E. J. Noyes and Abby Craden, need we say more?
What was the book about?
Caitlyn Lloyd is on the verge of qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympics as part of the US dressage team. All her hard work, all her sacrifices are about to pay. No way is she going to let her confusion over the new team vet derail her plans. Addie Gardner was Caitlyn’s nemesis at Pony Club, or so Caitlyn remembers it. On Addie’s side, things are a bit different: Caitlyn was her first – and everlasting – crush. Now an accomplished vet, Addie’s ambition is to do her job as well as possible. And if with that job comes a new friendship (or more), she won’t complain.
Enemies to Lovers, Sports, Olympics
Each new book by E.J. Noyes is cause for celebration. You know you’re going to get fantastic writing, relatable characters, and a great story. Even with her more traditional romances (Turbulence, Gold or this new one), there’s always something more. Pas de Deux doesn’t disappoint: the writing is excellent, the pace is ideal, the characters are layered and, yes, relatable, including the secondary characters, from Caitlyn’s groom Wren to Addie’s friend Teresa and, of course, Dewey the horse.
The love the author has for horses is in every word of this book. I think it’s that love that made it possible for me to care about every detail, all the minutiae about the care of horses. The level of description could have felt excessive but Noyes makes it engaging and captivating.
One of the many things I loved in this book is the way the MCs deal with problems. They do this very adult and very rare-in-lesfic thing: they talk to each other. This book is proof that miscommunication isn’t required for drama. Neither is a breakup. Well-fleshed characters with very human hang-ups bring all the angst and drama necessary. It’s all the more interesting here as Pas de Deux is part enemies-to-lovers romance, part second chance, depending on whose point of view is playing. Addie has had a crush on Caitlyn since they were fourteen, unbeknownst to Caitlyn who thought Addie was a pest.
Much like Jude, I am always excited by the prospect of a new E.J. Noyes book. She is one of my favourite writers for a reason, and honestly, if she writes it, I’ll read it.
Firstly, I just want to mention that you could sense that Noyes has an affinity for horses by describing them and how she had the MC’s interact and show the horses, especially Dewey (Caitlyn’s horse), were loved. It was written so well that Dewey almost felt like a third MC.
E.J Noyes has a way of drawing her readers into the story, so you almost feel you are a part of it. I am not a sport in writing fan. Never really been my thing, although there are some exceptions to the rule. Pas De Deux? One hundred per cent exception. What a phenomenal world Noyes draws to us into. And without going into too much detail, Noyes still had me understanding every step of the Olympic journey.
I loved both Caitlyn and Addie from the get-go. I loved their openness and willingness to communicate (as Jude said, it’s not often seen in romance novels). But my star character was Addie. She really shone for me and I was always excited when she got page time. The relationship between Caitlyn and Addie is fraught in the beginning because of past hurts, but when they move past that to friendship then to more, you can see why they are soul mates.
Lastly, the epilogue was fantastic, I was a bubbling mess, and it just tied everything up in a neat little bow.
All the confused feelings Addie and Caitlyn had as teenagers wake up in a much more adult manner when they meet again. The chemistry between them is sweet and hot at the same time, with Addie trying not to get her hopes up too quickly and Caitlyn’s efforts to reconcile the girl she hated with the adorable woman she’s attracted to. Once they act on their attraction, the sex scenes are both steamy and realistic. Not everything is picture-perfect the first time and it only makes it better.
Something E.J Noyes knows how to write is chemistry. Even when Caitlyn hated Addie at the very beginning, you could sense the chemistry. When they finally hit the sheets, it was all-consuming, and their passion burned hard.
Abby Craden’s narration is wonderful as usual. One of the reasons why I love audiobooks is that of course, it’s a totally different experience but also, what catches my attention when I read and when I listen isn’t always the same. And while I loved this book when I read it, I completely rediscovered it in Abby Craden’s narration. And I’m not going to lie, the first night Addie and Caitlyn spend together registered in a whole new way when read by Craden. It’s true of many other scenes but that one blew me away.
I loved Addie’s smooth, honey-like voice. Caitlyn’s tension when she’s worried about Dewey or protecting her heart contrasts nicely with all the moments when she’s relaxed and happy. She gets bold with Addie when she feels safe and that boldness is reflected in her voice.
Another exceptional book by E.J. Noyes. We thoroughly recommend you grab your copy as soon as you can. You won’t regret it.