What He Doesn’t Know by Kandi Steiner is the first book in the What He Doesn’t Know series. It is an Adult Romance.
When Reese finds his way back to his hometown, he never expects to find the girl he used to know still living there. Charlie has met each of her goals one by one. She is a teacher. She has a beautiful home and a stable marriage. But when tragedy struck, she fell into a black hole she couldn’t find her way out of, until the day Reese showed up at her school.
When the old spark between them flares to life, Charlie is forced to decide what is more important–keeping her family intact and staying true to her vows or letting herself love freely and be happy.
This book absolutely shocked me. When I first saw it, I read the blurb and then walked away. Months later, someone recommended it to me and I picked it up with a sigh. I struggled through the first chapter and was unable to connect with the main character, Charlie.
But once I got a few chapters in, I realized that Charlie was written like that on purpose. Charlie struggled with depression and had turned off her emotions. I ended up falling in love with the story. I think the topic of her depression was done very thoughtfully and respectfully. It was believable, without being overly dramatic.
Charlie drew me in and I wanted nothing more than for her to find herself again. I wanted her to be happy and each time she smiled or laughed I felt it.
There are two love interests in this book–Cameron and Reese. Cameron is Charlie’s husband, but they are having issues in their relationship. Reese is Charlie’s first love, who recently moved back to town. I thought I knew who I wanted Charlie to end up with, but Steiner shocked me several times throughout this novel. And I no longer know who I love and who Charlie should be with!
This book kept me on my toes and kept me guessing. I had so many questions throughout the novel and slowly got the answers.
As for the writing itself, I didn’t notice any major typos or problems. I thought it was well written and an easy read. It is the perfect type of book to pick up before bed when you are trying to relax and fall asleep. (Now, I do not mean that it was boring, because trust me it wasn’t!)
This book gave me exactly what I wanted from it. I don’t really have anything bad to say about it, other than how slow the beginning was for me. I am so glad that I didn’t put it down and walk away, but I almost did!
Overall, I give this novel 4 out of 5 stars. I really enjoyed it and highly recommend it to everyone who loves a bittersweet romance! I am so excited to pick up the second book and I definitely think she will make it to my favorite authors list!