***** (5 stars) Full of passion, intense emotions, healing, and a well-deserved HEA!
Wow! Heather Dahlgren blew me away with the intensity of emotions she instilled in me with the details surrounding Maddie’s background and the relationship with her mother. I don’t think I have ever wanted to jump inside a book, yell at a character, and slap some sense into them as much as I did with Maddie’s mother. This woman was in no way a “real” mother to Maddie – she was a monster. Her mother’s lifestyle, as well as the lessons she taught Maddie as a child, were the basis for how Maddie lived her life.
Ms. Dahlgren did a phenomenal job with providing just enough information so we understood how Maddie was affected, without taking away from the story of Maddie and Young. Maddie’s childhood was far from conventional, and her mother filled her head with garbage and conditioned Maddie to always be perfect and to expect certain things in life.
Maddie is who she is, and a large part of this is a result of how her mother raised (or didn’t raise) her. Her childhood is her secret, and she has developed her own ways to cope with the trauma she experienced at the hands of her mother. Some of the ways she deals with her past is to put up walls and not let anyone in, tell everyone she has no contact with her mother, and to not share any part of her childhood with anyone, including her two roommates, Kenz and Becca, who are more like sisters to her.
Living with Kenz and Becca is the first time Maddie has ever had a chance to try and be her own person and not live in fear. She loves the life she has at college and with her roommates. Across the hall from the girls, live Campbell (Kenz’s boyfriend) and his best friends, Dick and Young. Since Kenz and Campbell are dating, there are many occasions that everyone is together. Maddie and Young somehow get caught up in a ‘friends with benefits’ relationship. For Maddie and Young, this works beautifully, since they are both all about sex and playing the field. Neither one of them is interested in any type of commitment.
One day, Young realizes he wants more from Maddie than just sex – he has feelings for her. Young decides he is done being a player, and he wants a meaningful relationship with Maddie. This scares Maddie, but Young comes up with the idea that if they abstain from sex, they can learn more about each other.
Ms. Dahlgren did a beautiful job showing how friendship can turn into love and passion. She hit on several emotional aspects that would be experienced by someone who went through what Maddie did, and showed how a person can learn to break down their walls, begin sharing, and learn to love and trust someone other than herself. There was a point where it looked like Young might not get his happily ever after with Maddie. I was left feeling crushed for Young, and hoping that things would change. The love and support of her friends (including Young), helped Maddie overcome her past and begin healing, leading to her no longer having a fear of commitment, and giving both her and Young a well-deserved happily ever after.
It should be noted that “Commitment” by Heather Dahlgren is book 2 in The Change Series; however, it can be read as a standalone novel.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading “Commitment” and getting to know more about Young and Maddie. Maddie’s past was beyond troubling, while Young came from a supportive, caring, and fun family. This book had it all. There were intense emotions, healing, passion, and hot, steamy scenes. If you are looking for a book with passion in more ways than one, a heroine that is strong, yet fragile, and a great love story, this is it.