The story opens with Louisa teetering on the brink of death—then it jumps many months ahead where we learn that she had kicked the abuser out. The drama creeps along slowly as we wonder how on earth she managed to get her awful, tenacious, mentally disturbed boyfriend to leave and if she had imposed her ‘retribution’ then.
This book addresses a very important topic which affects many families. From the beginning, we are horrified and transfixed. The graphic violence is disturbing, and the main character’s internal monologue is monotonous as her lack of self-esteem is constantly front and center. Although this is a fictional tale, at times it reads like an autobiography. Colloquial simple English phraseology is used throughout. For example, in the middle of a heated love scene: “When he tucked his fingers just under the edge of my knickers, I couldn’t help the quivering…” and “I was gobsmacked.”
Readers of digital books may not care, but the woman on the book cover is auburn-haired whereas the protagonist in the story is blonde. In the course of their ten-year relationship, Louisa calls the police only one time to report her abuser. The accusation against him doesn’t stick because he has contacts in high places. He resumes harassing her. Unlike in the movie, The Burning Bed, where there truly is retribution by the victim, this novel provides a prince charming who saves the day. Since this is book 1, maybe the actual retribution is intended in book 2.
I found her new relationship inconsistent; Louisa is self-absorbed and cruel-thinking toward other women, yet her new beau continually tells her how beautiful she is, “Inside and out.” I rate this 260 page book 3 out of 5 stars.