Going in Deep
Going in Deep is what you’d expect from Carly Phillips – a sexy and swoonworthy romance – but it’s also so much more. Ms. Phillips has fearlessly written a story with a remarkably different kind of hero and heroine than typically found in romance novels, making this a unique and distinctive book. I’m sure readers will appreciate this bold and unexpected love story.
It is rare to have a protagonist in a romance dealing with mental illness, but the heroine, Kendall Parker, suffers with bipolar disorder. She’s never presented as flawed or damaged; she’s just a woman living with a disease rather as would someone with something like diabetes or any other long-term illness. There’s enough information woven throughout the story to shine a light on mental illness, but it never feels like a public service announcement. Kudos to Ms. Phillips for taking a subject that is often kept behind closed doors and normalizing it.
Julian Dane is something of an anti-hero at the beginning of the book and is a highly unlikeable character with no foreseeable path to redemption, especially if you’ve read the previous book in the Billionaire Bad Boys series – Going Down Hard. During that story, he used Kendall maliciously to try to exact revenge against his former business partners, and Kendall’s sister was caught in the crosshairs of his dirty fighting, thus causing a rift between her and Kendall. Here, Julian doesn’t seem like he’s going to make the grade as a romantic hero, but somehow Ms. Phillips succeeds in redeeming the seemingly unredeemable.
Julian is an addict, who is now sober and in active recovery. He is slowly putting his life back together and dealing with the devastation he left behind. He wants to make amends for his transgressions, and he owes Kendall an explanation and an apology. At the time he manipulated her, he didn’t realize that she was bipolar, and their toxic relationship sent her into a downward spiral that ended in inpatient psychiatric treatment. He seeks her out to try to make things right between them.
Kendall is now stable and successfully managing her disease, and she has no desire to see or hear from Julian. It is probably not healthy for her to associate with him, so she refuses to meet with him. Julian slowly and quietly persuades her that he has changed, and she takes a risk on order to hear him out.
Julian and Kendall shared an intense chemistry during the past, and both had developed real feelings for each other during their tumultuous relationship. They discover their attraction hasn’t waned and those feelings are still there – albeit buried under a lot of pain, especially for Kendall. They fall back into bed and slowly embark upon a relationship, one that has everything stacked against it. (Their rekindled affair happens a bit quickly to be realistic, but this is a romance where life happens faster than normal.) It will take a lot for Kendall to ever trust Julian again, and the friends and family that forgave her and supported her are the same people that Julian hurt and will be firmly against them being together. There is nothing easy about Julian and Kendall’s journey.
Going in Deep is just as passionate and romantic as any love story, but it is also poignant and moving, showing that love can be strong enough to overcome the most challenging of past hurts and current obstacles. Ms. Phillips has written a special, unique and highly recommendable book.