What He Never Knew (What He Doesn’t Know Series Book 3) by Kandi Steiner


3 minute read


I tried to enjoy the story of Sarah and Reese with everything in my soul but the disconnection was too strong. The way Sarah was presented as a black woman bothered me. I didn’t like it at all. Sarah was presented as a black woman through the eyes of an open minded white woman – with empathy and without understanding. We’ll get into that later.

What He Never Knew by Kandi Steiner was one of the stories I looking forward to in 2019 but it fell short for me.

I’m not going to get too messy with this one. I think. I’m going to try to keep it pretty.

First a word from the author. . .

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I never learn my lesson.

And I always want what I can’t have.

When Sarah Henderson walks into my life, I tell myself she’s off limits. She’s my student, sixteen years younger than me, and my boss’s niece. It doesn’t matter that I see the same pain reflected in her eyes that I have in my own, or that the dead organ better known as my heart kicks to life when she’s around.

I’ve been here before, and I know how this ends.

It’s been two years since I fell for the last woman I knew I couldn’t have, the one with the ring on her finger that I chose to ignore.

Two years of trying to overcome that heartache when Sarah slides into my life.

Another woman I can’t have. Another woman I can’t stop myself from wanting.

I never learn my lesson, but with a constant reminder of how that last forbidden love burned, I think I’ve finally learned this one.

This time, I won’t chase what’s off limits.

This time, I’m staying away.

And I’ll keep telling myself that until I believe it.


Reese is a piano teacher at a local school, but also does private lessons, which is how he meets Sarah. He’s a bit older than our leading lady but she’s of legal age so it didn’t matter to me. Plus, I always up for a little taboo, it makes things interesting.

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Sarah is a broken down twenty-one year old woman who has recently gone through a very emotional trauma, which has stained her place and view of the world. I’m not going to say much about her specifically as I’ve never faced the challenges she has, so I can’t state how I would deal with it all.

I was excited about What He Never Knew by Kandi Steiner as the previous two books in this story were so beautiful to me, but I was pretty let down with this one. I felt like I was reading a story with two different men. There was the Reese from the first two books who was so lovable and the Reese from this book was weak and whiny. I hate whiny men. It’s a huge turn off. I’m not you mother, I’m your woman so stop crying over spilled milk.

I’m not saying a man can’t cry or have feelings, I’m saying that a man shouldn’t act like a teenage boy going through puberty. That’s what he reminded me of. I have thirteen year old who’s overly emotional and that’s okay, he’s a child. I just can’t deal with that kind of behavior in an adult male or female.

Obviously, as this is a romance story, Reese and Sarah eventually join their private bits and things get complicated. That where 85% of my enjoyment was but it wasn’t for long in the book.

I knew I was supposed to have deep emotions while reading this book but I just couldn’t. I tried. I really, really did.

Why couldn’t I connect with this  book?

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My problem is that racial issues were brought up which is fine by me but if you are going to go there, do it properly. You can’t half ass it and call it a day. You have to commit to it or let it go. Don’t write from the view of a white person looking in on the black experience. If you are going to tackle the challenge of writing as if you were black, you have to dig deep. You have to know the struggle deep, deep down, like it a part of your core, a part of who you are.

I believe that authors should write stories about whatever they want regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or whatever without feeling restricted. The only thing that I ask is if you are going to address social injustices, do so with research and be accurate. Don’t write what you see as oppression, write the oppression by the person who lives it. I don’t want the watered down version. I want the nitty, gritty. Get in there and make it real.

My favorite books by Kandi Steiner is, A Love Letter To Whiskey, which is about an interracial couple, so I know she can do better – I’ve read it. I’ve read better from her. She has it in her, I know it but it didn’t show in this story.

White Privilege Meme

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As a black woman who has been married to a white man for 13 years, I am well versed in this situation. I don’t like being misrepresented. I felt misrepresented.


“You look like a dark queen, here to seduce us with your magic and eat us all alive.” –Reese

NEVER call a black woman a dark queen, even if you think it’s a compliment because it’s not. We don’t like it. Are we queens – YES! There is no need to point out our complexion.

Now, it’s time to answer the most important questions. . .


Do I recommend this book? No. That is so hard for me to say about one of her books too. I can’t in good conscious recommend a book what shares a black woman experience inaccurately to me.

Will I read another book by Kandi Steiner? Yes. Just because she wrote one book that I didn’t like doesn’t take away all of the others I’ve enjoyed very much.

I hope I didn’t get too messy!

TTYL, lovers. . .

Remember to follow all things messy. . .

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Hey there! I'm Danielle! I just a girl who loves books. I love books so much that I talk about the stories like they are real. Who knows? Maybe, they are real to me. I do love the book world, it's way better than reality. . .sometimes. . .because. . .I'm also a proud mama bear, wife, and mother!

2 thoughts on “What He Never Knew (What He Doesn’t Know Series Book 3) by Kandi Steiner

  1. I don’t think I could say it better myself. I agree that authors should be free to write about anything they want, but make the experience, for us readers, as authentic as possible. As a black woman, if you’re going to give me something about the black experience, give me something that I can actually relate to. Not something that will anger me or point out the white privilege that is prevalent around me. Make it burn. Make me seethe. Make me rally. Make me FEEL!! Or just don’t bother.

    Love you for your honesty, babe.
    xo – Natalie

    1. Exactly! I’ve read books written by white authors from a black person’s POV and they did a great job. This book is not the case. If she didn’t bring up racial injustices in the book I may have liked it better. I just hate when white authors write what they think we feel or when they leave out the fact that certain will have us feel a certain way they can’t understand. That is one of the biggest disconnects between majorities and minorities.

      One of the things that killed me was how the main female shaved her head bald and her Haitian mother was okay with that. When you can find me one Haitian mother who would allow that to happen let me know because I sure don’t know one. Our hair is a big thing within the community. You just don’t go shaving your head and nobody makes you tell them why. Maybe a fade or a TWA but not bald.

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