by Lily Baines
Publication: March 26, 2020
Detective Rose Harper is in love with her partner Eithen Reed. She’s loved him for 10 years, the length of their partnership at the 23rd precinct. And for 10 years she’s buried those feelings because of the ring on his finger. Now that it’s gone, the walls she’s erected have started to crumble, but she knows feelings will only complicate their professional and personal relationship. Then again maybe it doesn’t matter what she does anyway, whether she acts on her feelings or continues to push them aside, because the strength of their relationship is tested when they land their biggest case and Eithen willingly trades her for the attractive FBI agent who accompanies it.
I started A Case of Longing knowing I might be burned and was foolish enough to believe I would come out of it unscathed. Baines made me feel too much; it was overwhelming. Her words embedded themselves so deeply it was nearly impossible to move onto another book, to read something, anything that might serve as a balm for the pain she inflicted.
I was not okay.
I spent a few days nursing my bruised heart while Rose moved on to her happily ever after. I couldn’t get over Eithen’s betrayal. With the story told in third person present with a single point of view, Rose was the character I experienced everything through. Her unrequited love was mine; her wounded heart was mine. My emotions were in turmoil throughout as I struggled along with her, watching as Eithen seemingly left
me her behind.
Although Eithen and his disregard was the root of my pain, he’s a prime example of what I consider to be a strength in Baine’s writing and, inevitably, a factor in my emotional downfall. Her male love interests are flawed and don’t always know the right thing to say or do. Eithen Reed made mistakes; he is, after all, only human; however, that doesn’t mean I necessarily have to like him. In fact, I loathed him even more. Rose was by no means perfect, but it was his mistakes that were difficult for me to overcome. The reasons he gave her were not enough to convince me he was her happy ending.
As much as I disliked Eithen, it was how frustrating he was as well as connecting with Rose, along with many other moments, that allowed the book to leave such a lasting mark that it still interrupts my thoughts and feelings when I least expect it. Would it have lingered as long if Eithen had been perfect? Would I have needed to set the book down every few chapters to stem my overflowing anguish? Probably not. While Baines put me through an emotional wringer, A Case of Longing is my first five-star read of the year. If you enjoy romances with mature heroines and love interests, stories of unrequited love that make you feel like its your own, this is a must-read.