Review: Close by Fen Wilde

Print Length: 292 pages
Publisher: Kaleido Text Media (December 21, 2017)

From Clara Black isn't looking for love. Working by day as a therapist and by night as an exotic dancer, her world is thrown into disarray by the gorgeous stranger who keeps showing up in unexpected places. 

Lucas Evans is everything she doesn’t trust: oozing sex appeal, with women scattered in his wake, she is determined to resist him. But she’s drawn toward him despite her guarded heart.

Caught up in a web of secrets and lies, their pasts and present collide in this gripping, sexy stand-alone about love, courage and opening your heart. 

My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

One of the things that surprised me about this book was how deep into the human psyche this book seemed willing to dive. Each and every one of these characters was deeply flawed, each without their own reasoning and beliefs. After finding out the author is a mental health clinician, I now understand why she decided to pursue it to the levels that she did. This story certainly forces you to take a step back and reevaluate some of the people you may encounter on a regular basis. One line that really stands out to me from this story is told from Clara's point of view. She thinks,

How hard that is for some of us. To believe that we are worthy, just as we are. That our need's are just as valid as the next person's. And the opposite of that: the things that we'll do to feel lovable. The masks we'll wear to convince others, as well as ourselves.

It was moments such as that that were just so utterly raw and human that kept me reading. That exploration of the lengths and depths some people are willing to go to just to feel worthy. 

And then, for me at least, it just started coming unraveled. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that no matter how much back and forth there was between Clara and Lucas it always seemed to go the same way. One of them would say or do something to anger or upset the other. They would argue and one would walk away. A few days later one of them (usually Lucas) would come back. One or both would begin to apologize. They would have sex. And nothing would change. Sometimes after the sex a different problem would rear its head and send them running away from each other again. I'm sorry, but when you write a book as deep as this one, it deserves better. Even if the characters are using sex as a quick fix, there needs to be as much depth to their relationship with each other as there is their feelings towards themselves.

Then there was the side-story of Aaron. Which to me both helped and hurt this novel. When he was an unknown element, it added a layer of mystery. When his identity was revealed, there was some shock value to it. And then as we neared the end, it seemed the author regretted certain choices and did a complete 180 - leading to confusion and irritation on my part. I felt her story stood enough on its own merit as it was that it did not need that last minute "plot twist". 

Based on the four and five star reviews this book has gotten it is obvious that I am in the minority, and that's ok. Books aren't meant to be for everyone. I do think that those who enjoy a darker look at human emotion will enjoy this. And if this author comes across my feed again with a new book and the synopsis catches my eye, I would give her another chance.

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.


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