REVIEW TOUR: The Crush by Penelope Ward

Title: The Crush
Author: Penelope Ward
Genre: Standalone Contemporary Romance
Release Date: February 22, 2021

From New York Times bestselling author Penelope Ward, comes a new standalone, second-chance story of forbidden love…

It’s natural to want the one you can’t have. And for as long as I could remember, I’d secretly wanted my brother’s best friend, Jace.

He was six years older and always treated me like the sister he never had.

Fast forward a decade.

We were all in our twenties now. Jace had moved in with my brother, Nathan, and me to help us make ends meet after our parents died.

It was just the three of us—an odd family dynamic.

Living under our roof, Jace was as bossy and protective as ever.

But he certainly didn’t look at me like a sister anymore. That was what made things so complicated.

I was pretty much hot and bothered twenty-four-seven.

And he was torn.

The signs were subtle, at first. Like on movie night, I’d casually rest my leg against his, and he wouldn’t exactly shift away.

Still, I assumed he would never…go there.

Nathan would kill us.

The knowledge of that wasn’t enough to stop the inevitable, though.

Eventually our slow burn exploded.

But more than the physical attraction, we’d developed a strong connection.

We just couldn’t get caught, right?

That sounded simple.

Until it wasn’t.

This is a story of forbidden love, broken trust, and an unexpected second chance.


My Review

I don’t know what it is or why, but every time I read a Penelope Ward romance, I’m always caught off-guard by some aspect of the story line, a revelation or idea that’s presented that I never saw coming, at least not in the way it was presented, and that’s what makes every reading experience with Ward’s stories its own adventure because, as a reader, once you think you’ve read through the angst and dealt completely with the multitude of feelings, more happens to upend things. And I have to say that I like it because it keeps the plot from being predictable and playing out in an ordinary manner, but it also leaves me reeling at times because I need the hero and heroine to get their acts together and do what I need them to do to get their happily ever after, but it’s never that simple with one of Ward’s couples. 

Because the number of years that Farrah and Jace’s story spans, there are a handful of life-changing experiences that these two must deal with together as well as individually and because of that, there are many highs and lows involved in the time these two spend around each other and apart while still thinking of one another. It’s interesting to trace how both Farrah and Jace’s feelings ebb and flow given their age difference and the fact that Jace is Farrah’s brother’s best friend, since that very fact brings its own complications to an already awkward and frustrating situation. 

It’s fairly easy to trace when Farrah’s unrequited, secret crush on Jace turns into something tangible, partly because Farrah grows up and matures but also Jace seems more willing to take that risk because he can’t just ignore that he wants her, despite the fallout that could happen due to Nathan’s feelings about the two of them. Giving into their feelings did seem inevitable but it doesn’t mean that nothing else matters and that’s clear when individual decisions are made that upend more than one relationship. 

There’s a lot to sort out emotionally for both Farrah and Jace and even Nathan, and it’s that baggage that prompts moments of regret, frustration, and heartache, but, to me, those issues are worth enduring, worth fighting for because the way these two are together and how they make each other feel is something that many don’t get a chance to have, which means that despite the obstacles, they deserve their love to grow.  

I definitely needed the sweet and swoon worthy ending that Penelope Ward gives readers after my emotions were all over the place due to the time Farrah and Jace spent denying feelings as well as being apart, trying to move on and seemingly failing miserably at it. Proving that all they endured led them to where they ultimately wanted to always be. 

4 Poison Apples 


Penelope Ward is a New York Times, USA Today and #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling author of contemporary romance.

She grew up in Boston with five older brothers and spent most of her twenties as a television news anchor. Penelope resides in Rhode Island with her husband, son, and beautiful daughter with autism.

With over two million books sold, she is a 21-time New York Times bestseller and the author of over twenty novels. Her books have been translated into over a dozen languages and can be found in bookstores around the world.




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