I’ve taken days to write this review because I simply don’t know what to say about this book. We’re not even halfway through the year yet, and I’ve already read so many amazing novels. I honestly am scared about making a list of favorites at the end of the year! Whitney Barbetti’s Mad Love Duet is without a doubt going to make the list.
Pieces of Eight is the follow-up to Six Feet Under and it could not have been done more perfectly. Whitney pours her soul onto every page of these two books and deserves a ridiculous amount of recognition for the extremely difficult subjects she tackles with the utmost care. Through these two books, my complete outlook toward mental illness has been changed. I feel like I’ve been educated on how to empathize with those struggling rather than brow-beaten with loads of useless information. I’m grateful for the changes I’ve seen in myself just from reading this story.
My favorite books are those offering more than romance and pages upon pages of romps between the sheets. I want substance – I want to know the characters inside and out. I want to see struggle and redemption, dark and light. The Mad Love Duet accomplished every bit of what I was looking for and then some! I feel like I know Mira and relate to parts of her in ways I’ve never seen in a character from a book before. She’s wholly unique – strong and weak, feeling more human than arguably any character I’ve ever encountered before. In Six Feet Under, I was infuriated by Mira, but somehow still loved her. In Pieces of Eight, I related to her and was cheering her on. She showed such growth and beauty. I finished this story wishing she was real so I could give her a hug!
Six was always there, even when I didn’t want him.
But he couldn’t hold me together, and I couldn’t be his penance.
Loss is a phantom limb. No one can see it, but the ache torments you in the night, distracts you during the day, and leaves you fragmented. I’m half a heart, half a soul, and nothing could cure the pieces he’d left behind.
Losing him was safer than loving him. Because the love that kept us coming back again and again was nothing short of madness.
But then, isn’t mad love the most honest?
Most stories, when spanning years, jump around making the reader feel lost and disconnected to the story. This duet spans more than ten years but makes the reader feel as if they were with Mira every step of the way. I actually felt as if the large amounts of time with Mira bonded me to her because I was able to see a full range of growth and the struggles in between. I especially loved how Pieces of Eight took time to show Mira and Six and individuals, allowing me to experience each one in new and unexpected ways.
“He’s been there through the dark. And instead of pulling me into the light, he’d held me in the dark, letting me choose the light for myself.”
Despite the time apart, the undying love between these two characters was beautiful to behold. I was enthralled with how realistic the moments between them felt and guys… the slow-burn was everything! I felt like I needed to wipe sweat from my brow after the encounters between them. Girl, YES.
“What was it about watching a man operate something meant for two hands with just one that made a woman feel desire thick and heavy?
I’m so sad to be finished with this story. I implore everyone to please give these books the time they deserve. They have changed my heart, the way I think and perceive people, and truly put me in the shoes of people I have known in my life. The writing is masterful, immersive, and full of soul. I also have to note, one of my favorite things about reading Whitney Barbetti’s books are the notes she leaves readers with at the end of her stories. They make me shed more tears than I did while reading about the characters because she allows me to see how much heart she pours into her writing. Her perfectly flawed characters are life-changing.
Start with Six Feet Under and get to reading, you will not regret it.
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