Title: Thirty Nights
Author: Ani Keating
Series: American Beauty #1
Genre: New Adult romance
Thirty nights. Two hearts. One fate.
American Beauty, Book 1
After her parents’ tragic deaths, Elisa Snow wanted nothing more than to escape her past. Eighteen and alone, she fled her quaint English village and moved to the United States. A starving science student by day and an artist’s muse by night, Elisa has slowly built a new life. She never dreamed she would lose everything again.
She’s one week from graduation when her visa is unexpectedly denied. Given thirty days to leave the country, she must face the one thing she cannot survive again—saying goodbye and leaving her home. Yet within minutes of her world shattering, she meets a man with the power to piece it back together.
After finishing his tour of duty in Iraq, Aiden Hale traded battlefields for boardrooms, becoming one of the most successful venture capitalists in the nation. But all his wealth can’t buy him reprieve from the horrific memories of war. The only thing that gives him peace is a painting of Elisa.
Drawn together by their invisible wounds, they begin a passionate affair as they race against the clock to defy their pasts—and fight for their future.
Earlier versions of this book were posted on the author’s blog under the titles of The Master’s Muse and 30 Nights of Snow, using the pen name Ani Surnois, and has since been extensively edited.
Warning: Contains a blistering exploration of desire, sacrifice and redemption…and love’s power to equalize us in ways laws cannot.
Source: ARC from Samhain Publishing via NetGalley
If you like an angsty all-or-nothing romantic read that drags you in and wrestles with your emotions, then this book may well be for you – especially if that blurb intrigues you. Speaking of the blurb, there were times when I was a bit annoyed about it revealing Aidan’s history, because it takes a long time for Elisa to learn about his military background, and it might have been nice to have pieced together the clues along with her.
Having said that, knowing that he had PTSD also meant I forgave Aidan some of his behavioural… quirks. At first I was a bit worried about where his personality was going, actually. He seems a tad stalkerish and very controlling, especially regarding Elisa’s male best friend. If things had continued in this vein I wouldn’t have bothered with the rest of the book. However, Aidan does have reasons for the things he does (some better than others, admittedly) and he’s not a completely controlling douche, so I let the romance sweep me along rather than make a checklist of red flags.
Some of the things I liked about this book: Elisa’s intelligence at the beginning and Aidan’s recognition and appreciation of her brain was really nice. I always enjoy a bit of Byron, so the label quotes were lovely. The book shop experience and signing habit afterwards was very sweet. There’s a nicely bubbling sensuality below many of the scenes. I also really liked Elisa’s relationship with Javier and his family, and the whole immigration issues surrounding both of them. And I really liked that Aidan’s problems are real, there are no magic fixes or half measures there. He’s dark and brooding and reclusive for a very good reason – aided and abetted by his own guilt, of course.
What I didn’t like so much was the way Elisa’s science stuff falls by the wayside as the book progresses. I know this takes place over a very short space of time, but still, she’s a smart woman – let her be brainy. It might also have been nice for Elisa to have explored her own emotions and feelings a bit more. For someone who has been emotionally frozen for years, I would have expected her to have been both more curious and more frightened by what Aidan makes her feel. And the age gap, no one ever mentions the age gap. Not her friends, not Aidan, Elisa doesn’t even think about it. True, Elisa’s levels of maturity vary throughout and she often seems older, but of all the roadblocks Aidan tries to throw between them, that is never one of them.
As this is told entirely from Elisa’s pov, do expect some over-wrought, high-drama expressions of love and lust for Aidan. There’s also a lot of emotional demons and trying to save each other, with plenty of pushing away and surrendering to emotions. I was a little surprised to find that the story doesn’t end here, and is only the first part of this couple’s story. In fact the ending snuck up on me rather abruptly, and although I’m glad there wasn’t any rushed-up magical ending, a bit of warning might have been nice. So if you’re looking for a complete romance in one read, you won’t find it here.
Overall I enjoyed this, especially Elisa’s immigration issues which really did tug on my emotions. The romance is as full-on and dramatic as you’d expect from this sort of read, and there’s plenty of heat and sensuality involved. The heroine is likeable and lonely, the hero is dark and brooding, there are some good friends involved and loads of money being thrown around. Basically it’s everything you’d expect from this type of novel, but with some nice sciencey stuff and real legal issues. I got swept up by the whole thing and I’ll definitely be keeping my eyes open for more.
Thirty Night is Out Now!
Visit Ani Keating for more details.