If you've noticed, I've reviewed several books published by Thomas & Mercer and for the most part, I've had very good experiences with their books. And no, I'm not being sponsored by them or anything. I just happened to request several of their books and really enjoyed them. The only book I didn't enjoy as much was Almost Dead.
Publication Date: February 24, 2015
Jo Atkins' life was turned upside down when she was 16. She never thought anything could be as bad, or worse than that. Now, recently divorced and venturing into the dating scene again, Jo meets Claudio, whom she vaguely remembers from her childhood. But after a few dates, she decides he is creepy and politely tells him that nothing would happen.
Then she wakes up sick and handcuffed to her bed. Claudio, as it turns out, has no intention of letting her go. And Jo has a week to prove that she loves Claudio, or die.
I seem to have quite the track record for forgetting what a book is about before I read it. Sometimes, that doesn't really work out and I end up disliking the book, but in cases like this, I ended up enjoying the book even more.
I think the plot is what intrigued me the most, because I often wonder how someone could ever believe that forcing someone to love them is even a possibility. I know that in cases of Stockholm syndrome, the captive develops an attachment to the captor, but even that doesn't always result in a romantic attachment. Yet somehow, certain people can come to the point where they believe that if they hold someone captive long enough, their captive will love them.
There were several elements in the book that I quite enjoyed, including how it was written and how the premise for the story was set up. The method was quite unique, and I don't believe I've ever seen it before in other books.
For the most part, I did really like the plot and the characters, both of which I found really interesting. But as I got further along, there was one particular aspect of the book that I strongly disagreed with and disapproved of, thus making me like the book less. However, I do have to say that the author, Louise Voss, did a really good job of making her character come to terms with that particular aspect of the book.
Usually, I'm a stickler about sex scenes in books, or anything sexual really, but that wasn't really the case here. I still wasn't very comfortable with it, but I understood that it was all part of the bigger plot and that it did actually play a huge part in what Jo's life would eventually be like and how she made her decisions.
I was slightly conflicted between feeling sorry for Jo and being upset with her. I felt sorry that she had been held hostage by Claudio and that she was being forced to fall in love with him, or face death. But I was also upset with her for a particular decision she made, which bothered me so much throughout the book. And yet I have to commend her for what she is willing to do in order to see her daughter again and hopefully build a better life and future for herself and her daughter.
Claudio was a character that I felt very little for. I didn't feel like he had a reason to hold Jo captive, nor did he give any reasoning as to why he loved her in the first place. I actually wish that was elaborated on a bit more. I would've loved to understand why he loved her in the first place. His personality and mental state also seemed to suggest that while he loved control, there was a strong mix of indecisiveness and lack of planning to his actions. That was demonstrated several times throughout the book, but really stood out to me as it shows that he really wasn't capable of doing something like that sooner, he needed to wait for a chance situation that he could take advantage of. In the end, I was more interested in the mental and psychological aspects of his character than anything else about him.
4 stars! And like almost any other book I've read by Thomas & Mercer, I do recommend this! I think it's a great book to pick up, seeing as I managed to read most of this in one day. Definitely give this a shot if you're looking for something slightly different, but with an interesting element to it.
Thank you to NetGalley for hosting this and thank you to Thomas & Mercer for putting this up on NetGalley and approving my request to read this.
SPOILER SECTIONS *DO NOT READ UNLESS YOU HAVE READ THE BOOK OR WANT TO BE SPOILED*
I needed to put this section here because I needed to address the cheating aspect of this book. Yes, this is the aspect that I disliked about the book and also Jo's decision that I strongly disagreed with. I very strongly disliked how cheating was a part of the story and that it was made to seem like a casual thing. To quote Jo, "Everybody knows that marriages break up all the time." Somehow, that was supposed to make cheating okay. And yes, there was the whole I-didn't-sleep-with-him-until-I-got-divorced-so-it's-not-actually-cheating thing, but that doesn't justify lusting after another man and doing so with the full knowledge that you would end up cheating on your husband. Cheating is cheating, it doesn't matter whether you've had sex with them or not. If you've made a commitment and you're flirting around with someone else, you've already cheated.
In the end though, I'm glad that it was resolved and that Jo did come around to realizing that her decision to cheat was wrong and bad and that she had taken for granted what she had. But that being said, I'm still not very pleased or comfortable with the cheating aspect of the book.