WARNING: This is going to be a long-winded review with a few rants thrown here and there, and will certainly contain some spoilers.
I call this my "angst done right" book. Very angsty and very emotionally charged read, which could have been a disaster if it wasn't for the fact that the author did a good job with the characterization and the pacing of the story. I read it in one sitting and I was captivated with both Theresa and Sandro's story from start to finish.
First off, the story. Sandro was basically blackmailed into marrying Theresa by Theresa's father in exchange for something that Sandro wants very badly. Thinking that Theresa was in on the scheme, Sandro proceeded to make Theresa pay for her father's sins by making her life a living hell. He was downright cruel and hateful to her during this time. This went on for 18 months until Theresa decided she had enough and asks for a divorce. In other words she grew a backbone.
Let me tell you, the first half of this book was difficult to read. I couldn't believe how much Theresa had to endure during those 18 months when all she really did was to fall in love her husband who didn't want her. I felt for her but at the same time I was also angry at her for being so gullible and for being a victim. Not fair to do to a book character but there I was, fuming silently and cursing my cousin for bullying me into reading this book.
Well, it turns out that this victim mentality started way back during her childhood where she was constantly being rejected by her father. And let me tell you, though I hated Sandro for what he did, I hated her father more. He was downright cruel and not once did he show remorse. He was the one who instigated the deal and led Sandro to believe that Theresa was in on it.
Her ass for a father gave an out to the deal. If Theresa can produce a son, then the deal is off and Sandro can have his freedom and the thing he wanted the most. So on and on it goes. For 18 months, Sandro doesn't kiss Theresa even during sex, he doesn't touch her outside the bedroom, goes on to ignore her until he wants sex of course--and get this, every time they finish doing the business, he says the same thing over and over, 'Give me a son, Theresa.' For 18 months every time they have sex, he says those words afterwards.
Ugh, I hated Sandro at first but I was happy when he finally manned up and realized how wrong he was about his wife. Don't worry, us, readers don't actually get to see those whole 18 months play out. It was all part of Theresa's inner monologue and it comes up during her conversations with Sandro as well. So the reader gets the whole picture of those 18 months without actually reading the whole thing, if you get my drift.
Anyway, as I've said, I was happy with this book and I've grown to love Sandro. You really get to understand his motivation and you will know why he did those things. Not that it was an excuse or anything but the author was able to paint a flawed, believable and most importantly, a redeemable character in Sandro.
Theresa, I also loved because she did grow a backbone. I wasn't annoyed at her for keeping Sandro at arms length and disbelieving her husband when he finally tried to win her back. I mean, if I was in her place, going through what she did with her father and Sandro, I would be very suspicious too. I was actually glad she made him suffer a bit.
So overall, a very satisfying read. I have long since forgiven my cousin for forcing me to read this, like, four hours ago. And oh, there is a short but sweet epilogue, which was absolutely wonderful. I cried during the epilogue but it was happy tears.