This is the third book in the If I Can’t Have You series by Mary B. Morrison and, unfortunately, it is the final in the series. I have so many thoughts about this book that I don’t know where to start, so I’ll start with the synopsis.
Sindy Singleton isn’t about to lose Chicago DuBois to Madison again. But getting him to open his heart once more won’t be enough to satisfy her. Enlisting the help of Chicago’s worst enemy is the fastest way she knows to expose Madison’s most brazen deception yet. But Madison has more than one devastating card to play…
If there’s one thing Madison has learned from her disastrous bet, it’s how to turn catastrophe into opportunity. Playing on Chicago’s fatherly instincts will maintain her access to the DuBois fortune—and keep her family’s empire successful. And to get back on top, Madison’s got the perfect scheme to finally take care of her ex-lover, her rivals, and the husband she’ll never let go…
I wasn’t sure that I would read this book after reading the first two books in the set, but I decided to go ahead and give myself some closure. I’ll say that closure was not what I received after finishing this book. Where do I start?
Madison is manipulative and ruthless, but as big of a believer in karma as I am, even I felt that some of the things Madison went through at the hands of Chicago’s mistress Sindy and life in general was a bit too much. I was hoping that at least once out of all of the scheming and lying that Madison would win at least once, but, alas, she didn’t.
Sindy was outright irritating to me. She created a persona for herself that she was pure and innocent, when that couldn’t be farther from the truth. What was more irritating was how clueless Chicago was to all of it. Even when Chicago had the truth revealed to him about several situations he still blew my mind and did the dumbest things! At the end of the day, he was caught in this triangle between Madison and Sindy because they were all looking for love. Unfortunately for Madison, her revelation of her need for love was a day late and a dollar short.
There were several sub-plots going on that didn’t fully hold my attention, especially since the focus of the book was on Sindy and her determination to best Madison. Honestly, I don’t feel that either woman truly loved the man as much as their respective need to conquer and have him.
Much of the over the top drama held my interest and kept me entertained. However, this is another one of those books that you can’t think too hard about while you’re reading it, otherwise it’ll lose its entertainment factor. I didn’t care to know about Sindy’s additional family, especially since they had nothing to offer to the story. Madison’s friends, who were main characters in the first two books, had practically disappeared in this book, which didn’t bother me much because I didn’t miss them. The character of Granville actually gained a lot of sympathy from me in this installment despite his past sins from the previous novels. I was pleased with how his story ended.
My biggest dissatisfaction came with the ending to the overall series and I’m praying that the author changes her mind and decides to write a part four. Without revealing too many details, the ending is what you would least expect and is bound to leave you unhappy. The author wrote in the acknowledgments that she wouldn’t leave this series with a cliffhanger, but that’s exactly what she did! There were so many loose ends that left my head spinning. It’s one thing to leave a few things to the readers’ imaginations. It is something totally different to just leave them hanging completely. As smart and manipulative as Madison was, why did she make some of the choices that she made? Why was she so easily outdone by Sindy? Was it because Madison had been humbled by the cancer from the previous installment and her new single motherhood (I can attest to the fact that single motherhood can humble a person something serious)? Why does Madison receive such a hefty dose of karma, but Sindy practically gets away with murder? Was Chicago really that dumb? What was the purpose in including Chicago’s brother in this installment? Why bring up Sindy’s family if there wasn’t going to be anything significant revealed about them? Why, oh why, did the author write such a crappy ending?
See what I mean? Once you start thinking too much you lose track of the good parts that kept you interested enough to finish the book. Mary B. Morrison’s books tend to be hit or miss with me. I continue reading her work even at the risk of knowing I’ll be disappointed because I know there have been a couple of books of hers that I really enjoyed. This book was one that I enjoyed until I got to the last few chapters, which ruined the book as a whole for me. All in all, I give it a 2.5 out of 5 stars.
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