by Anna Campbell


Oh boy, did I have a real love-hate relationship with this book. There’s so much wrong with it and so much right with it. 

The plot, a take on beauty and the beast with secondary characters that have screwed with the main characters lives, is weak and merely an excuse for the two to have sex. I do love forced proximity though so I’m trying not to be too hard on it. It’s rather predictable, a little on the boring side, and melodramatic. Nearly all the emotional development happens through sex. And worst of all, the heroine is annoying and infuriating. 

I should hate this book. But I loved it!

The hero made this book. His heart went pitter patter, and so did mine. Jonas Merrick’s face is hideously scarred from a cruel childhood incident. Despite his outward appearance, this man is sexy as hell. It’s not just his face that’s scarred, he’s scarred to the depths of his soul. He’s all tough on the outside but meltingly tender on the inside. He’s had a hard life. He’s alone and just wants to be loved. No, he needs to be loved. Desperately. And his heart does flip flops for Sidonie practically from page one. I adore him. I adore him for how hard he fell for the heroine. For his complete inability to maintain his tough exterior around her. For his ever growing desire to do right by her when he’s spent his whole life doing wrong. For his sweetness and brightness that he tries to hide behind a sad and lonely darkness. 

The best thing about Sidonie is that she’s capable of loving a man like Jonas. He needed to be touched and cherished. He needed someone who was unafraid of him, unintimidated by him, who wasn’t appalled by his scars. He needed someone to see his goodness and prove to him that he was worthy of being loved. I hate to minimize a woman to what she can do for a man, but holy hell, I really didn’t like her very much so I’m just appreciating her for making this man happy, because he so deserved it. 

That’s not to say he didn’t do anything for her. Sidonie was afraid of being controlled by men, for good reason based on what we know about her background. Jonas, who was supposedly a tyrant, was the last person in the world to ever try and control her. He’s so good for her. But oh my god, she was so annoying. She’s extremely wishy-washy. She can’t make up her mind about anything and goes back and forth on her decisions. She’s constantly cursing his advances and pushing him away and then when he withdraws she feels rejected and disappointed. She’s stubborn beyond reason and for the first half of the book every interaction between them is an infuriating battle of wills, far past the point of necessity.

And even after Jonas has shown her, repeatedly, that he can be trusted, that he truly cares for her, that he’s not a monster or any of the things she feared or that people say about him, she still holds this secret from him because she’s afraid he will do her family wrong if he knew the truth. It was infuriating. 

There is one scene, one, where I loved her. She finally stops being this Namby-pamby, wishy-washy, frightened, mixed-signal sending, argumentative, girl and transforms into a woman who actually knows what she wants, what she needs, and even more touchingly, what she needs to do to turn Jonas completely inside out. She forces Jonas to face his fears and feelings and weaknesses and to give up control in what turns out to be an incredibly passionate and emotional love scene. 

And right when I think she’s about to change, she goes right back to questioning his moral character. After all they’d been through and all he’s shown her, she still doubts him and betrays him and I hated her for that. 

Still, these two were somehow great together. The love scenes were hot and emotional and the steaminess was well mixed up with so many feels tugging at my heart. These two had an aching desire that was quite palpable. This one particular scene where Jonas felt his heart breaking I was crushed right alongside him. Damn, he just wanted her so bad, and not just for sex. He was tumbling headlong into love. I got feels from him for literally the entire book. 

Unfortunately, the end took abit of a turn to crazy town and pulled me out of what had been a truly beautiful romance. And I could go on and on about a number of other things that I hated about this book. But the feels from the hero, and even some from the heroine, were so stellar that I’d suffer it all again for these things that I loved. And it’s for that reason that I’m giving this book 4 stars. The spectacular feels and beautiful romance completely outshined the weak plot and infuriating heroine.

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