I Refuse To Be My [Parent]. Yes, a version of the title line of this review is said in the book. And that was the moment the book hit particularly hard for me. Because I’ve lived it. Not directly, but as the child of a person that did. To be clear, it was not the same kind of abuse that my parent endured, but it *was* abuse and it *did* shape that parent in ways that have played out over the course of my own life. So at that moment, this book became very, very real for me and I could see that character’s actions as clear as day and understand them on levels I don’t often get to even in fiction.
The rest of the book, with a present day murder and blackmailing, a secret identity, a true crime podcast looking at a murder years ago and how it all ties together… was all excellently done. Other reviews complain about the backstory, but for me that was the actual story – because it shows everything that caused the person to utter the line I titled the review with. Overall a strong tale that survivors of domestic abuse may struggle with, but which ultimately should prove cathartic indeed even for them. Very much recommended.
This review of Things We Do In The Dark by Jennifer Hillier was originally written on July 10, 2022.
Excellent Start To New Series. With this book, Evans “officially” begins a new series that had a “soft opening” with the novella Faking The Harmony. Here, we really begin to see what makes the Castleton Family click… by having an interloper threaten to destroy all that they hold dear. Except this interloper… may just be exactly what he is claiming to be. Another excellent novelization of the very real-life issues faced with DNA testing, along with some solid discussion with real-world facts about the differences between the various DNA testing companies (all of whom are fictionalized in the text here) and how they operate. This is easily read as just a solid Hallmark-ish romance, the extra commentary just adds a bit of extra depth and real-world gravitas to the already solidly grounded tale. Excellent work, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing how the unresolved threads of the Castleton Family hash out. Very much recommended.
This review of Heart of the Violist by Maddie Evans was originally written on December 12, 2020.