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.
*NEW ADULT ROMANCE. Standalone. Recommended for readers 17+
*LEO MADDOX ~the alternative version to this novel releases on Nov. 25th
He Belongs With Me
by Sarah Darlington
March 4, 2014
He Belongs With Me by Sarah Darlington tells the story of two sisters, Maggie and Clara, who couldn’t be more different. At each other’s necks for most of their lives, Maggie is the reliable sister, where Clara is the “wild child.” The story starts with Clara seemingly stealing Maggie’s boyfriend from her—infuriating Maggie to no end. With her life out of control, Maggie’s one constant is Leo Maddox, sexy heir and her best friend; this boy would have it all going for him—if he could just get his drinking (and his playboy ways) under control. And with a mysterious bartender showing up in Maggie’s life, she’s beginning to wonder what kind of relationship she needs—and whether the sexy Dean might be the solution to a problem she’s been pining over for years. With secrets revealed and tensions high, will Clara and Maggie be able to thrive in their relationships?
I really enjoyed the relationship between Maggie and Clara in this one. Totally antagonistic, it’s the kind of love/hate you’d expect from twin sisters who have been trying to outdo the other for most of their lives. However, Clara definitely came out as the favorite POV in my mind. It was a lot of fun reading about her shenanigans and insecurities (especially when it came to Leo) and she was a more rounded character for sure. I loved watching as her and Leo’s relationship unfolded—from bitter enemies, to reluctant friends, to lovers—it was a nice progression. Whereas Maggie came across as a little bit whiny and a little bit spoiled (though they both really are quite spoiled). Focusing the story one or the other definitely would have been preferable.
This story would have been a bit stronger for me had the plot been a little more believable. I know Clara and Maggie are pretty wealthy, but at times it seems like nothing else is going on in their lives other than their relationships (for which they are continually blowing of both jobs and people)—and some of the motivations for the relationships seemed a little odd (really, why would Maggie be pining over a guy who literally hasn’t spoken to her in years?). I definitely think that the love triangle aspect could have been nixed in favor of some more believable emotion—especially on Maggie’s part (losing a best friend to a new relationship would be traumatic enough). It definitely would have been better to read about their individual relationships and not a forced romantic rivalry where there really shouldn’t have been one.
That being said, both Clara and Maggie were fun and entertaining characters (though Clara more than Maggie, for me), so it does make up for the confusion and oddness. All in all, this was a really fun romp that was a solid start for Sarah Darlington. I think with time and subsequent works, Sarah Darlington will really come into her own. If you’re looking for a fast, flirty read with lots of romance and plenty of sexiness, then you will love He Belongs With Me by Sarah Darlington.
The review copy of this book was received from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.
ABOUT AUTHOR SARAH DARLINGTON
Sarah Darlington lives in Virginia with her husband and two-year-old son. She’s a former flight attendant, navy brat, constant day-dreamer, wannabe photographer, and an avid scrapbooker. She loves to travel and is working on visiting all 50 states. Her books include He Belongs with Me, Leo Maddox, and Kill Devil Hills.