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Breathless by Sarah Sanders

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Short, sweet and sexy – we loved this book. Lara is a movie star whose career has crashed and burnt. She is in the throes o...

Moonflower by Max Ellendale and A. M. Corbi


⭐⭐⭐☆


An excellently written book that deals with highly prevalent, sensitive subject matter.

Daria Grayson, mother of two year old, Ella, is married to a violent, abusive man, Mitchell. She finally divorces him and by the time Ella is four, she's been divorced a year, but still haunted by fear. Her best friend, Molly, is her strength, support, anchor and pretty much everything. She also has excellent support system in her mother-in-law, Mary, who suffered the same fate at her husband's hands that Daria did with Mitchell.

Working in Kindness and Care For All, an outreach centre, Daria's world is contained within her parents, sister, brother-in-law, Ella, Mary and most of all, Molly. Molly forces Daria for an evening out and introduces her to her cousin, Charlotte Garrett, an ex go-go dancer, currently managing the eatery they are in. Charlotte is stunning, playful and totally alive. 

Under Molly's aegis, Daria and Charlotte meet again and Daria feels stirrings of an unacknowledged part of her -- a possibility that she might be gay. Charlotte is out and clearly interested in Daria. 

Daria slowly comes into her own outgrowing fears and finding forgiveness -- all leading to happiness. 

This book, written in first person, is entirely about Daria's journey albeit with a satisfying romance with Charlotte.

Daria, Ella and Charlotte are intensely appealing. The relationship between Daria and Charlotte is lovely. There is romance, enjoyable dialogues and empathiseable interactions, lovely connection between Charlie and Ella, great sex scenes...yet, the real relationship is between Daria and Molly. 

Hard drinking, frequently doping, entirely in your face Molly is Daria's oldest friend who has been with her through her nightmare marriage, got her out of it and is her rock forever. In fact, even after Daria and Charlotte get together, Molly is way more there in every step Daria takes than Charlie is. Molly and Daria have some sort of a weird platonic-romantic relationship that honestly didn't need anyone else. 

Trigger warning for this book: domestic abuse and intimate partner violence. Painful, physical assault. This is a very big trigger warning because it is the core of the book. Dealing with the violence and the aftermath of having lived through it is the crux of Daria's journey. The exposure to scary violence is introduced right in the third paragraph and is a constant background.

Much more than a romance, this book is Ellendale shining light on a very serious issue. Writing it as engaging fiction helps because the reach and readers of fiction is way higher than if this was written as a blog post, a news article or a research paper. We applaud Ellendale for this.

In every way -- as story about healing, as a first person account of dealing and healing, as self-acceptance, as a romance -- this is recommended.

⭐⭐⭐☆


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