Book Title: Defend Me
Author: Grahame Claire
Series: Free, Book 3
Release Date: October 20th, 2020
Synopsis: Marlow Linley is going through a rough few years as a widowed single mother and with her family not speaking to her, it’s hard for Marlow to survive on her own, but she’s doing what she can. Even when Patrick Wheatly steps in to help her communicate better with them and the world in general. But sometimes the person you lean on for a moment can become so much more.
Review: First things first, I would recommend everybody read the first two books in this series. Because there’s a lot of family drama that will make sense if you do that. I did not read the first two books, so there was a lot of scrambling to make sense of several references and understand the family dynamics. Because without knowing all the details, you’re not going to be big fans of the Dixon kids. They’ve all got their own chips on their shoulders and I feel like seeing the world through Marlow’s eyes didn’t help.
Marlow is a tough character to like, but you know what? I liked that about her. She’s suffered a crippling loss when her husband doesn’t come home from the war and Marlow has been carrying that pain and weight for the last two years. It hardens her and she’s rough around the edges and she has no filter, which can bother some. But Marlow isn’t going to become someone she’s not just for the sake of her family. Even if she wants them to accept her for who she is, she’s not going to change too much. And Grahame Claire really do make her a little tough to love, but somehow that works well with the story.
“I know I can’t bring him back and change the way things are. But, if there was one thing I could fix, it would be your broken heart.”
Patrick is the perfect balance to Marlow’s hard shell. He’s a great character, but he’s got skeletons and drama of his own. It’s quite a lot for one person to carry, I’m not gonna lie. And I kept hoping that things would slow down for him, because come on, cut the guy some slack. As a defense attorney, Patrick has taken on some of the ugliest and worst cases on the planet and it’s definitely weighing him down. But seeing him with the Dixon family, with Marlow and her kid is a whole other experience. He’s just so brilliant. And you can feel Patrick’s guilt for feeling the way he does about Marlow, but at the same time, he’s not going to change the way he feels because for once in his life, he’s certain about something.
“There’s something about you, Wicked. As much as you piss me off, you make me a thousand times happier. When you and Blake aren’t here, it’s empty. I’m empty.”
This is actually my first ever Grahame Claire book (outside of novellas in anthologies) and it took me a little time to really wrap my head around the writing style. But oh my god, the banter in this book is brilliant. Patrick is probably the only person who can handle Marlow and put up with her attitude, so their scenes together are always so entertaining. It can also give you a headache. There’s an entire conversation they have in just questions and Patrick has a headache at the end and you’re going to end up gigglesnorting because it is really just that good and witty. But that’s what happens when you put a grump and less grump together and hope for the best. Patrick isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, but compared to Marlow he probably is, if I’m being honest.
Grahame Claire packed a lot into this book; with Marlow’s drama coming to a head with her family, Patrick’s work life and the cases he keeps wanting to get rid of and his past coming to haunt him. But at the same time, it doesn’t overwhelm you to the point of ending the book and feeling a little lost. If anything, Defend Me keeps you on your toes. I still don’t know how I feel about Andrew and Holt, or their better halves, but what I do know is that I must read the first two books to fully wrap my head around this family.
“I’m in so much trouble.”
“Which is exactly where you want to be.”
Defend Me is a brother’s best friend romance, with lots of family drama, a grump and a sunshine, and the most adorable toddler in the world. If that’s your cup of tea (it is for me), then Grahame Claire has what you’re looking for!
Thanks to Grahame Claire and Social Butterfly PR for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.