When young, pretty Catherine Bailey meets Lee Brightman, she can’t believe her luck. Gorgeous, charismatic, and a bit mysterious, Lee seems almost too perfect to be true.
But what begins as flattering attention and spontaneous, passionate sex transforms into raging jealousy, and Catherine soon discovers that Lee’s dazzling blue eyes and blond good looks hide a dark, violent nature. Disturbed by his increasingly erratic, controlling behavior, she tries to break it off; turning to her friends for support, she’s stunned to find they don’t believe her. Increasingly isolated and driven into the darkest corner of her world, a desperate Catherine plans a meticulous escape.
Four years later, Lee is behind bars and Catherine—now Cathy—is trying to build a new life in a new city. Though her body has healed, the trauma of the past still haunts her. Then Stuart Richardson, her attractive new neighbor, moves in. Encouraging her to confront her fears, he sparks unexpected hope and the possibility of love and a normal life.
Until the day the phone rings.
Until the day the phone rings.
Synopsis source: Goodreads
All those moments when I’d seen blue sky, when I’d seen that hint of freedom, I had still been in the cage.
This day in age, there are so many “romance” novels out there with a romantic interest who is gorgeous and charming, but intense and mysterious, and sensitive and vulnerable, but smotheringly possessive, just like Lee Brightman in this story. The difference is that in this story, those qualities show themselves for what they truly are: dangerous.
As far as days to die were concerned, the longest day of the year was as good as any.
This novel explores the ways a master manipulator and abuser works, isolating his victim from her friends, toying with her emotions, and playing tricks designed to both unnerve her and make her think she’s going crazy. Most importantly, it shows how all of these manipulations can lead a victim to be completely reliant on the abuser and make it hard to walk away, because when it’s bad, it’s really bad, but when it’s good, it’s really good.
I’d always thought that women who stayed in bad relationships must be foolish….Walk away and don’t look back, I always thought….there was a new realization that walking away wasn’t a simple option after all. I’d tried it and made the mistake of inviting him back. Being still in love with him, the gentle, vulnerable part of him that was still inside somewhere, was only part of it: it was also the dreadful fear of what he might do if I did anything to provoke him.
Haynes has a way with telling this story with such punch-packed statements, that they hit you right in the gut. The story switches back and forth from Before to After the cataclysmic event that we know from the start lands Lee in jail. But discovering what events lead to that point are what it’s all about after all. How did we get from the fun, cheerful, confident Cathy of Before to the broken, paranoid, compulsive Cathy of After? And can we really say she is paranoid if her fears are justified and the threat is real?
Through the double narrative, we watch as Lee goes from darkly sexy to darkly dangerous, and I’ll warn you that if emotional and physical abuse, stalking, and rape are triggers for you, you should probably avoid this book. But telling the story from Cathy’s eyes both Before and After really builds the suspense in a way I haven’t seen in a while. The two Cathys are so vastly different, you’ll have a hard time reconciling that they are the same person.
I have to say too, I really REALLY enjoyed the climax / confrontation. I won’t say much, because I don’t want to give it away, but it was good…really good.
If you enjoy a good mind-screw like I do, you should definitely read this book. Just make sure you have all your doors and windows locked and that the silverware is all in its proper place.
I hope you enjoyed this review! Subscribe to the blog for more! Not all of my reviews make it to the blog, so be sure to also follow me on Goodreads so you don’t miss any books!
Until the next book!
Be sure to subscribe to my blog so you never miss a review! You can also sign up for my newsletter for a recap of titles read, crochet patterns I’ve released, and more! I only send it out sporadically so that I don’t spam you, promise. 😉