After spending most of her young life held captive by an unstable and abusive father, Beatrix is finally free. She is free to live a normal life & do normal things, and forget everything that came before, starting over and building a new life in a new town & new country. That she doesn't quite know how to be normal is not going to stop her, she is going to fake it till she makes it and hope that no one ever learns of her messed up past. When her troubled brother goes missing, Beatrix finds an unlikely knight in a large, surly street-fighter named Serge. Serge is an inexplicably kind and soft-spoken giant of a man. He intervenes on Tommy's behalf and is always there to protect and rescue Beatrix. But Serge holds himself apart from Beatrix. Although clearly attracted and protective of her, Serge is baffled by Beatrix's interest in him.
In Never Loved, Stein brings together a young woman learning to be normal with a man who has never had that option. I found myself wanting to have Serge's POV instead of Beatrix's, which is the first time I have ever felt that way reading a Stein novel. The story as it was told was still very interesting but I found Serge's struggle to accept and see himself as worthy of Beatrix's desire more compelling. I did enjoy how enthusiastic Beatrix is about everything that Serge thinks should scare her away, from his rough appearance, his crazy hair stripes and his almost uncontrollable desire for her. By claiming Serge, Beatrix claims herself and her desires for the first time, inspiring her to build authentic relationships with other people.
I received a review copy of Never Loved from the publisher via NetGalley.