Top critical review
Reviewed in the United States on September 27, 2021
The plot is based on taking control from the heroine and placing her in a situation outside her coping skills to deliberately create crisis so she can be easily manipulated into accepting gaslighting and develop Stockholm syndrome while the lying con artist pretends it’s for her own good and the completion of her brainwashing is the HEA. I would rather throw up than read this book ever again.
In real life, terminating someone’s only social support and isolating them from it purposefully reduces their resilience and decreases their available coping skills. Then, taking control from that same person (control over her bodily functions and whether or not she gets touched without her consent) in a situation outside their coping skills (losing the single remaining family member to ostensible kidnapping) creates a crisis and sets them up for trauma and PTSD. People will resolve a crisis in 48 hours to avoid the mental trauma and this plot goes on and on for weeks, during which time the characters alter the heroine’s sense of time, reality, and safety, which sets her up to experience more trauma.
Then, the author has the audacity to shame the heroine for previous beliefs that they other characters are abusive after they contribute to deceiving her about the kidnapping, engage in mental assault (forced sleep), emotional coercion ( magical chains), and implied threats (deals she is coerced to make to protect her sister). The whole story line is a disgusting, horrific example of emotional abuse. Pretending the heroine is bigoted when she is the one being emotionally abused and deceived by the people that conned her out of an honest family relationship, who she rightfully believes are kidnapping deceivers who steal, is gaslighting. They stole the heroine’s knowledge of the truth. They stole her control over her own body. They stole her peace of mind and the time she invested in an unnecessary journey. Then, they stole her freedom by locking her in a role she didn’t choose, forcing her to remain in fairyland to deal with the consequences of their actions. So, they deceived the heroine, stole from her, and ultimately kidnapped her into this final role as a result her choosing to retain her free will. Clearly the heroine’s original beliefs were correct.
Further, the characters pretend all the sellers are all just “children” and try to shame the heroine for believing they are deceitful thieves. The boy running off with her sister was selling items and he clearly was not a little child, so obviously someone is lying. Also, he worked with the sister to deceive the heroine about his relationship with her sister and their plans together by making the sister’s disappearance appear to be a kidnapping. Both assumed they couldn’t tell the heroine the truth and never gave her a chance and to get to know him. They never apologize for their own preconceived but unproven judgments.
Further, the sister runs off just desperate to find out more about her missing parents, and this search never actually takes place. It appears her interest is really in the boy, not her parents, so she also lied. Instead of telling the truth and giving the heroine a chance to meet the boy she has spoken with for years, the sister takes part in an elaborate deceit scheme because she’s too cowardly to tell the truth and never apologizes. However, the reader is supposed to believe the heroine, whose beliefs are proven by her own experience, is the narrow minded bigot who needs to change and the lying, cowardly, deceitful sister is the open minded one who gives others a chance. The irony that the sister doesn’t give the heroine a chance makes it difficult for me to accept the theme the author is presenting as a valid one.
The message of the book seems to be, “If someone has strong beliefs I don’t like and I’m too scared to share my point of view or present evidence to see if they change their mind, then it’s okay to deceive them, emotionally abuse them, shame them for valid beliefs that I prove are true by my behavior, and then take advantage of the crisis I put them in (by isolating them from their social support network and taking control of their body and coercing them with fear or intimidation tactics) so I can gaslight them into believing they are wrong through manipulation.” I really don’t like this message. I think it’s short-sighted, cruel, and supports unhealthy ways to interact with other people.
I do not recommend this book.