“We’ve already lost the first woman we ever loved. The thought of going through that again scares the shit out of us.” – Trenton Maddox, Beautiful Oblivion
I recently reviewed the Beautiful Disaster trilogy, which follows Travis and Abby’s love story. Click here to read the review. The author of those books, Jamie McGuire, also wrote two other books, Beautiful Oblivion and Beautiful Redemption.
I was pulled into these books’ love stories like I was with Travis and Abby’s. Coincidentally, all of their stories tie in together, as I’m sure the rest of the series does as well. It all makes for compelling plot lines that leave you not wanting to put the books down, which I think is one of the ways McGuire gets us hooked on her books.
If we learned anything from Travis and Abby’s love story in the Beautiful Disaster trilogy, it’s that Travis Maddox carries his mother’s wise words to heart: love hard and fight harder. Travis’s brothers, Trenton and Thomas, are no different. They love and fight just the same way their brother did in Beautiful Oblivion and Beautiful Redemption.
*Spoiler Warning: Review contains possible spoilers*
“I was just thinking now was as good a time as any to acknowledge that you’re perfect and it wouldn’t suck if you fell madly in love with me anytime soon.” – Trenton Maddox, Beautiful Oblivion
In Beautiful Oblivion, we follow characters Trenton and Cami, whom we were first introduced to a little bit in Beautiful Disaster. It just so happens, that they were falling in love at around the same time Travis and Abby were, so we get to see bits and pieces of that story again as well.
Trenton is a lot like his brother Travis, right down to the looks. All of the guys wanted to be like Trenton and the girls wanted him. A tragic accident leaves him feeling guilty, and causes him to drop out of college to work at a tattoo shop and live with his dad. When he sees Cami sitting alone at The Red, his childhood crush comes back full force. According to him, though, it never really went away.
The problem is, Cami technically has a boyfriend, T.J., that lives and works in California and she hardly gets to see. She was actually supposed to be spending the weekend with him in California when Trenton found her alone, but TJ’s work got in the way and she was forced to spend the weekend at home. So begins a friendship between Trenton and Cami.
However, we all know it’s impossible for a Maddox to stay just friends with a girl he likes loves. While Cami believes it won’t be a problem remaining platonic with Trenton, he eases his way into her life more and more, ultimately becoming her best friend. He believes she deserves a better boyfriend than this T.J. guy, and he knows that he can be the one to be that guy for her. It’s not until a last minute trip to try to rekindle her relationship with T.J. that Cami finally realizes where her heart really lies.
When she returns home, they still have some hurdles to leap; she’s still hesitant to really commit to him, has a secret she’s hiding with T.J., and deals with an abusive father and broken family. It’s really not until the very end of the book that they finally get it together without anything truly holding them back. Then, the very last sentence of the book throws us for a loop that I’m not sure any of the readers saw coming… at least I know I didn’t.
“I lost someone I loved before, and it changed me. I gave up someone I loved before, and it crushed me. I know that when you leave, Liis, however it goes down… it will end me.” – Thomas Maddox, Beautiful Redemption
Beautiful Redemption takes place about a year after both Travis and Trenton’s stories. If you want to read this one, you should definitely read both the trilogy and Beautiful Oblivion first because they are major parts of the plots in this book.
Here, we’re introduced to Liis (“like geese, but with an L) Lindy, a spunky FBI agent who only has plans to be committed to her job. She broke off her engagement to a long-time boyfriend in Chicago after being hand-picked to be transferred to San Diego. She has no plans to fall in love. She only has plans to work her way up the latter to Quantico. But her plans get interrupted when she meets Thomas at the local bar her first night there… and takes him home. Little did she know that he’s actually her new boss.
It’s safe to say that everyone in the office has loathed Thomas ever since his heart got broken and he became arrogant and ruthless in the office. Like Lindy, he is also married to the job, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t tried to balance both the job and his love life. However, that’s exactly how he ended up heartbroken. When he went home with Liis, he had no idea until the next morning that she was the one he’d brought on for the special assignment of keeping his brother Travis out of prison.
Liis is stubborn and doesn’t put up with anyone’s bull, especially Thomas’. Since that first night together, neither can deny they have feelings for each other. However, they both try to resist as much as they can because the job comes first and Liis refuses to be 2nd (or even 3rd) to Thomas’ first love. Thomas is persistent though, and refuses to let this one slip through his fingers.
Through many ups and downs that include a weekend trip to Travis and Abby’s vow renewal, arguments over his first love, a few heated make out sessions, declarations, a case that needs to work out perfectly, and even shared gunshot wounds; Liis finally learns that sometimes it’s better to be someone’s last love than the first.
“We’d had to find each other to finally understand that love could not be controlled. Predictions, assumptions, and absolutes were illusions. My love for him was volatile, uncontrollable, and overpowering, but… that was love. Love was real.” – Liis Lindy, Beautiful Redemption
Overall, I loved both books. I loved that they both are very similar to Travis and Abby’s story, yet they’re still their own stories that have a lot of differences. Each relationship has their own extremes, complications, and growths that make them unique. Even though the stories have similar outcomes, they each teach us something different about love.
I can’t decide if I loved either of them more than Travis and Abby’s story. If anything, they’re tied or a very close 2nd. I’m a sucker for childhood crushes that eventually turn into something more, which is exactly what I got with Trenton and Cami’s story. While Thomas and Liis’ is a reminder that there’s always redemption after heartbreak, and that being someone’s first love doesn’t hold a candle to being someone’s last.