive. It’s impossible to remove the psychology from the story in that it demands the reader to face their own expectations of those characters around Riley. I was not too fond of Michelle, but I could understand her motivations and relate to them–I didn’t like her anyway.
Also, many times, Hunter shocked the ever-loving hell out of me, and I was unsure if I could/would be as understanding as Riley. But that is okay because he’s her perfect match and not mine. Although Carter Mahoney is one of my favorite book boyfriends and he was far less palatable. So maybe I just like my black souls darker.
All in all, The Boy on the Bridge is one of Sam’s gems. I highly recommend it for those with really stout hearts and the ability to stomach some rough happenings.
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary advance copy of this book.
About Sam Mariano:
Sam Mariano writes the books she wants to read. She loves edgy, twisty romantic reads with complicated characters you’re left thinking about long after you turn the last page. Her favorite thing about indie publishing is the ability to play by your own rules! If she isn’t reading one of the thousands of books on her to-read list, writing her next book, or playing with her adorable daughter… actually, that’s about all she has time for these days. Feel free to find her on Facebook or Instagram—she loves hearing from her readers!
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