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Genre fiction lover:  Romance, Sci Fi, Fantasy, Mystery, Urban Fantasy

Love Through Pain

Love through pain - Ancelli

I think there were some good ideas in this book that were rather clumsily executed. A potentially good story was undermined by  issues of plot contrivance that somewhat cannibalized the story for me, imo.

The book starts off with a very promising premise. The heroine, Jazmine has been horrifically assaulted and left bleeding in an alley. The hero Javier, stumbles upon her and gets her to help.

I am going to put a lot of the rest of this review under spoiler because there are some revealing plot details that I want to mention in my review:


The set up is great and I think the author did a good job of showing Jazmine's reaction in the aftermath of her assault. She is in shock, she is ashamed, she feels guilt and a well deserved dose of self pity. When Javier comes upon her she is initially resistant to going to a hospital and even reporting it to the police.

Acquiescing to her wishes, Javier instead takes her to his mother who is, conveniently, a retired nurse. But their pleas for her to get help and to report the incident finally pay off and Jazmine does report the rape.

Months later, a coping Jazmine returns to thank the helpful mother/son duo and to reveal that she is pregnant as a result of the rape and plans to give the child up for adoption because she does not want it. Javier, though, is glad that she is having the baby because it affords him an opportunity he never thought he'd have, namely to have his own child. During a stint in the military an injury has left him sterile.  He asks that he be the one allowed to adopt her child.

Again, the place where this was heading had some major potential. I thought the author had laid some very strong groundwork for Jazmine's reactions and her state of mind. I also thought she touched lightly, yet effectively, on Javier's situation with this Latino alpha male being unable to have children and the issue of machismo all tied up with that. He hides his infertility from everyone except Jazmine.

Unfortunately,it was about here in the story that things began to unravel for me.

There were a few things that rather yanked me out of the story

- Javier is sorry that they did not get her to the hospital in time to get the morning after pill administered. What? They literally went the morning after her assault. There are some pills that are effective up to 4 days after intercourse. Not that she got the chance because when they did go to the hospital the Nurse asks her if she was using birth control, Jazmine says yes and that is all we hear about potential pregnancy. But any health worker knows that birth control is not 100% effective. They never even offered her a morning after pill.

- Yeah it is the realm of possibility that Jazmine would get a male police officer who would not be sympathetic to her. He 'snorts' when she tells them that she was walking back to her hotel alone at night and then he asks her what she is wearing. I'd like to think a police office would be more compassionate (or rather dispassionate) but I am not naive. So yeah, I figured this could happen. But the accompanying female police officer crying while taking Jazmine's statement? What?

- Jazmine does not want to use her health insurance to go visit an OB/GYN for prenatal visits. She is hiding the pregnancy and if she uses her insurance, Human Resources in her office will find out. What? Since when does HR have access to an employee's medical records to monitor doctor visits? Hello, HIPAA.

- The whole reason Jazmine decides to give the baby up is because she is sure seeing the child will trigger all sorts of negative emotions related to the rape. I thought this was such an interesting development and wondered how it would play out. But the minute the child is born she falls in love with him. Her reason for what she was doing effectively disappears. And it makes all the rest that follows feel contrived. Honestly,if the author was setting it up so that Jazmine had some conflicted feelings about having the baby, I wish she had really gone there. I would have loved to have seen some revulsion or disconnectedness that over time changes into acceptance and then love. As it was, it took Jazmine's reactions from something that could have been very complex and human to textbook romance heroine 101.

(show spoiler)


Outside of those things, the second part of the book really squandered the promising set up. It became a series of sex scenes and coincidental revelations that strained credulity. It felt like a lot of Deus Ex Machina happening all over the place.

And some characters, Javier's ex-girlfriend in particular, were drawn so broadly that they were cartoonish.

So while I kinda liked some of the emotional tugs the book elicited, overall it did not work for me