STRUGGLE (BEAUTIFUL BOOK 1) by Lilliana Anderson

4 stars ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

This book was formally A Beautiful Struggle and the novella Too Close. Consequently this makes it a fairly long read, but it is well worth spending the time on, as it’s also a rather wonderful story.

Overall I had a very positive experience reading this and on reflection would say that I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I liked the initial scene setting, world building and getting to know the main players. However I’m going to be brutally honest and say that there was a part of this book that dragged for me. From about 35%-45% I just wasn’t quite feeling it, the pace felt slow and the story line a little repetitive. Then **POW** it really kicked up a gear and I found the Lilliana Anderson I know and love. I found the emotional turmoil, the heartache, the feelings that I had only caught passing moments of, until that point.

This is ‘sort of’ a love triangle, with Katrina torn between her BFF David and her work colleague Elliot. David is the one who she has loved for a very long time but who has already said no to any chance of a relationship. The one man who has always been there for her and can be relied upon, too special to risk losing. Elliot is the hot guy in the office, the one all the girls lust after, but work have a no relationships rule. Is a relationship worth risking their jobs for?

There are times when neither guy deserves Katrina, at one point I even felt as though she should give Connor a chance. They both have baggage that ends up hurting Katrina, leaving the question of who will get their act together first and give her the HEA she deserves?

Since this is an update and re-release of both A Beautiful Struggle and Too Close, I already know who the hero of Book #2 Forever is. Which gave me a heads up of what to expect in this, without actually giving away any spoilers for how this plot would play out. Now in some ways I thought she forgave her ‘forever’ guy a little too easily BUT the heart wants what the heart wants. (view spoiler in my GR review)

The entire story is from Katrina’s point of view, though the author writes with such emotion and passion, that it was very easy to understand how other characters are feeling too. I loved how my feelings towards ALL the main characters altered over the course of the book. There were times I liked them and other times I loathed them, but never did I not care about them – a sure sign of excellent writing.

Katrina very much felt like the young adult she was, sometimes she was naive or foolish, sometimes just down right careless but always believable and real. I sometimes forgot David was the same age, he occasionally felt older, however when I did remind myself of the facts it made his behaviour so much more understandable. Whilst a little older, Elliott was still somewhere between boy and man, evidenced by his lack of backbone where his father was involved. I have to say, normally NA isn’t my thing, the fact that I enjoyed this is further evidence of how good I find this author’s writing.

I loved how the Too Close gave us a deeper understanding of David. It also altered my perception of Struggle, though I’m still undecided on whether I would have preferred to read it first or not. I do recommend reading this book for NA fans, those who love a good emotional contemporary romance and fans of the author. It’s a cracking good read.

“Are you dating him?”
I’ve been best friends with David since the beginning of high school, and that question has been asked about us a lot. It’s like people can’t fathom how a super hot, charismatic guy can be just friends with an overly tall, boyish-figured girl. Wait. I think they probably can, because the next question is always a hopeful, “He’s single?”

David is always single. But, he’s never wanting. 

Girls throw themselves at his feet like he’s some kind of rockstar. But not me. No. I’m just his friend; a fact he likes to remind me of at every opportunity. 

And I’m OK with that—I think—because he’s right. Our friendship is too important. And honestly, I don’t want to be one of David’s girls. I see the way he uses them to meet his needs then casts them aside when his interest wanes. I’m not about that life. I want something more. 

Something I don’t think David is capable of giving me. 

That’s not to say I’m immune to his charms. I’ve never been immune. 

delight in the way his eyes twinkle when he smiles at me. 

relish in the way his voice ripples beneath my skin when we share a secret moment. 

And I love the way his fingers feel against my skin when we touch… 


Yes, I’ve always loved David. Problem is, David has never loved me. Not the way I want him to, anyway. 

So, what’s a girl to do? Pine and hope for something that will never come? Or suck it up and move on? 

I’m choosing to accept my reality and move on, a choice made easier when I start a new job and the hot AF junior solicitor shows an interest in me despite our office’s ‘No Dating’ policy. 

David should be happy for me. Elliot is the first guy I’ve felt a deep attraction to in years. Despite the secrecy needed, he seems like the perfect distraction from my troubles, the perfect solution to heal my heart. He even likes David and doesn’t make an issue about my best friend being a guy. 

But David isn’t happy. In fact, he’s downright angry over my new relationship. He says he’s worried I’ll get hurt again. But I don’t know, it feels bigger than that. It feels like I’m losing my best friend. Even though I’m playing by his rules. 

What am I supposed to do? While I’m torn with indecision, the choice could be made for me. And this time, I might lose everything… 

Katrina struggles with following her heart or following her mind in this gripping romantic drama featuring new and extended scenes from books A Beautiful Struggle and Too Close, republished as Struggle: Beautiful Series, one.