Book Review: The Education of Sebastian/The Education of Caroline by Jane Harvey-Berrick

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Title: The Education of Sebastian/The Education of Caroline
Author: Jane Harvey-Berrick @jharveyberrick
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 904 pages
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis

The Education of Sebastian

Trapped in a loveless marriage, thirty year old Caroline Wilson moves to San Diego after her military husband earns a promotion. Feeling lost and alone Caroline strikes up a friendship with young local surfer Sebastian Hunter.

Sebastian has more than friendship on his mind when he runs into Caroline on the beach. But when sparks fly friendship turns into an illicit love that threatens them both.

The Education of Caroline

Now a successful journalist, Caroline heads out to report from the front lines of the war in Afghanistan. Love is the last thing on her mind when she crosses paths with Chief Sebastian Hunter.

Will this chance encounter reignite the erotic passion of their past?

Grace Review
BOOK ONE
Back in 2014, when I saw the synopsis for this series, I immediately one-clicked.

An affair ✓
An older woman and younger man.✓

It’s the ultimate forbidden romance.  Yes please!  And then somehow, these books got buried on my kindle.

If you didn’t see my FB post, I somehow managed to clear my reading schedule, signing up for very few ARCs over the next month.  What was the first book I chose in my massive TBR list?  This one, obviously.

The relationship between Caroline (Caro) and Sebastian is so different from the previous books I’ve read.  Especially given their age difference – she’s 13 years older!  AND, there’s the big elephant in the room, as he is underage.

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This underage element adds a unique dynamic to the story, since by being with Sebastian, Caro is breaking the law.

What I found most surprising was how easy it was to get behind this couple, even with the cheating and statatory rape factor.  A sign of a good writer.  Based on their awful separate homelives, it is obvious why they are both so desperate for affections.

    • Caro’s husband David is a complete jackass, who bosses her around and treats her like the help.
    • Sebastian’s parents are emotionally and physically abusive.

It’s on Caro’s return to San Diego with David, that she runs into Sebastian, the young boy she befriended, who has now grown up to a sexy teenager.  Their relationship, which starts off as friendship, escalates due to Sebastian’s persistence.  I wondered what it would take for Caro to simply give in, and I was surprised how little it took.

Pandora’s Box had been opened, and it was proving very hard to keep the lid closed.

The passion between these two is undeniable.  One kiss, one touch, and they can’t seem to control themselves.  Even with everything at stake.  And they take A LOT of risks – in locker rooms, cars, on the beach, in her own bed.  I’ve read a lot of smut, but the forbidden element of their relationship made everything seem that more shocking.

We got through a whole box of condoms? No wonder my legs felt like I’d never be able to cross them again. Yes, well used—that was the sensation.

Sebastian makes Caro take chances which could ruin her.  While his intense recklessness seemed fitting given his age, I was surprised by his maturity at times with Caro.  He essentially wakes her up from a loveless marriage and she finds new life in his arms.

“It’s always been you, Caro.”

The two have a bit of a countdown, until Sebastian turns of age and they can start new lives together.  But I always knew there was a chance that their time would run out.  What does take place is sad for everyone involved, and it leaves us with a cliffhanger.  But thankfully, this book set is complete, so on to the next book . . .

BOOK TWO
For as sweet and loving Sebastian was in book 1, it was surprising how angry and bitter he was in book 2.  Ok, I get some of the anger, based on the years that separate the two books.  But I felt like he dragged out that anger too long.  If he couldn’t forgive Caro, he needed to move on.  And she tells him just that.  With a second chance love story, forgiveness needs to happend.  Sebastian seemed to forget that part for a while.

“If you hate me that much, if you resent me that much, why am I here?”

This story felt like it had 3 parts.

1. The reconnection, as the two tour thru Italy.  Nevermind that they are in my favorite country.  This part is what will make you fall in love with Sebastian all over again. *sigh*

“I admit it all: you’re an animal in bed, and I will never, ever question your virility again.” He laughed softly. “You can question it as often as you like, baby, because that just means I have to prove it to you.”

2. The war in Afghanistan.  I’ve read a number of military romances, but nothing like this, where both the H and h were at risk.  I have no military background, but I think the author did a great job with this part.  From the lack of bathing, quality of food, and the danger everyone faced, it all felt so real.  It is also a HUGE turning point in the story.  David, Caro’s ex husband also makes an appearance, and he will shock you, in a good way.

3. A new life in New York.  In book one, Sebastian and Caro’s plans always centered on New York.  But once they get there together, it’s far from sunshine and roses.  While Sebastian frustrated me, I loved Caro’s patience with him.  And I liked how things got better slowly, not overnight (although one specific thing triggers recovery).

Sebastian and Caro’s love story is one for the ages.  Their commitment, support and love for each other is boundless. They educate one another sexually and emerse themselves in culture.  Their story had a ton of obstacles, but they have proved, nothing can keep them aprat.

“Ti amo tanto, Sebastian.” He smiled softly. “Sempre e per sempre.”

Final note: It’s worth mentioning the value of this box set.  Did you see the page count?!  That includes both books, multiple epilogues, and bonus chapters.  A virtual cornucopia for fans of this series, or even newcomers.  At the time of this post, this set is only $3.99, a HUGE steal in my mind.  If you are looking for a forbidden, passionate love story, look no further.

– Grace

Amazon US – Amazon UK

Goodreads

Sebastian’s POV releases on 11/10. This book is a must for all fans of this couple AND because the sales support 2 great charities – the military charities Felix Fund (UK) and EOD Warrior Foundation (USA)

Preorder links:
Amazon US – Amazon UK

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Comments

  1. Thank you sooooo much! What an amazing review! I hope you enjoy SEMPER FI as much, and that final FINAL bonus chapter!!

    jx

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