book review · Uncategorized

After We Fall by Marquita Valentine

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***Received ARC from publisher via NetGalley***

I’ve always been drawn to books that explore heavy or dark themes. It’s always been fascinating to me how people treat such themes, and spin stories around it. This story touches on domestic abuse.

Evangeline Ambrose is struggling to get her life back after losing everything to a loveless and abusive marriage. She’s starting over in a town where she thought her memories can’t follow, only to find out she’s moved into the apartment next to Hunter Sloan, the cop who stayed with her the night of her escape. Wary of all men, Evangeline tries to keep Hunter at a distance despite his careful persistence, which slowly breaks down her walls, and shows her that not all men are cruel like her husband.

To be honest, I thought this story would be a hard pill to swallow. After reading so many stories on this topic, I’ve come to expect exhaustion at feeling a whole range of emotions — sadness for the loss of self, anger for the difficulties they have to undergo on the long road to recovery, confusion and disbelief as to how a fellow human being can treat another with such hate and brutality, elation at redemption, and so much more. This book, however, was on the lighter side of the spectrum.

Most books on this topic tend to examine the abuse too closely and in graphic detail, almost to the point where it seems to rely heavily on the shock factor to draw in the reader. It’s refreshing to note that this book focuses more on the power of another person’s gentleness and honesty to ignite the healing process, as opposed to dwelling on the hurtful past. At times, it felt like the relationship progressed a bit too quickly, but the history between the two characters reinforces the connection they have. Their back stories were thoughtfully crafted, making it a believable plot.

Overall, it was a charming read. Again, it doesn’t make it to the top of my must-read list, but I would still recommend it for days when you need an easy read.

Rating: 3.5 stars

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