As a debut novel, Heather Bentley surprised me with her ability to plot a story. While the order of scenes as well as the timeline confused me a bit, the story itself was quite beautiful. Christina as an heiress, who learned how to value the important aspects of life, is a gracious female lead with a strength that could render many surprised. As a child who experienced tragedy, hate, and loneliness she managed to grow into a women who understood the precious gift of kindness. Despite going through life as an outcast within her family, and a prisoner in a world full of excess, she manages to be humble and sweet.
Christina is the kind of character who I could find a friend in, and I like that it was easy to relate with her. For all of her mistrust, and for all of her anxiety, she was lovely. Not knowing love, not believing she was meant to be loved, made her finding CJ that much more enjoyable to read. CJ was a breath of fresh air. I was drawn to him from the beginning. He was never cocky in an obnoxious way, but confident in a collected manner. I could picture him perfectly, and imagine him with little effort. These two had perfect chemistry as well. It as subtle when necessary and explosive at the right time. They were the perfect couple, most of the time, anyways. After all, there has to be drama!
The secondary characters were a hit as well. I never liked Becca to begin with, and her purpose ultimately left me reeling with shock and disgust. I absolutely loathed Christina’s father and grandmother, and by the end of book I was thankful to indulge in the sick satisfaction that was their comeuppance. As for Max, I just adored him and his unyielding love for Christina. Alex and Anna were sweet, and Alex ended up being a lovely surprise as his appearances increased.
As for the children, especially Thomas, my heart broke with the beauty and heartbreak of this aspect of the story. I actually had to put the book down for a few minutes because my eyes were blurring with loads of tears being shed. The author did a fabulous job at capturing emotion throughout the story, and I appreciated how real it was to me when it needed to be. Being able to capture feelings and stow them in the pages is a gift, and she has it.
This book made me laugh and cry. It frustrated me, and pissed me off at times too. The plot was filled with deceit, trickery, love, and hate and yet I enjoyed every minute of it. Some lies were horrible and cruel. Some were born from fear or necessity. Some were even pointless and a testament to why it’s easier to just be honest with oneself. I think Heather Bentley is talented, and I’ll look forward to her second novel. This book was certainly worth the time it took to read. Thanks Heather!
**Book provided by Author**