Top positive review
Romance mixed with violent crimes toward women
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on October 28, 2022
This book captures the flavor of 80’s romance bodice-rippers with lavish metaphors at times, but with more modern consent thrown in, some profanity, a remembered gang-rape scene and murder from the war, and a brief mention of burnt family members’ bodies found after soldiers passed through. There are moments of peril, physical brawling, and generally described passionate love scenes. Secondary characters get shot and die. If a reader is not triggered or put off by these issues, then the story is engaging and intensely immersive at times—like a rated R movie.
The female protagonist starts as a somewhat shallow and naive widow looking for a good time but becomes rather wise and patient, knows what she wants, and has a healthy view of life and her goals by the end of the story. She has a believable character arc and has a direct approach to achieving her goals. Her reactions to love-making are quite realistically described. The use of ‘lake-blue’ to describe her eyes is overdone.
The male character is believable until he shares his traumatic memories. Then his character, in hind sight, doesn’t seem quite right to me. If he had such a terrible experience in the war, I question whether he would be sexually active at all. His sobbing confession doesn’t ring true when it’s revealed he’s already shared the details with a past lover. Also, if he’s such a survivor, how is it that he’s such a sorry fighter toward the end of the book? And why wouldn’t he act more spy-like and take out his home intruder instead of fleeing? Why wouldn’t he have more assassin-type skills?
There is a scattering of errors in the writing, but they do not distract from the story too much. There are vivid scenes in the book, but some are more vague. The final kidnapping scene lacks clear details…how could someone sneak up on the characters and haul them off without others seeing? While the characters are hiding out, wouldn’t folks notice Mary’s highbrow language skills?
In spite of these areas that could be improved, the story is engrossing. At times, the description is lovely and memorable. It ends at the 94% point with an HEA.