Published by Atria Books, Simon and Schuster Australia on March 10, 2015
Genres: New Adult, Romance
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Auburn Reed has her entire life mapped out. Her goals are in sight and there’s no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry.
For once, Auburn takes a risk and puts her heart in control, only to discover Owen is keeping major secrets from coming out. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything important to Auburn, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it.
The last thing Owen wants is to lose Auburn, but he can’t seem to convince her that truth is sometimes as subjective as art. All he would have to do to save their relationship is confess. But in this case, the confession could be much more destructive than the actual sin…
I know, I know. How could I be disappointed with a Colleen Hoover novel? Why is it only 3 stars?
Aside from the fascinating twist of a romance developing over confessions and artwork, I had trouble getting into Confess. From the start, I just did not get along with Auburn and Owen with their first meeting based on dodgy feelings.
Let me explain. Auburn is desperate for a job, and she walks straight into a stranger’s apartment after seeing a job ad and meeting him for the first time. After they go out for a drink, she invites him into her home. Safety and preservation doesn’t even occur to her and her naivety was her defining character trait.
Luckily, Owen brings up as a joke, that he won’t rape, murder or torture her. Isn’t that creepy? Auburn just laughed it off, but when you think about it, she doesn’t really know this guy. Perhaps it’s my fault coming out of reading You from a stalker’s point of view, but Owen also had these obsessive thoughts over Auburn when they first met, like it wasn’t the first time he’s met her. So you can see, we started off on the wrong foot, but I’m glad these feelings subsided.
‘Selflessness. It should be the basis of every relationship. If a person truly cares about you, they’ll get more pleasure from the way they make you feel, rather than the way you make them feel.’
Confess only spans about 4 weeks or so, and after their first and second meeting, Auburn and Owen have already formed a deep emotional connection with each other. This is different to insta-love, they were clearly attracted to each other at first, and the love came later. But when Owen stands up on his second date with Auburn and she pines over him, and he does the same, my eyebrows were raised at this point. I felt like Owen’s “I’ve known her for ages” sort of thing was a convenient way in forming this attachment early, and I was just left out in the cold.
Now they do have chemistry, don’t get me wrong. But attraction, chemistry and lust? Sure. A deep emotional attachment? Especially for Auburn, what are you thinking! You met this guy once and you hit it off. I just wasn’t a fan of Auburn’s naivety, her irresponsibility and her lack of safety.
“…People leave their confessions in the slot over there, and I use some of them as inspiration for my art.” – Owen
The romantic barrier in Confess is the family drama, with teenage pregnancy, alcoholism and addiction at the forefront. These aspects were wrapped into the novel really well, especially when it involves child custody and a complex relationship with the legal guardian. Annoyingly enough, this again is used as a plot device for Auburn to be manipulated by the biggest asshole in existence – her brother in law Trey. Come on, even I knew he was trouble from the start!
When you add a baddy into the mix, of course the other guy is going to be a white knight. And Owen, typical tortured artist with a troubled past, just can’t do any wrong. He’s got some interesting secrets, I’ll tell you that, but something about him felt just too flawless. You just couldn’t fault the wonderful Owen.
Aside from Hoover’s incredible writing, I love how her recent books have transcended her artform of words. Confess contains stunning artwork based on real life confessions. It was intriguing how these were submitted by real people, and if that’s anyone reading my review, I admire you for your bravery and strength and I hope you found some absolution from it.
Although Confess had an interesting angle focused around confessions and artwork, the rest of the story featured too many romantic tropes and a relationship that developed too quickly for my liking. It reminded me of a combination of Ten Tiny Breaths with a car accident as the turning point for the characters, You with Owen’s point of view upon first meeting Auburn, and 50 Shades of Grey with Auburn’s naivety and possessive controlling love interest (which is where the second guy comes in).
The characters felt very black and white and Auburn’s naivety rubbed me the wrong way. I love Colleen Hoover but unfortunately Confess is her first book that I’ve rated less than 4.5 stars.
Rating: 3 out of 5 (*sniffles*)
Thank you to Simon and Schuster Australia for sending me a review copy in exchange for an honest review.