All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

A Terrible Love – Marata Eros

on November 8, 2013

A Terrible LoveA Terrible Love
Marata Eros
Gallery Books
2013, 261p
Copy courtesy of Simon & Schuster AUS

For the last two years, Jess Mackey has been living a lie. New name, new appearance, new location. She’s been on the run from something – someone terrible and now she thinks she can move ahead with a clean slate. She keeps to herself with just 1 or 2 friends, she goes to her classes and she doesn’t date.

Then her friend signs her up to audition for the Seattle Ballet. She has danced all her life although it’s been hard to keep up her dedication while she’s been living her new life. Although she doesn’t want any potential attention auditioning will bring she can’t deny that she loves dancing so much that she can’t resist trying out. However it has thrown into her path two men, both enigmatic, both of whom seem to want her and both of them could destroy her.

Devin Castile is dangerous. He’s got a reputation and he’s exactly the sort of guy that Jess should stay away from. But she can’t. Even though she’s supposed to be dating someone else, she finds herself drawn to ‘Cas’ who offers her only the physical. Jess is convinced that she can keep her emotions and her true personality under lock and key and she takes what Cas offers, regardless of the fact that she knows her walls are crumbling and she wants more from him.

Jess is about to discover that the danger has caught up with her and it’s going to put people she cares about in its crossfire, yet again. Has someone she trusted all along been the accomplice of a killer?

I’m in two minds about this book. On one hand, I think the idea of the story is really good and it had a huge amount of potential. Jess Mackey used to be Jewell McLeod until she was forced to flee her influential, political family because of the danger that was hanging over her head. She was fighting something she couldn’t win and she chose to run instead. She ended up in Seattle with a new identity, going to college and just trying to live her life without fear. Then these two different men, both good looking and both interested in her, albeit in apparently different ways come into her life and everything kind of goes pear shaped. Jess is out of her depth with both of them really, she’s inexperienced and she’s also fighting her inner demons. I think part of her wants to just let go and try and have a normal life: friends, a boyfriend, her beloved ballet, fun, etc. The other part of her, the part that wants to stay safe and hidden knows that if she has all these things, she’s going to let her guard down and if she gets found there’ll be severe repercussions for those she cares about.

However, there’s a serious lack in the execution here, for me. This book is very short, 261p and I don’t feel that the author takes enough time to flesh out Jess/Jewell’s past and really put us in her shoes, in her situation. The prologue is one scene that attempts to do this but there really should have been more, much more. It also skips over the fact that Jess/Jewell at 18, ran away from home and managed to get herself a new identity and get into college with that identity without actually telling the reader how she managed it. Those are the details that I like to know because it shows me that the author has really thought about her story and researched it and attempted to make it something believable for the reader, rather than just going ‘2 years later she now has this name and goes to this college’. Because I feel that most people wouldn’t have the first clue how to go about getting an underground new identity, especially one good enough to get you into a college on a full ride with scholarships. Jess’s family is wealthy but she can’t use her original high school transcripts with the name changed because she presumably went to a privileged, private school and wouldn’t qualify for the funding.

And there’s no getting around the fact that there’s just not enough interactions between Cas and Jess. For someone who is on the downlow, etc he has her up against the wall on their first meeting and if they weren’t interrupted, it probably would’ve gone all the way. They don’t really talk, yet they both seem to be under the impression that what they’re going through is so intense, so encompassing because they know each other so much. How? Although Cas kind of has an excuse for knowing Jess/Jewell and his background isn’t too hard to guess but Jess barely knows anything about him, not his age, his major at the college (ha), his likes, dislikes, etc. They have this apparent chemistry but the reader doesn’t really get enough time to see it or appreciate it because their interactions are so limited. I’d have loved to have seen more evidence of Cas apparently being torn, because it states at the end that he was (and I believe the companion novel, A Brutal Tenderness which is this book from Cas’s point of view might address this but my thoughts on companion novels are a different post entirely) but I would’ve loved to see more build up between Cas and Jess and really make Jess’s desire to remain anonymous really war with her desire to have a normal life. Instead everything felt really rushed and towards the end, more than a little bit incompetent and unorganised on Cas’s part.

5/10

Book #286 of 2013

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