All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Captivation – Nicola Moriarty

on July 6, 2013

Nicola Moriarty
Random Romance
2013, eBook
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

Six months ago Juliette lost her beloved husband Danny. Since then, she has virtually become a recluse in their apartment, spending her days and nights baking, finding therapy in the mixing of ingredients. With a freezer full of goods, Juliette knows that she needs to find an outlet for the excess baking or something else to occupy her time.

In the apartment, Juliette feels a strange sense of being watched…a whisper of a touch. She believes that it is Danny, come back to her and the more she concentrates, the more real and powerful these feelings become. She is able to hear his voice, feel his touch. All of a sudden nothing is more important to Juliette than staying at home, in the apartment, devoting her every moment to reestablishing a connection with her husband that she thought was gone, lost to her forever.

Juliette abandons everything that doesn’t revolve around Danny – she neglects to eat, to perform simple tasks, to keep in touch with the few people that had persisted so far. She has sacrificed everything to feel something with her husband once again and she fails to notice just what toll this is taking upon her. She might have to realise that it’s time to break free and say goodbye to Danny forever, for the sake of her state of mind, her very life.

Captivation is a novella from Nicola Moriarty (author of Free-Falling and Paper Chains, both books that I loved) and it’s being marketed as a paranormal romance by Random Romance, Random House Australia’s digital only imprint. To be honest, this is a bit of a misleading classification because I don’t believe that this is strictly a romance and if read as one, might prove a fraction disappointing. However, if it’s read as an exploration of grief, loss and the passionate desire to want someone back in your life so much then it’s quite a clever piece of writing.

Writing about grief is I think, a difficult thing. It’s very hard to capture and explore the devastation of a loss of someone so important, be it a partner, parent or child. Everyone grieves differently and these are not necessarily characters readers like to identify with or easily imagine themselves as. Juliette is truly struggling without Danny, she has begun to leave the apartment less and less, the idea of going outside frightening her. Only a misunderstanding with her regular book order drives her to take those steps and she’s out of her comfort zone the entire time until she can scurry back into her apartment and close the door on the rest of the world. When she believes that Danny has come back to her, I do think that’s the easiest time to identify with her. Who wouldn’t want to believe that? That someone you loved dearly, who was ripped from you too soon, had returned and it was just the two of you, no one else, against the world? Juliette becomes almost manic in her desire to keep Danny with her any way that she can – she doesn’t ever leave the apartment, she stops baking, stops eating, stops doing anything but wallowing in the fact that she can hear him and feel his touch again. She spirals downward very quickly, especially when she comes to the conclusion that anyone interrupting their life together can weaken their connection, so she quickly comes up with the idea to take very drastic steps to fix that.

I think Nicola Moriarty really succeeds in portraying love and desperation with limited word count here and although I’m a skeptic and mostly queried if this was entirely in her head, there is a small part of me that does love a ghost love story! But as I said earlier, I’m not entirely sure that this one fits the bill – the relationship with ghost Danny, be it entirely paranormal and real or in her head is destructive and harms Juliette more than it helps her and because of this, it seems to have some sinister and manipulative overtones. For me there was a scene that redeemed this, that changed what looked like Danny’s overall motive and that was very well done. But I do think that for a romance imprint, this is a bit of a surprising choice, because people will go into it expecting one thing and end up getting something else entirely. I know I expected a very different ending to the one that came about, simply because I believed that the romance was going to be a much stronger part of the story. Instead the journey throughout grief, coming out the other side to some form of healing was the prevalent thread, the direction that Juliette needed to be going in.


Book #164 of 2013


Captivation is the 71st title read and reviewed for the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2013


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