Review: “Thorns & Forgiveness” by CoraLee June

Series: Twisted Legacy Duet, #2

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Steam: 🔥🔥🔥🔥

Trigger/Content Warnings: Mentions of domestic abuse, murder, sexual abuse, coarse language, drug and alcohol abuse, parental neglect

Release Date: January 30th, 2021

Add to Goodreads | (Available on KU)

Determined to save my mother from her disastrous marriage, I sold my pride for a second chance with Hamilton Beauregard. Jack was convinced I could mend his family, but my heart refused to forgive.

Hamilton broke me. He betrayed me.
He made me fall in love with a lie.

While trying to figure out my feelings, we all had to navigate my mother’s toxic sham of a marriage and Joseph’s deteriorating façade. My stepfather was dangerous. Deadly. During a tragic moment of weakness, his evil bloomed to life, and someone died.

Hamilton is the only way I’ll survive.

“Love was like a pendulum, and I kept going back and forth, always stuck, never actually going anywhere.”

My god, this book. This duet. This everything. I don’t know if my review will do this book justice, though. And before I get started, please note that you have to read the first part of this duet, because the second book picks up where that one leaves off and there’s a lot of information that you’re going to need going into this gritty romance.

Much like Bastards & Scapegoats, this book is gritty, dark and a little intense. The trigger warnings are there for a reason. The first book was told exclusively through Vera’s eyes, but this time we get to see Hamilton’s side of things also. And be prepared, it’s not going to be a comfortable ride. It’s sexy and angsty, sure, but the dark parts are really what will stick with you.

These two main characters are put through so much more turmoil in this book and my god, I didn’t think there was anything in the world they could go through further. Their personal relationship aside, there’s just so much pushing and pulling from outside sources. Joseph, Lilah and Jack are still the monsters in this story, finding all kinds of ways to make Vera and Hamilton suffer however possible. The Beauregard family is damaged beyond saving and they keep spreading their dirty lies and filthy disease to everyone who gets too close.

“My possessiveness needed to take the back seat, but I refused to let this family ruin her like it did me.”

Hamilton and Vera’s relationship is complicated enough without all of this and while they’ve always been the kind of couple to just push, pull and fight each other, I was definitely getting frustrated with their constant games. Since you can see both sides of the story now, you know they’re just messing with each other, but it was still so infuriating to watch. When two damaged souls come together, you’re bound to get a whole lot of chaos.

Vera’s relationship with her mother goes from bad to worse and it kept angering me how ridiculous and selfish she was being. Vera’s story arc was just so beautiful to watch. Sure, her relationship with Hamilton is always going to be her downfall, but watching her grow up and take her life back and fight against everything else that is stopping her from having what she wants was amazing. For once, she was finally doing what she wanted and she was protecting those that meant the most to her, no matter who she trampled in her path. And to finally see that from a girl who let everyone else control her life for so long was fantastic!

Man, Hamilton is a trip. He’s so damaged and he’s carrying all of this weight on his shoulders and struggling with it. But his family is just as screwed up and he’s trying to make it right. Hamilton has never had anyone on his side and just when he thinks he’s got the support of his father, things go awry. He’s an alpha male, no doubt about it, but he’s willing to let his weaknesses show because he knows that it’s the only way he can crawl out from the mess that’s in. He goes through so much in this book, I wanted to pull him into my arms and protect him. Vera grows in strength and power while Hamilton is tested every step of the way. Yes, he comes out stronger, but it’s because he has Vera by his side. Without her, I think Hamilton would not be half as powerful as he becomes in the end.

“Family was the motherfuckers you chose, after all.”

Coralee June spins such a fantastic tale, with lots of twists and turns. The book will leave you breathless and a little shocked. To be honest every chapter throws a curveball and it’s a lot to process. While the first book had a good amount of tragedy, pain and struggles, there was a lot packed into this book and I think that’s what wore me out towards the end. But a crazy heavy book hangover aside, this duet was incredible.

Thanks to Coralee June and Social Butterfly PR for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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