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Without Saying a Word by Amanda Ward

Without Saying a Word

by Amanda Ward

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I’ll assume someone reading this has already perused the book blurb for the plot summary. Rather than repeat it again I’ll jump right into the review.

To start: a pair of warnings. First, the prologue describes a very brutal episode of domestic violence. While there is no further violence in the book and the heroine has left that relationship by the start of the actual novel, I include this cautionary note to readers for whom this may be a trigger. Second, this review includes spoilers. In order to give an honest opinion on several aspects of the book, spoilers could not be avoided. So be ye warned: SPOILERS FOLLOW.

Still reading? Okay then.

I had many problems with this book. Some were minor - like the inexplicable explosion of commas. Seriously, someone needed to take a comma-vacuum to the text. Others issues were more irritating, e.g. inconsistencies and discontinuities in the plot. But all of those were bested by the intense dislike I felt for the hero of the story. His behavior felt controlling to me throughout. Right from the start his reactions were self-centered and all about what HE wanted rather than what Laura needed. This woman was a survivor of domestic abuse. So when his verbal pushing results in her fleeing in tears into her bathroom he slams out of the house furious with HER reaction. At this point he knows her history – and he’s not regretful, ashamed or even worried by the reaction HE CAUSED. Later, their first kiss: she withdraws and he forcibly pulls her back to continue the embrace. No, no, no, no! The book is positively littered with examples of Rhean’s ‘masterful’ behavior. “She thought of the way she’d felt when he took charge yesterday and looked after her, …” “She nodded, and allowed Rhean to take control…” “… Laura succumbed to his forceful domination.” And so on.

When they have their first actual date Rhean asks her to marry him in the middle of a fancy restaurant, going down on one knee and attracting the attention of every other patron. Their FIRST DATE, mind you. Scenes like this make me feel deeply uncomfortable. It’s only been a short while since he admitted his love for her. He knows she’s uncertain of her own feelings. What was the point of forcing her to give her answer so publicly? She subsequently has a panic attack as he’s driving her home, feeling rushed into her acceptance of the proposal (and this should not be surprising to anyone!!). She jumps from the car after he’s pulled over and he WALKS AWAY FROM HER. It felt to me like emotional blackmail: look how you’ve hurt me, see how wounded I am. When she finally affirms her acceptance he explains away his behavior as ‘giving her space’. Nowhere in the text did it feel this way to me. He says not one word that conveys any understanding of her feelings or their validity before he walks off. When they get back to the cottage and Laura tells her kids about the impending marriage – turns out everyone already knew about it. Not only that, Rhean TELLS her the wedding date and where they will live afterward. At this point my language was turning blue (and that’s not a normal occurrence for me). WTF??? How is that OK? Laura rants some (you go girl!) but in the very next paragraph she is backing off, calling her own response ‘over the top’. NO, LAURA, IT WAS NOT. You are entitled to have a say in the DATE OF YOUR WEDDING and the home in which you will be living WITH YOUR CHILDREN. Excuse the caps. It felt warranted. And don’t get me started on how the actual wedding happened. Let me just say Laura didn’t even get to choose her own undergarments. I. Can’t. Even.

Over and over again there are instances of Rhean being controlling and Laura submitting. I almost gave it all up when, toward the end of the book, Laura’s daughter overhears something implying that her biological father (the abusive first husband) wants custody of herself and her two brothers. She calls Rhean, understandably worried. He reassures her, etc., AND NEVER ONCE TELLS LAURA ABOUT ANY OF IT. Let me be clear – EVERYONE else knows about this: Rhean, his parents, Laura’s parents, Laura’s CHILDREN. Her kids are teenagers. She is not some dewy-eyed innocent. Why would this information be kept from her? As a mother myself I was bloody furious on her behalf. At one point in the book Laura muses about how ‘blatantly’ honest Rhean is with her. What?? NO, HE IS NOT!!! But though she feels betrayed, Laura never confronts Rhean about this. Not once. Instead it was Yes, I believe that you love me and now I know I love you too! Darling! Thinking back, I cannot remember Laura making one single major decision for herself. Rhean made them all. It was incredibly disturbing, especially in light of the domestic abuse with which the book opens. Though let me be clear: there is not one instance of physical violence or even a hint of it from Rhean. Still, I cannot recommend this book to readers like myself who find this kind of controlling behavior troubling, verging on alarming. ( )
  michele69 | Oct 28, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This was a great heartwarming story. It contained just enough suspense and mystery to balance out all the other elements. The characters, while appearing to live a charmed live felt real. The one draw back I felt to this was the teenagers...No real teenagers are that easy! ;) ( )
  Samantha.Ann | Sep 25, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Without Saying A Word by Amanda Ward
198 pages eBook my free copy is in PDF format

This is a contemporary romance that also deals with serious woman's issues, abusive, unfaithful husband, sibling rivalry, post-postpartum depression, child custody, visitation, telephone harassment, stalking, remarriage, trust. Edgy and mostly very believable, except for the 34 year old male virgin.

Laura comes home to find her husband in bed with her sister, then he nearly beats her to death. He goes to prison, she gets a divorce and moves to a new town. Her kids are in school and she's rebuilding her life then the threatening phone calls start. Her next door neighbor Rhean Tate, Viscount Kirkleigh seizes his chance to make her his, when her past reappears threatening her and her children’s safety. Can she get past the pain of her past to find a future with Rhean?
  Pebblesgmc | Aug 21, 2014 |
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