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5.0 out of 5 starsLike a Train Wreck--You Get Frozen In It Quickly
Reviewed in the United States on October 24, 2014
Manipulative, absolutely! This book will grab your attention by the raw descriptions, the scenes depicted in minute detail. Not my usual read--I don't usually continue a book littered with the F-bomb and graphic sex loses me just as quickly. That said, this book is absolutely compelling and will quickly sweep you into the story until you wrap up the climax and bring the whole narrative to a somewhat satisfying finale. It can't really be over because the story lingers and the main character's PTSD can't go away quickly or quietly on it's own--it comes back to haunt. James Whren is beautiful, talented, and comes from English aristocracy--but it's the money and power behind his father that leads him into more hell than he's ever imagined. The talent has come at the sacrifice of those who would love him and completely rules his life until his half-brother dies of an over-dose leaving him an unwilling heir and at severe odds with his estranged father. He manages to escape the unfortunate torturous incarceration his father wrought upon him in extreme circumstances that force him to escape to the Greek island of Corfu where he meets a recent widow, Elizabeth and her son, Cameron. Fighting horrendous flash-backs, he eventually finds semblance of salvation in Elizabeth. A taut psychological romantic thriller, the struggle back to normalcy is a rough one. Like a fantastic concert lacking appropriate costumes, you can overlook typos or grammatical errors in your rush to see what will happen next. This book was downloaded as a free offering and would recommend to any who enjoy a good thriller; psychological, romantic, or otherwise.
4.0 out of 5 starsReverb Echoes With Life and Love
Reviewed in the United States on August 13, 2011
I wasn't sure quite what to expect from this book, premise sounded intriguing but different. But once I started the book it wasn't easy to put down or forget--I found myself thinking about it while doing other things. James Whren made that much of an impact on me. There were parts of the book that made me stop and realize how beautifully written it was and how complete and realistic the main characters were.
James, through various losses, has found solace in music and it's been his way of protecting himself--disconnecting from messy life and hiding in the sheer genius of his music. Music is where his emotions run free and where he's safe. When he's betrayed on a very basic level and by someone he didn't expect it from, everything he is or thinks he is has been ripped away leaving him raw and damaged. Music is no longer a solace.
I wouldn't classify Reverb as a thriller. You know something horrible has happened to James and he is on the run. You're captured by the sense of danger he feels but the pace is a bit slower than a thriller and without a thriller's kick ass action with the danger. This is a very well written suspense. The suspense is figuring out what happened to James, the danger he's facing, and why he's on the run. That aspect of the story is well developed and once you have a picture of the danger you're invested emotionally and don't want to see him captured. You also feel the increase of tension as the story unfurls. Well done.
The joy of this story is in the growing relationship between James and Elizabeth and her young son, Cam. Of seeing James growing, healing, and dealing with the reverb or echoes of his past. It's redemption, forgiveness, connection, and like the phoenix rising from the ashes, rebuilding a life based on the strength of love.
This is very much a character (even the secondary characters) driven story and I genuinely liked Elizabeth and James. It is James' story and it touched a range of emotions in me as I got to know him. The author skillfully puts you inside his head and heart and you see the arc of his journey. She gives you time to get to know Elizabeth through well developed dialogue and actions which draws you to see what happens next.
There are some unexpected twists and with all good stories love wins but it's not without cost.
4.0 out of 5 starsI didn't think I'd like this. But I did.
Reviewed in the United States on October 26, 2014
I didn't think I'd like this. I like mysteries. This was different. And it started like a British mystery. Usually, they have complicated characters, and take a long time to get going. So, when this started, I thought, "Oh, no!" Worse, the hero is pretty (male, women fall at his feet, rich, super talented, and he's trying to kill himself.) I thought, "Yeah, pal, try being invisible to women and work for a living if you think you have problems." But, soon I couldn't put it down. It went from first to third party and back. He's on the run from the cops, he escaped from a mental institution. Typical pretty boy, No?
I read until 5 am, often with tears in my eyes. He found real love after breaking many hearts. It was disturbing, and hard to put down.
I was shocked to see the author was a woman, the sex scenes seemed too masculine.
The ending was unexpected, I was afraid he'd die in a car crash after fighting his way back.
A bit heavy on drama all throughout, but with a redeeming ending. If the author's intention was to draw the reader into James' mind and feel his despair, then she succeeded. That is, after all the best measure of a story's affectivity.
Again, a lot of platitudes come to mind...ones concerning family, parental love, openness, rejection, realizations. One has to really start with oneself first, before lasting relationships with others can be formed. I remember the priest's homily last Sunday: ambition vs mission. The will and the reason to live cannot be founded solely on just selfish motives. There has to be others outside of oneself for which one must strive to live for.
Though a slow read for me, and not too engaging, this book still has its merits; still worth the time.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 4, 2017
I find it hard to believe this is her first book. An author with such mastery of the English language is such a rarity in the modern world. I keep a list of books that I consider worth reading again; after reading this I have started a new list called 'Worth Reading- Again and Again.' If I could give it ten stars I would, highly recommended.