“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 can see why Colleen Hoover is so popular. So far, I am impressed with every one of her books that I’ve read and Confess is no exception. Confess is a thoughtful, well-written, multi-layered contemporary romance. I wasn’t too sure about the subject matter of this book before starting it- a love story centered around an art studio- it just didn’t appeal to me as much as other books I’ve read. After reading the first chapter I quickly realized there was no need for hesitation. CoHo’s addictive writing style immediately pulled me in to the story and I couldn’t stop reading until I finished.
The story starts by introducing us to fifteen year-old Auburn and Adam, both very much in love. Adam is dying, and the first scene of the book describes their last meeting together. This is already an emotional start and Auburn is introduced to us as someone who has dealt with loss at such a young age. During present time, Auburn has moved back to Dallas working as a hairdresser. She doesn’t seem very happy in her life but we don’t have much context. Auburn comes across a building with little notes taped across the windows- confessions from anonymous writers. She then meets Owen, the artist who owns the studio. He is desperately looking for someone to help him out that night to run the transactions from his paintings. Auburn and Owen are immediately attracted to each other and as their relationships develops, we learn more about their troubled past, present, and what that means for their future.
Confess could easily be a typical NA romance but there are a few elements that set it apart. While I won’t go into any details of the plot of the story, just know that it is so thoughtfully written and there are more layers to the story than I originally expected. There is one reveal after another and while I was hooked from the first page to the last, it never felt too outrageous or unrealistic. It was a heartbreaking, emotional read but absolutely worth it.
I didn’t love Auburn at first but she grew on me throughout the story. When she meets Owen she says that she has a very private life and doesn’t like sharing anything about it. My first impression was that this was kind of a rude and silly thing to say, but as I learned more about Auburn’s past, I understood her reasoning. Auburn sometimes made decisions that I didn’t want her to, but CoHo developed her character well enough to the point where I completely understand her reasoning behind every decision she made.
Owen was also an extremely likable protagonist, but sometimes he was a little too perfect for me. He doted on Auburn from start to finish and seemed a little too self-sacrificing to be realistic. I understand why he chose to keep certain things secret from Auburn, but I also feel like a lot of their problems would have been solved if he told her the truth from the beginning. I understand that would have taken a lot of drama out of the story, but still, I think both of them would have benefited from some healthy communication. Despite all of this, I rooted for both of them to find a way to be together and I loved their scenes. They definitely have a passionate, adorable romance.
I also really enjoyed the art studio aspect of the story, which was an unexpected surprise. The book didn’t just include an art studio as a prop, it was an integral part of the story. Owen’s paintings are all inspired by anonymous confessions. Some confessions are heartwarming but many are shameful, if not a little disturbing.
“You don’t exist God. And if you do, you should be ashamed.” Ebook, 10%
“Sometimes I wonder if being dead would be easier than being his mother.” Ebook, 8%
The book also featured some original artwork I believe was created solely for the publication of this book. This was such creative addition to the story and it really worked with the premise. While we watch the relationship between Auburn and Owen develop, Confess makes us think about what confessions are important to reveal, and which ones are best left as a secret.
If you are at all a fan of contemporary romance, you should read this book. If you are anything like me, you won’t be able to put it down until you finish it. Colleen Hoover has a way of breaking your heart but leaves you wanting more. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and I can’t wait to pick up more of her books.
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆