Title: Blind Kiss
Author: Renee Carlino
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: 14 Aug 2018
Synopsis from Goodreads
“A powerful story of two people who spend years denying their scientifically-proven chemistry.
Penny spends her afternoons sitting outside a sandwich shop, surrounded by ghosts. Fourteen years ago, this shop was her childhood dance studio… Now she’s a suburban housewife, dreading the moment her son departs for MIT, leaving her with an impeccably decorated McMansion and a failing marriage. She had her chance at wild, stars-in-her-eyes happiness, but that was a lifetime ago. After The Kiss. Before The Decision.
The Kiss was soulful. Magical. Earth-shattering, And it was all for a free gift card. Asked to participate in a psych study that posed the question, “Can you have sexual chemistry without knowing what the other person looks like?” Penny agreed to be blindfolded, make polite conversation with a total stranger, and kiss him. She never expected The Kiss to change her life forever and introduce her to Gavin: tattooed, gorgeous, and spontaneous enough to ask her out seconds after the blindfolds came off.
For a year, they danced between friendship and romance—until Penny made The Decision that forced them to settle for friendship. Now, fourteen years later, both of their lives are about to radically change—and it’s his turn to decide what will become of their once-in-a-lifetime connection.
Every single time I read a Renee Carlino book I always ask myself why I put myself through the torture. The stories are like an arrow through the heart, tearing you apart before glueing the pieces back together in a different way. I feel as if the characters haunt me even after the last page, they are the type of narratives that stay with you – and as such gives the reason for the continued self-inflicted torture, lol.
Blind Kiss is a poignant look at finding your soul-mate at the wrong time in your life and how a single incident can alter the course of your future.
I adored Gavin from the beginning, although he was a little quick to react to situations which lead to further complications. Gavin also flounders quite a bit; while he is outwardly self-confident his inner vulnerability shines through especially in regards to his self-worth and chosen career path. He has a heart of gold and isn’t afraid to release his emotions; however, he can be self-absorbed which adds to the angst in the narrative.
I struggled with Penny at the start, finding her quite judgemental and closed-off. However, seeing her family relationships and how her world got turned inside out made me soften toward her and understand her choices a little better. I did feel as if the scenario was a little like ‘wanting your cake and eating it’ but did accept the way in which events played out.
The characters are flawed and the resulting emotional damage they inflict on each other throughout the years (unintentionally) makes your heart hurt for them both. Yet, Gavin and Penny have a special connection that is obvious to everyone around them; they are each one half of a whole 💔 unfortunately, they have to break before being put back together.
My heart hurts at all the lost time between them but a love like theirs endures 💞