GENRE: erotic novel
WHY THIS NOVEL: Love Megan Hart’s stories and the way she tells them.
Twenty years ago she had her whole life spread out before her. She was Bess Walsh, a fresh-scrubbed, middle-class student ready to conquer the design world. And she was taken. Absolutely and completely.
But not by Andy, her well-groomed, intellectual boyfriend who had hinted more than once about a ring. No. During that hot summer as a waitress and living on the beach, she met Nick, the moody, dark-haired, local bad boy. He was, to put it mildly, not someone she could take home to Daddy.
Instead, Nick became her dirty little secret– a fervent sexual accomplice who knew how to ignite an all-consuming obsession she had no idea she carried deep within her.
Bess had always wondered what happened to Nick after that summer, after their promise to meet again. And now, back at the beach house and taking a break from responsibility, from marriage, from life, she discovers his heartbreaking fate–and why he never came back for her. Suddenly Nick’s name is on her lips…his hands on her thighs…dark hair and eyes called back from the swirling gray of purgatory’s depths.
Dead, alive, or something in between, they can’t stop their hunger.
She wouldn’t dare.
After twenty years, Bess returns to the beach house of her grandparents, the beach house that she now owns. It’s the place she fell in love with Nick, the bad boy of the town, twenty years ago and the place she spent a hot and glorious summer at his side. Back then, she had her life ahead of her and she was looking forward to it. True, she suspected her boyfriend, Andy, cheated on her but there was Nick, and Nick made her look at her idea of love anew. Now she feels like she isn’t ready for what lies ahead. She’s recently separated from Andy, her husband of nearly twenty years (who again cheated on her), and after coming back to the beach house she just discovered that Nick is dead.
Based on the summary quoted above, I had no clear idea of what to expect from this story. Would Deeper be a ghost story? Would it be a story about a woman who imagines things to better deal with her grief? I had no preference either way but after reading the first few chapters I was fairly sure what kind of story it was (a ghost story). So I also had a rather clear idea what to expect of the romance and the ending.
Deeper is about a love lost and getting over it and about a woman who goes from saying “…she wasn’t sure she was ready for what lay ahead” (7) to a woman saying “…though [she] wasn’t sure she was ready for that, she was no longer fighting to make sure she’d never be” (376). To better understand how Bess gets from feeling not ready for what comes to being more open (and leaving the past), Deeper is divided into two parts: the summer twenty years ago, titled “Then,” and the summer present time, titled “Now.”
The summer twenty years ago Bess was twenty and working as a waitress during summer. She suspected her boyfriend Andy of cheating on her and was attracted to the bad boy of the town, Nick. This attraction got stronger and stronger and became something more, especially after she more or less had proof of Andy’s cheating. At first, Bess and Nick tried to be friends because of Andy but it was clear that there was more between them. They got together and as great as being together was, they also realized that they had to face a few problems (and reality) if they wanted their relationship to last longer than the summer. The summer twenty years ago tells how they tried to accomplish that.
The summer present time Bess is just divorced from her husband Andy. She comes back to the beach house where she’d met Nick and fell in love with him. Now, twenty years later, she still thinks of Nick and suddenly, he’s there. Only problem: while she’s twenty years older, he still looks the same (sort of “older-woman-younger-man pairing). At first, they don’t question, they are just happy to be together again. But slowly problems emerge and they steadily lead to a confrontation with the fact that Nick’s a ghost and what that means for them as a couple and individual. The summer present time tells how they try to make it work as a couple this time.
I really enjoyed reading Deeper although that’s not much of a surprise because I really like Hart’s voice and the way she tells her stories. There are two reasons that kept Deeper from being a “perfect” read. First was my impression that the “explanation” of how Nick could come back wasn’t really part of the story. There were some allusions to ghosts and there was a Ouija board but that’s about it. So rather than make me believe in the possibility of Nick coming back it pointed me towards how huh? that is. I would have preferred either a thought-out explanation of how Nick could come back or nothing at all.
The second reason was that I couldn’t shake the feeling that Bess was responsible for her heart ache twenty years ago. Really, there was a time or two I thought “poor Nick!” In addition, her realization that she was rather weak then and for the following twenty years (= more or less let things just happen) isn’t a main focus of the story though at least at the end there are hints that she takes more responsibility. I understood why she acted the way she did but still…a bit more realization on her part now (or a bit more backbone then) and all would have been better IMO.
But overall, these things bothered me only a little. Bess and Nick had good chemistry and I enjoyed their romance(s) a lot, the romance twenty years ago being my favorite (“good girl-bad boy” couple). I especially liked how the two summers and their stories paralleled each other and so enhanced the understanding. I found Deeper an interesting read because of its structure and an enjoyable read because of the romance(s). Like with the other novels I’ve read by her, I wasn’t disappointed by picking up a novel by Megan Hart.