Beckett Taylor is on a quest to be a better man, but his past seems to keep dogging him everywhere he goes. His rival, Rodolpho Vitullo, attempts to kidnap Eve Hartt, the love of Beckett's life, driving Beckett to search for answers as to why. What the old man finally tells him makes Beckett's blood run cold and leaves him in a race against time to put all the pieces of the puzzle together. In the meantime, while the city of Poughkeepsie and the people Beckett loves are being terrorized by Vitullo's henchmen, Beckett must resurrect his past life long enough to save them all, while trying to do things differently this time around. Nothing is more important to him than his city, and especially his family, and he's determined to keep them all safe and give them a happy ending, no matter what he has to do to get it.
Saving Poughkeepsie was an awesome wrap-up to the incredible Poughkeepsie Brotherhood series. I won't go so far as to say that I liked this book better than the first two in the series, but I will say that I liked it equally as well, but for different reasons. All of the books have been intense and action-packed, keeping me on the edge of my seat throughout. Oftentimes, darker, grittier stories like these are hit and miss with me, but this series has been phenomenal. Even when I didn't fully relate to the characters, in particular Beckett and Eve, there was always Blake, Livia, Cole, and Kyle, who I've related to much better, to pick up the slack. But in this book Beckett and Eve finally made it to that place where I feel like I fully get them. They also finally get their much-deserved HEA ending and redeem themselves into characters I have no trouble at all liking. It was so heartwarming to see Beckett using his ill-gotten gains to do good in the world and the way the brothers come together to make Poughkeepsie a better place for everyone was just the icing on the cake. So I ended up loving every minute I spent reading Saving Poughkeepsie.
In Poughkeepsie, Beckett was the criminal gangster, who ruled Poughkeepsie with an iron fist, using fear and intimidation to make the town a safe place for his brothers to live. Although his devotion to his brothers was extremely commendable, his life of crime left him a less-than-admirable character, more of an anti-hero. In Return to Poughkeepsie, we see Beckett trying to turn over a new leaf and go straight, but he ends up drawn back into his former world when his sister-in-law is kidnapped by a rival gangster who's trying to take over Beckett's former territory. While reading that book, I started to soften toward Beckett quite a bit, but I still felt like he had some work to do to earn my admiration. Well, now after reading Saving Poughkeepsie, I can say that he finally has it. I love how he uses his fortune earned from his former illegal activities to help those in need, and how he uses these kindnesses to engender loyalty in people rather than his former intimidation tactics. We also get to see a softer side of Beckett as he romances Eve into that HEA I talked about and as he comforts her over both a major loss and a major shock in her life. Beckett may have been a rough, tough bad guy in his former life but I love how he has a real soft spot for women, kids and animals, and how he can't stand to see anything bad happen to any of them. If he finds anyone who's bullying someone, he doesn't hesitate to step in. I loved the scene where he practically makes the owner of a dog who'd been chained to a tree most of its life pee his pants (OK, so maybe Beckett does still intimidate people on occasion, but now he's doing it for a good reason.:-)). As always, family is everything to Beckett. Even though his brothers are by choice and not blood, their bond is every bit as strong as blood if not stronger. He'd lay down his life for both of them and their families, which he proves in this book. He still has to get his hands a little dirty in order to take down his rival once and for all, but he does try to minimize the casualties and only kill those people who really deserve it.
Eve grows a lot in this book too. Her path has been similar to Beckett's, in that when we first met her in Poughkeepsie, she was working as Beckett's enforcer, trying to get close enough to the man himself to kill him for making her husband and unborn baby collateral damage in one of his crime sprees. Of course, she never expected to fall in love with him. Then in Return to Poughkeepsie, she too tried to go straight for a while, but when new gangsters moved into Beckett's old territory and were making things unsafe for his family, she was drawn back into her world of playing the undercover assassin. Now in Saving Poughkeepsie, she has also earned my respect by once and for all turning over a new leaf. After her devastating loss, we see her much more vulnerable than we ever have before, which made her even more relatable to me. It proved that she wasn't just a cold-hearted killer anymore. She also allows Beckett to romance her more and actually begins to think of a more normal future. Then a shocking revelation totally changes her life in a heartbeat, giving her the one thing she's always been missing. If memory serves, Eve only killed one person in this story, which is some kind of record for her, but IMHO, she had every right to that kill and she did it cleanly without much fanfare. I ended the book happy to see that she finally has the life that was stolen from her years before.
I love how so many of the people Beckett and Eve keep close to their hearts as family aren't actually related to them. While Blake, Livia, Cole, and Kyle's POVs don't dominate the story, they do get enough page time for the reader to see their continually developing HEAs. Blake and Livia are living a contented life of domestic bliss, while Cole and Kyle finally get to create a family of their own as the baby they were planning to adopt in the previous book is born. Cole also has a wonderful dream that he shares with his brothers, which I loved. While Beckett was away in the second book, Eve developed a bit of a romance with police officer Ryan Morales. In this book, Ryan is still pining for Eve, while Eve is trying to maintain a friends-only relationship with him. I was glad to see Ryan get his own HEA too. Livia's father still doesn't like Beckett, but by the end, even he has drawn a tentative truce between them. And also there are a few other surprise additions to the "family," including some lovely people who are unexpectedly drawn into the brothers' loving embrace as surrogate grandparents.
I only have two very small complaints about this story. The first is that throughout the series, I haven't really gotten Beckett and Eve's beat-each-other-up brand of sex, and even after turning the final page, I still can't say that I fully do. I understand that they're both tough, intense alphas, so I would expect their sex to be fairly rough, but what I don't quite get is how they literally will sometimes slap, punch, bruise, choke, and in one scene of this book, even draw blood. I don't quite know what to call it. It's not quite abusive, even though it sounds like it is, but it's not quite S&M either, because there are no safe words, aftercare, etc. But the one saving grace of these scenes is that Ms. Anastasia's writing style is such that she doesn't write out these love scenes in a great amount of detail, so I can basically overlook them for the most part. Also there are Blake, Livia, Cole, and Kyle, whose relationships and love scenes are much more normal for me to enjoy. The second thing is Eve's frozen ovary that becomes a major focal point of the story. I don't necessarily have a problem with that per se, because without it, there wouldn't have been much of a story. But what I did take a small issue with is the repeated implication that it was her only hope of having a biological child, which isn't entirely true. She still has one working ovary in her body for hormone regulation, and eggs could have potentially been harvested from it as well. This also made the initial harvesting and freezing of the other ovary unnecessary as well, but what the heck, I'll buy into the idea that it was done as some sort of backup measure. In any case, as you can tell from my five-star rating, neither of these things really detracted from my overall enjoyment of the story. They're just minor irritations in an otherwise great tale.
Overall, Saving Poughkeepsie was a wonderful way to end the series. The bond between these three brothers and what they would do for those whom they consider family is truly heartwarming. I love how they've taken their own broken lives, put them back together, and are now going to do so much good in the community and really make a difference in the lives of others. It's often the people who've been hurt the most in life, who can truly empathize with others and do life-changing things, and that's certainly what Beckett, Blake, and Cole are trying to do. Even though they only live in my imagination, I love these guys to pieces and have come to think of them as members of my own ever-growing romance family. Since the series prequel, Poughkeepsie Begins, was written after the three main books and was published after I started the series, I still have it to read for which I'm truly thankful. After that I'm really going to miss these guys.
Note: This book contains quite a bit of strong and/or crude language that may offend some readers. Also, it was very difficult for me to rate the sexual content. While the author doesn't seem to shy away from crudities, her love scenes tend to be on the shorter side and don't go into a lot of details nor do they employ much in the way of explicitly sensual language. However, Beckett and Eve's love scenes tend to get pretty rough, giving them a more erotic feel.
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