A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for an honest review at The Romance Evangelist.
AVENGE ME is the first full-length novel in the Fifth Avenue series, where each story revolves around the suicide of Sarah Michaels, and the long-term effects of her tragic death on those who were closest to her. In this book, it’s been ten years since Sarah killed herself, and although her three best friends from college meet every year to commemorate the sad anniversary, it’s only now that justice might finally be close at hand. Austin Treffen, the last one to hear from Sarah and the son of the man they believe responsible for her suicide, has received an anonymous note claiming to have proof of his father’s guilt. So when he pretends to reconcile with his family at the company holiday party in an attempt to get more information, the last thing Austin expects is to be swept off his feet by a beautiful woman. But when that woman turns out to be Sarah’s younger sister, the two of them may have to choose between their desire for each other and their need to avenge the dead woman who still haunts them both.
I’ve always been a fan of Maisey Yates’s category-length romances, but AVENGE ME was a revelation in how well she was able to set a tone of impending danger and maintain it flawlessly over nearly three hundred pages. The true violence has already taken place before our story begins, but as we learn more about Sarah from her friends and her sister Katy, the loss feels recent, even as more details about Sarah’s final days are revealed. But even though Sarah is ultimately what brings Austin and Katy together, it’s their budding relationship which is front and center, as it should be in any true romance. What I especially enjoyed about AVENGE ME was how it wasn’t just sexual chemistry and their common loss that made the hero and heroine so well matched, but how they had both been damaged by their dysfunctional childhoods despite the vast financial gulf between them. Although it’s obvious to the reader that Austin and Katy belong together, it’s not a sure thing that they will permit themselves to embrace a shared future, and I was genuinely concerned that there would be some sort of cliffhanger somehow that would keep me from the HEA that I needed to read and they deserved to have. Any romance writer that can make me worry about the happy ending when I already know there IS a happy ending is uncommonly good at writing romance, and that’s what Maisey Yates has done in AVENGE ME. If the next two books in the Fifth Avenue series are half as good at maintaining this degree of delicious uncertainty, I am going to be a very happy reader.