When I first picked up this book and started reading it, it made me intensely angry.
The injustice of what the main protagonist, Grace, has to go through was incredibly frustrating. Plus the fact that she didn’t fight back more was even more so, though it is explained very clearly through out the plot why she doesn’t. The fact that this got such a strong emotional response from me even just from reading the first chapter shows you what a good narrative it was.
Without giving too much away, through out the entire novel you can’t help but feel Grace’s despair as each attempt she makes to get her own way fails. I disliked Jack’s character the moment we are introduced to him – even within the first chapter that is meant to portray their life as the perfect marriage, I wasn’t convinced. Though as you get further in to the novel you realise you weren’t meant to be.
I felt that the plot subject was a very important one: domestic abuse does not only consist of physical abuse. Mental abuse is equally as problematic as a form of domestic abuse, and some women don’t seem to realise they are being abused because this abuse isn’t physical. I love that B A Paris has written a novel entirely around this subject. So although at points some of the plot seemed a bit far fetched, Grace’s story was one that needed to be told. The injustice of it made it even more gripping.
As much as I loved the novel, the sections set in the past to show the back story as to how Grace and Jack ended up together were very irritating. Mainly the fact that he manipulates her into giving up her job, saying they’ll never see each other once they’re married if she’s working too – why should someone have to give up their job to be with someone? Also the fact that Jack complains they rarely see each other enough before they get married is another reason that he would like her to be free for when it suits him greatly irritated me. Every relationship involves sacrifices, yes – but if you can’t make it work as you are before you decide to marry each other, how do you expect it to magically work once you are married? This might have more to do with the fact that I have always been brought up being taught that you should always be able to support yourself and never rely on anyone for money or such things, but this sent massive alarm bells ringing in my head. The only other thing that annoyed me about this past section was the fact she readily agreed to marry someone who she had known for a grand total of three months or so, and supposedly hadn’t had enough time to be intimate with or even really get to know properly. In today’s society I find it very hard to believe someone would be so naive as to go along with this. Though these points are very picky, and more to do with the fact I would never let someone manipulate me like this, the novel wouldn’t have worked without this premise.
I really loved the ending – the last few sentences were so juicy once the plot had come to it’s conclusion. Overall I did find the novel very frustrating, but this was because I found it easy to sympathise with Grace. Plus at points some of it did seem very far fetched – there were moments when I thought “No, you could have done this instead,” but there weren’t so many of these moments that they became glaringly obvious and ruined the over all feel of the novel. Once I had gotten over my irritation at Grace’s injustice, it was very easy to consume the rest of the novel. Particularly where we got to see more of Grace’s fighting spirit in the end – it definitely got harder to put down at this point.
Trust me, the twist to the abusive relationship will keep you hooked to find out what happens. I’d give it a 4/5.