Book Tour Stop!
Make Me Dream by Dillon Bancroft
The first and most important thing that you should know about this book before even considering reading it is that it comes with a ton of content warnings. I didn’t see any listed in the GR blurb or in my review copy, but I understand that is not a finished draft and these warnings may be added later. This book deals with a lot of heavy issues – domestic violence, physical, verbal, psychological, and sexual abuse, trauma, PTSD, unplanned pregnancy, kidnapping, torture, children in jeopardy, suicidal ideation, and probably more I can’t remember at the moment. I say this not to discourage anyone from reading it, I just believe that when a story is this heavy, the reader should be made aware of what they are getting themselves into.
That being said, I believe that the author handled all of the above issues with insight and sensitivity. Our lead characters, Aria and Derek, are well-developed and likeable despite their flaws. Aria has fled an abusive relationship and has returned to her rural hometown to stay on her parents’ farm. Derek is a single dad to an adorable and precocious ten-year-old and works as a vet in town and helps with the animals on the farm. Aria is understandably slow to trust anyone, especially another man, while Derek feels like, since his divorce, he’s done with relationships for good. In addition to the developing connection between Aria and Derek, this story focuses on the pursuit of Aria’s abusive and elusive ex and the attempts to bring him to justice. Aria has a whole team of men protecting her, including the FBI agent who helped her escape her penthouse prison and the team of Derek’s Marine Corps brothers. These men are sweet and funny and broody and fiercely protective, and I hope that they all get their own books.
For the most part, I enjoyed this book. However, I did have some problems with the story structure. Mostly I felt like we were dropped into this setting with no context. The author doesn’t give us a solid background of the group of “brothers” that Derek is a part of, we just know that they are all former Marines and that they take out bad guys when needed. We don’t even have a timeline to connect the opening scene with the remainder of the story. How long ago did that raid take place? We also are told that Aria is shunned by most of the community, and we’re given hints that it’s because of some behavior in her past that I guess was considered slutty? But we never find out exactly why everyone in town looks down on her. It feels like maybe there’s an earlier book that would have given us all of this background, but this is the first book in the series, so I don’t know.
But if you are looking for an emotional read and can handle the content, this book might be worth a try. Aria is a strong and resilient woman. I try to put myself in her shoes and can’t imagine having to make the kinds of decisions she does. Like, do I keep this baby who was a product of sexual abuse? Can I care for this child knowing that the “evil” of the father could be lurking there? Can I stand having a constant reminder of that traumatic part of my life in front of me every single day? Or when she’s considering returning to her abuser to keep the other people she loves safe from him and his violence. That was heavy stuff, and I can’t imagine being put in that situation. So thank you, Dillon Bancroft, for giving us this beautiful, flawed woman who forces us to confront the question: how far am I willing to go to protect those I love?
Thank you to the author and to Romance Me With Books for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.