99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Dates Read: January 29 – February 2, 2019
Synopsis: Darcy Barrett has undertaken a global survey of men. She’s travelled the world, and can categorically say that no one measures up to Tom Valeska, whose only flaw is that Darcy’s twin brother Jamie saw him first and claimed him forever as his best friend. Despite Darcy’s best efforts, Tom’s off limits and loyal to her brother, 99%. That’s the problem with finding her dream man at age eight and peaking in her photography career at age twenty—ever since, she’s had to learn to settle for good enough.
When Darcy and Jamie inherit a tumble-down cottage from their grandmother, they’re left with strict instructions to bring it back to its former glory and sell the property. Darcy plans to be in an aisle seat halfway across the ocean as soon as the renovations start, but before she can cut and run, she finds a familiar face on her porch: house-flipper extraordinaire Tom’s arrived, he’s bearing power tools, and he’s single for the first time in almost a decade.
Suddenly Darcy’s considering sticking around to make sure her twin doesn’t ruin the cottage’s inherent magic with his penchant for grey and chrome. She’s definitely not staying because of her new business partner’s tight t-shirts, or that perfect face that’s inspiring her to pick up her camera again. Soon sparks are flying—and it’s not the faulty wiring. It turns out one percent of Tom’s heart might not be enough for Darcy anymore. This time around, she’s switching things up. She’s going to make Tom Valeska 99 percent hers.
This is a very introspective novel. Not much happened externally in terms of the plot, but internally, I felt really connected to both Darcy’s and Tom’s hearts and minds. That’s something Sally Thorne does so well: she pulls you in, making you feel as if you could reach inside the pages, pull the characters aside, and talk some sense into them. Overall, though, this story was missing something for me.
It’s obvious from the get-go that Darcy and Tom love each other, so we spend the majority of the novel waiting for them to realize that and reconcile whatever problems they’ve created prior to and during the course of the novel. The most glaring issue is that Darcy frequently leaves town and even country to escape her problems and fears, while Tom wants a white-picket-fence ideal. Naturally, they think they couldn’t work this out, when really, the reason Darcy left in the first place was because of her fear of burdening Tom and her family. Throw in Tom’s engagement to his girlfriend of eight years, and it couldn’t be any clearer to Darcy that a relationship between the two of them wouldn’t work. Until, of course, she learns that Tom and his fiancée have broken up. But then we circle back to the original problem of their being supposedly totally incompatible, despite what their years together have shown them.
While the premise of this love story is very nice, I felt that sometimes Tom’s romantic gestures toward Darcy didn’t quite fit. They seemed to be wedged in to make nice quotable moments, but they didn’t seem natural, even out of left field. That’s what I mean when I say it’s missing something. I’m not sure what that something is or how I would even fix it myself were this my story, but it just didn’t quite connect for me.
The part that I found surprisingly touching was the remodling of Darcy’s grandmother’s house. After my grandmother died in 2013, my family had to do the same thing — not quite as extensive, but we had to change the flooring, paint the walls, remove some bushes, repair little things here and there, and clear out the garage. While you’re taking care of something that so strikingly reflects someone you loved dearly for your entire life, you’re still erasing parts of it and altering it to be suitable for someone else. It’s a bittersweet experience, one that made me empathize with Darcy’s desire to preserve her grandmother’s essence. While buyers might not like an old fireplace in the middle of the room, it was her grandmother’s fireplace — that’s what mattered, not the bricks that comprised it.
I appreciated that Darcy’s heart condition was an actual condition and not just something thrown in to guide the plot along. Her unhealthy habits and lack of concern for her wellbeing so clearly reflected her mental state, and we as readers needed to have that doctor’s appointment at the end, lest it truly become a simple plot device.
Despite my small qualms about their relationship, Sally Thorne certainly has an enviable way with words, and she strings some wonderful and hilarious sentences together. I’d also like to go on the record to state that Jamie was a jerk. I couldn’t get past the first time we’re introduced to him in that phone conversation in which he said some horrible things to Darcy.
Also! That epilogue at the end for The Hating Game was super sweet. I’d missed Joshua and Lucy, and those last few pages brought them right back to me.
- Sometimes it’s a relief to hide your most honest thoughts right out in plain view. (Loc 404)
- “I am throwing myself at her feet. Every minute of every day. She just doesn’t notice.” (Loc 2198)
- A guy like that is strong in a way that’s deeper than muscle and bones, because he wears his softness on the outside. (Loc 2449)
- Boy hair and girl body. I’m sexy as hell. (Loc 3337)