February 15, 2016

The Underrated Romance Novel Everyone Needs to Read

I’ve mentioned this before but the only thing I love more than reading a new book is rereading an old favorite. This is especially easy to do with great romance novels. A lot of people tend to think that all romance novels stick to the standard formulaic approach and the readers are guaranteed a happily ever after. While that is true for a majority of books, a lot of my favorites add a nice little spin to it.

One of my favorite romance novels ever is also one of the most criminally underrated books. After reading this book again over the weekend, I just knew I had to write a post to highlight the greatness that was this book. The novel in question? Behind Those Eyes by T.P. Carter.

Behind Those Eyes is a perfect example of a love story that transcends time. The prologue sets the stage and readers immediately know that we are in for something a bit different. We meet Dr. Taiyler Richardson; a successful career woman who knows what she wants and makes no apologies for it. She wants to find a man that clicks with her on all cylinders. In comes Derek, handsome litigator, who she meets at a sorority event.  She initially dismisses him but Derrick, a bonafide player, sees something in Taiyler that he wants to explore and is relentless in getting her to give him a chance. She does, and a relationship blossoms. Things start to look up for them until he introduces her to his best friend, Nathaniel Woods.

behind those eyes tp carter

Nathaniel is a loving and doting husband and father. His family is his world and from what we first learn about him, he seems to be the type of man most women would want. He’s secure in his life, job, and marriage until he is introduced to Taiyler. After that, everything he once knew seems to turn on its head. Nathaniel and Taiyler are faced with a huge dilemma; this isn’t some simple attraction. It’s way more than that. The chemistry is undeniable, the feelings continue to grow, and they soon find out that the love they feel for each other is unlike anything they’ve ever experienced.

Can they ignore their feelings and continue on with life as they know it? Or will the dreams and familiarity they share become too much to ignore?

Behind Those Eyes by T.P. Carter is gold. Carter’s writing reminded me a bit of Eric Jerome Dickey which is why I probably gravitated towards it even more. I love a book that is thought-provoking, challenging, and sensual. This novel gave me all of that and more. The main and supporting characters were equally developed and I appreciated that I was able to invest in all of them.

This book raises a lot of important questions. What if you found your soulmate at a time when both of you are in serious long-term relationships? What are you willing to sacrifice for a taste of forever? As cut and dry as it may seem on paper, it’s really not that simple. There is so much thought that must go into this, so many people to consider besides yourself and the person you are in love with. Even I was taken aback a bit as I watched this unfold. There was so much explored that I didn’t even think about in this type of situation.

Nathaniel and Taiyler had to struggle with this and while their actions weren’t honest, their feelings and struggles surely were. Carter made these characters human; they really seemed like your everyday people and readers were able to see how quickly they could be in Nathaniel or Taiyler’s shoes. Taiyler could be your sorority sister, Nathaniel could be the godfather of your child. You were able to feel every emotion; the confusion, the uncertainty, the gut-wrenching pain, and the once in a lifetime love that was hard to ignore.

“I’ve loved you from the moment our eyes met. Before then. After now. I love you without reservation. Without condition. With all of me. You’re a dream come true.”

Satisfaction showered his face with dimples. Lined his eyes with tears. 

“And I love you, too. Until death. After life.” He kissed my forehead. And we made love as if our lives depended on it. Our dreams crossing over. Living their own words. In broken haikus. 

This exchange along with one at the very end of the book (which I won’t spoil) is my favorite. I read this book back in 2007 on a whim after purchasing it in Walmart I believe. I was shocked that I hadn’t heard of the book and it didn’t get a lot of media coverage. Behind Those Eyes is the underrated romance novel that everyone needs to read. As cliche as this will sound, this book really does take your breath away.

After reading Behind Those Eyes, readers will believe in the breathtaking love that continues to transcend time. Because if you believe in what Taiyler and Nathaniel had, soul mates find their way to each other in every lifetime.

Am I a hopeless romantic? Sure. But whether you are not, this book will cost you to think about a few things differently when it comes to love. I guarantee you that.

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Natalya