QUICK INTERMISSION! Yes, it’s the start of the post. Intermission before we start the post that continues the beginning of the story. Was this confusing? Yes! Welcome to the world of the Maddox Brother books.
Seriously, the way these books’ timelines overlap and interweave with each other (before we know a goddamn thing about who’s in them) is absurd. Beautiful Oblivion‘s Trenton was first a minor character in Beautiful Disaster, where he sorta advised Travis in his courtship of Abby. Beautiful Oblivion ended with a twist that Trenton’s love interest’s ex was secretly Beautiful Redemption‘s Thomas. And then in Beautiful Redemption (following this so far?), we had Travis’s wedding (although it was actually the fake wedding – look, I said this was complicated) where, among the other family members… hey, didn’t Taylor and Falyn show up in that?
So before we go a chapter of Beautiful Sacrifice that’s mostly backstory, what do we already know about these two anyway?
- By the time they go to Travis’s bachelor party and wedding, Taylor and Falyn have already broken up, gotten back together, but not before Taylor had sex with one of that novel’s minor characters. Wow, shit, ok, we have a lot of ground to cover in this book, huh?
- Later on, Taylor was pretty distraught about confessing to Falyn that he slept with someone else while they were broken up. Something tells me that’s going to make up about half of this book we’re reading now.
- At the wedding itself, we actually met Falyn! She said five words. “Say cheese!”, “Perfect”, and “Aw, cute”. It’s like we already know her.
So, uh, now we get to find out who the fuck these people actually are.
Anyway, let’s learn about Falyn! Spoiler: we do not learn how to pronounce Falyn.
Beautiful Sacrifice: Chapter 2
The chapter kicks off with Falyn taking a shower in her two-bedroom loft above the Cafe she works in. God, I hope she gets out more than it sounds like she does.
Seems like a good time to learn all about her parents and why they’re estranged!
My parents had been made for each other. The only person who didn’t fit into our family was me […] I had left home with nothing but the clothes I wore and my Louis Vuitton purse. Even if I had wanted to take some of my things, my father wouldn’t have let me. [He] was a renowned cardiologist in the state of Colorado and married to Dr. Blaire Fairchild, one of the best cardiothoracic surgeons in North America, also known as my mother…
Whoa, wait, you’re telling me that Dr. Blaire Fairchild, this renowned surgeon, and her mother are all the same person?
…and [as] queen bitch of the universe by some of her nurses.
That is an intense epithet.
We learn that her parents’ ambition and emotional distance from her took its toll, and she started drinking in her junior year of high school. Then our backstory infodump is interrupted by – I shit you not – the water finally getting warm enough for a shower, which prompts Falyn to take her clothes off, which prompts her to remember she’d “forgotten an important part of [her] nightly routine”, run to her bedroom closet to grab a shoebox full of cash, then run to the kitchen, then move half of her tips from her apron to the shoebox and the other half to the wallet which I guess was in the kitchen. Then she goes back to the shower. All of this had to be done before she could shower. This was a very important process and very important detail that we couldn’t possibly do after the shower.
Anywho, back to reminiscing about childhood!
The large pile of dirty clothes made me happy, knowing that would never have existed in my former life. With a houseful of staff—Vanda, the housekeeper, and the three maids, Cicely, Maria, and Ann—overlooked laundry at the end of the day would have meant somebody’s termination.
Ok, I think we’ve gathered that her parents are the worst and she’s doing way better without them. I’m just gonna skip ahead to… her BFF’s backstory…
Kirby pushed through the door, still in her apron and holding a to-go cup half full of soda.
“Is it possible to love everything about someone, except for everything about him?” she growled
SIIIIIIGH ok let’s learn yet another Maddox Bro heroine’s sassy best friend’s relationship woes. Don’t forget it’s one of the three constants of every Maddox Brothers book! (1. MADDOX LOVES FOREVER, 2. sassy BFF has a complicated love interest but she figures it out, 3. everyone else is weirdly invested in main character’s love life, 3 and a half. because nobody has Netflix, probably.)
“I hate him.”
“You do not.”
“I hate waiting. I feel like that sums up my entire relationship with Gunnar—waiting.”
“He adores you. He is taking all these classes to get a good job and give you everything you want when you’re his wife. It could be worse.”
“You’re right. He is the hottest thing in town…”
That worked out well.
“…besides your new toy. Are you really going to let him take you to dinner?”
“A free dinner? Of course.”
Guys, I think I like Falyn.
Falyn and her rooommate (and BFF?) Kirby suddenly have a serious conversation about why they even still live in this town. Kirby is staying until her boyfriend Gunnar finishes school and then they’ll move to Denver for his physician’s assistant program. Falyn mentions that she was premed until she dropped out. Yeah, really, it’s a serious conversation about kinda basic information for these friends who already know each other to just suddenly… have. I’m amazed Falyn never ran out of the shower to infodump this before.
“I’ve been working with you all year, and you’ve never talked about it. It has something to do with your parents, doesn’t it?”
I raised an eyebrow. “I’m surprised it’s taken you this long to ask.”
Gunnar arrives and we learn that Gunnar is ripped af. Stop me if you’ve heard this in every other book we’ve ever read.
His only fault was that he was too nice, trying to be everything for everyone, often making him late and overwhelmed in the process.
So Gunnar’s entire arc in this book will conclude with him showing up early for dinner or something.
“Falyn has a date.”
Gunnar looked to me for confirmation.
I shrugged. “My parents showed up. They were there when he asked. I kind of had to say yes.”
Imagine that explanation actually making sense.
The chapter ends with Falyn taking “a deep breath, breathing in my freedom after five full years of dealing with my grief and guilt on my own terms”, reflecting on how she’s “liberated myself. Although my parents would stop by on occasion, they couldn’t hurt me anymore.” And she dreams about Taylor, so, uh, say goodbye to that liberation, I guess. Ain’t our first Maddox-Loves-Forever rodeo.