Identical twins, Maggie and Clara Ryder, both grew up with Leo Maddox, billionaire playboy, apparent alcoholic, and heir to his grandfather’s world-famous Maddox hotel empire. Their roles were cemented long ago: Maggie, as his best friend and Clara as his childhood nemesis.
But when a simple twist of fate changes everything and both girls start to fall for the lean, mean, ridiculously sexy and seemingly spoiled Leo… which girl will win his heart?
Throw in a little mischief, drama, and one smoking-hot bartender and lines are sure to blur. But one thing’s for certain, neither good-girl Maggie nor rebellious Clara will be satisfied until they each figure out where they belong.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Two things I loved about He Belongs With Me right off the bat – the cover, and the fact that it’s a standalone! Sorry, but this was definitely one of those times when I totally judged the book by its cover. I mean, come on, you have to admit it looks so gorgeous! Also, we’re now in a literary world where almost every book has to be a part of a series so yes, this was refreshing.
Maggie and Clara Ryder are identical twins who live privileged lives, being the daughters of golf legend and country club owner, Reed Ryder. The downside is that the two cannot be more different from each other. Typically, Maggie’s the good twin while Clara’s the rebellious one. Maggie lives and breathes the country club life while Clara wants nothing more than to run away from it all. Enter the other part of this sticky equation, Leo Maddox. He’s the seemingly too serious and spoiled heir to a billion dollar hotel empire (naturally), and he also happens to be Maggie’s best friend and Clara’s nemesis (of course).
One summer night, everything changes. Soon, Clara starts to have feelings for Leo, and Maggie realizes that she may want to be more with her best friend. So, a love triangle? Not really. There is another character by the name of Dean/Robby — yes, they are one and the same — who is from Maggie’s past who may or may not want her back. But the big question is who will Leo end up with? [A LITTLE SPOILER: The cover actually has an important significance to the story, and if you can guess who they are, you’ll know who ends up with whom.]
I really enjoyed Sarah Darlington‘s debut novel. It is told in Maggie and Clara’s POV so I got to know them both pretty well, but to be honest, I was so annoyed at Maggie. She acted like a spoiled princess/bitch especially towards her own twin. Many times I felt like I couldn’t care less about her story, and all I wanted to do was fast forward to Clara’s POVs. Thankfully, Leo and Clara were awesome characters.
So, why only 4 stars? Two things.
First, I felt like the story was almost too perfect. All the elements were there, the twist, the conflict, the build up, etc. But I just think that it fell a bit short. I guess I assumed that there was going to be a whole lot of drama, given the complex plot (though it wasn’t really that complex). I should say it was sort of anti-climatic then.
Second, although the ending wasn’t exactly rushed, it felt lacking. Maggie’s happy ending was nicely put together, but Clara’s HEA seemed abrupt. Hmm, maybe it would have been better to have separate books after all, so then both of their stories could have been better expounded. Yes, I know I said I was glad that this was a standalone but I guess, ultimately, I just wanted more Clara! 😉
Overall, He Belongs With Me is an entertaining read. Don’t let the premise scare you because it’s truly not that complicated of a story. It’s about learning to deal with certain situations, finding love, and the love of family amid differences.
*ARC provided by the author
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