Cruel Water, Portland ME novels Book 2, Freya Barker
My first Freya Barker read and what a journey. There’s a book out before this one, featuring characters from this novel and its one that’s gone on my wish list! Its a read that’s deep, dark at times, very intense and covers some uncomfortable subjects but is also a solid and beautiful love story.
Right from the first page I was pulled in, pulled to Viv and The Skipper, pulled to Ike and his “silver eyes” – doesn’t that sound beautiful and mysterious too? Not grey, grey blue or anything but silver. That’s a special term that sums up someone special.
I enjoyed too that this was about older characters, Ike is 42 and I think Viv is 35 – about that anyway. It’s clear she’s got a troubled past, clear from her actions, from the little things she says and does and from the way her friends at The Skipper treat her. It’s a place where people are valued, where they’re accepted and encouraged but never pushed to give more than they can.
For many years Viv thought she was coping OK and then something happens that brings it all back, and that’s on top of the very real problems she has from another area of her past that’s become her present. She’s been existing – Ike’s been there, done that and he wants to help her to Live not to just Exist. The way things play out rapidly it’s good he’s there because she needs him, desperately, even though she doesn’t want to need anyone. It’s going to take the support of many good people to help her through her demons.
Poor Viv, I’d got an idea from a couple of things she says what was in her past, but not quite how bad or prolonged it was.Then the more recent issues become a real danger for her and I was so glad she had Ike and her friends, she needed them so badly. The connection between her and Ike was so sensual, so visceral and couldn’t be ignored even though she tried to do just that, to pigeon hole Ike as a one off. He was persistent though, he knew what they had could be special and was determined to get her to see that.
Its not a book with quick, swift solutions but one where things take time, where its two steps forward and one back. I so felt for Viv, and was so glad she had friends, and that Ike came into her life just at the right time. He wasn’t looking for love either, was a live for the moment guy but when he knew what they had could be long term he went all out for it. a great and very understanding guy. The story shows how one persona actions can’t be ignored and how they affect not just the other person but many more, and tests families and friendships to the limits.
At times I was on the edge of tears and had to out the book aside for a while thinking things over and reading something lighter but the ending is so perfect, and after all the dark it was wonderful to see the light coming.
Stars: Five, a really emotional, realistic story with a perfect ending.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers.
Find Me (The Donovan Family Book 3), Margaret Watson
I didn’t realise this was book three in a series, but each book is complete, it’s one of those series where characters are connected but the books can be read as a stand alone. I was able to follow the story easily.
It jumps into the drama very quickly with poor Lizzy witnessing a horrific murder, a man pushed over multi-storey carpark and just as she’s leaving the station after telling what she saw, discovering its another FBI agent that’s the killer. From her past she knows cops protect their own and fearing for her life she flees.
Mac, he was attracted to her in a visceral way from the first sight and can’t get her out of his mind. The three months she’s been gone he’s been busy tracking her down. He’s tenacious, comes from a background of police, with his family all involved in law enforcement some way. By fleeing Lizzy looks guilty, not of the murder but maybe she’s an accomplice? That seems to be the thinking, and as no signs of her turn up the case gets further down the pile making way for newer ones.
Mac works on it in his own time. The murdered man was his friend, and he can’t quite believe Lizzy was an accomplice, but she clearly knows more that she’s told them and one way or another he’s bringing her back.
When he finds her though….well its dramatics all round and somehow they end up hot and heavy very quickly. It seems the attraction isn’t one sided, and Lizzy surprises herself by her actions. She doesn’t know who Mac really is though, and when she discovers that…well, it brings lots of questions to the front, including her safety.
It’s a neat story, tightly held together with plots that make sense, and feel real. I love the chemistry between the two, the way they first came together, being close to death does that to people. They want to reaffirm their lives and sex seems to feature in that very often! I love Frannie too – Lizzy’s dog, she was a real star.
Its a good read, not overly complex but one to relax with when you want a romance with some hot action and a proper suspense in the story. I enjoyed it very much despite not having read earlier ones. It’s not one I’d reread though.
Stars: Four. A good read, well plotted and realistic action.
ARC supplied by author