Review: “The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea” by Elizabeth O’Roark

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Steam: 🔥🔥🔥

Release Date: January 20th, 2022

Add to Goodreads | Amazon.in (Available in KU)

CW/TW: mentions of drug and alcohol abuse, cancer, terrorism and violence

When Drew Wilson’s ex-boyfriend Joel “Six” Bailey asks her to go on his family trip to Hawaii with him just as her life is falling apart, she decides it’s the perfect time to give him another chance.

The hitch? The Bailey family includes Six’s rude older brother, Joshua—a hot-nerd doctor who has hated Drew since the moment they met and once suggested she’d steal the family silver.

Drew is determined to win the Baileys over and give this thing with Six a fair shot…but Joshua is making that difficult. Not simply because he is in her way at every turn, but because—as one tropical adventure leads to the next—she’s beginning to wonder if obnoxious, odious Joshua might be the brother she actually belongs with.

 

I read and loved A Deal with the Devil last year and fell in love with Elizabeth O’Roark’s writing. I also fell in love with Drew Wilson through the bits we saw of her and Tali together. But when she announced this book, I didn’t know I would fall so deeply in love with Drew and Josh, that I would be thinking about them for days after finishing the book. I’m not joking when I say that I had already known this book was going to be rated five stars before I was even halfway through the story. The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea is a slow burn, ex’s brother, enemies to lovers, grump x sunshine romance that is angsty and beautiful and set against the backdrop of Hawaii. How can you go wrong with all of that?

Drew Wilson accepts an invite from her ex boyfriend to join him and his family on a Hawaiian holiday. Their relationship is messy and complicated and after being on and off for a while, Drew hopes that this is the final chance to really make things better. Plus, this is an escape for Drew, thanks to all the noise and scandal around her career, she needs an escape. Except, when she gets to Hawaii, she finds out that her rockstar ex has been detained in a Japanese prison and she has to spend the holiday with his family, which includes his brother Josh. Josh is a doctor, much like his father, and he’s clean cut and grumpy. He has no feelings for his brother and doesn’t really want to be on that holiday, but he’s doing this because it’s all his mother wants. He’s even sucking it up when his mother invites his ex to join them on the holiday in hopes of some rekindling. Josh is not interested and he’s definitely not hiding his disdain for Drew being there either. The last thing either of them wants is to like each other, but the more time they spend together, well…things start to change.

Unlike the first book, this one has dual POV, which I loved so much. Because I’m so glad we got to see things through Josh’s eyes. Drew and Josh don’t care much for each other and they’ve never hidden their dislike before. Their banter and constantly poking at each other is so entertaining. I loved that the more intense and rude Josh got, the more Drew fought back. She’s a tough woman and I loved that about her so much. But under all of this banter and frustration, you can sense the sexual tension and the chemistry that’s brewing, which only made their constant battling so much fun. Even though it’s a ‘family’ holiday, Drew and Josh spend most of the time together on morning runs and hikes, going on walks and just constantly bumping into each other everywhere they go. Their scenes together are so great, because you can see the two of them slowly warming up to each other, while trying not to cross any lines at the same time.

“I smile at him and my heart gives a weird little kick when he smiles back. Josh sometimes makes me feel like I still have the ability to change everything.”

There are secondary storylines that are so important to the big story, and I’m not going to give too much away because it’s crucial to enjoy it at your own pace. Drew is a musician who sold her soul to her a**hole manager and has no way to get out of her contracts. She’s been through so much and she’s struggling on most days, but when she’s with Josh, everything seems to fade away. Their relationship is the most delicious slow burn, because they don’t even realise just how much they feel for each other till everything comes to head. I enjoyed watching their walls come down, the truths and secrets spill out of each other, the ease with which they fell in love and held on so tight. I loved how deeply and passionate Josh gave in to Drew, while she held onto him like her life depended on it.

Every time I thought I knew what was coming, I was surprised with something else. The angst in this book is so beautifully written and the relationship, the build up and the setting so wonderfully crafted that once you start reading, you won’t be able to put the book down. I’m still thinking about Drew and Josh, their Hawaiian romance and just…everything about this book, because it left me feeling so content, but at the same time, I wanted more!

Thanks to Elizabeth O’Roark and Valentine PR for generously providing me with an advance copy. I am voluntarily leaving an honest review.

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