The Betrayal is a romantic thriller that will keep you up all night, turning page after page (or clicking and clicking on your Nook or Kindle), eager to find out what will happen next. Kathryn Shay is a master of hooking the reader’s attention and feeding tidbits that continuously have you guessing at what will happen next. Sometimes you’ll get it; other times, you’ll find that there’s a twist in the plot, and The Betrayal will leave you at a loss as to who is the end culprit.
The story starts with Darcy Weston fleeing her home after being raped by her stepfather. While seeking refuse at her late grandparents’ house, she meets Jordan Mackenzie, who will fall in love with her while protecting her secret. They’re discovered after Darcy becomes injured falling down the basements steps, and Darcy leaves to live with her mother. Over subsequent years, they drift apart due to Darcy’s belief that her bad influence is corrupting the pure Jordan, whom she has grown to care about. Twelve years later, Jordan is a teacher and aspiring author while Darcy has grown into a recluse and popular artist under the name of D. J. West.
From the first chapters, I fell in love with the story. The idea of two kids meeting each other, growing feelings that never fully mature before they part, and then meeting each other again years later? It’s too sweet—and heartbreaking when misunderstanding arise and they betray each other, all the while having to sort out the feelings in their hearts.
Jordan is such a sweet kid with a pure character that remains as he grows up. He helps Darcy unconditionally and always acts according to what’s best for her. When his story about his time with Darcy receives a publishing offer on the condition that they use D.J. West’s fame to promote it, he doesn’t accept the publishing offer immediately despite his need for the money for pay for his mother’s medical bills. He doesn’t because he knows people will associate the artist D.J. West with Darcy Weston and that her secret will be forced into the open. Since childhood, he has always given everything for Darcy, a trait of his that will melt readers' hearts.
To be honest, I couldn’t help questioning the ease with which he put aside his best friend Tommy as a child in favor of spending every possible second with Darcy. While he does like Darcy, his interest in her borders a tad bit on obsession, though it doesn’t seem that way because he’s just so sweet and caring, both as a boy and as a grown man. On the other hand, I couldn’t understand Tommy’s intense dislike for Darcy. I know that he’s constantly jerked around by Jordan because of her, but I don’t know how he tolerates it. It would help if we had had more insight into his character. He’s a good man, and I would have liked to see more of him. The same goes with Lisa’s feelings towards Jordan, though her intentions will become clearer as the story progresses.
Darcy. While this story is told in turn by both Darcy and Jordan (and a couple other characters as needed to further the plot), it is essentially Darcy’s story. Her pain and sufferings are what set the events into motion when she met Jordan as a teenager and again years later when they betray each other. She is a rich girl, but she isn’t overly conscious of it. After being raped by her stepfather and doubted by her own mother, she needs emotional support, not material wealth, and it is for this reason that Jordan was able to win her affections years ago. I find it touching how Darcy opens a refuge for teenagers in an attempt to do for them what Jordan and his mother did for her years ago. She even goes so far as to name it after them. It shows that while she lost touch with him in an attempt to free Jordan of her influence, she has never forgotten him or his mother, whom she feels is the mother that she never had—the one who will listen to her and comfort her.
When Jordan’s book results in scandal and murder, Darcy’s ability to trust others takes a sharp hit. It takes great emotional strength for Jordan to break through the barriers that she’s placed on her heart and convince Darcy that he is truly the man for her.
Kathryn Shay has spun together a story of love and heartbreak, renewed affections and tragedy. While some of the characters lack sufficient motivation for some for their actions, Jordan and Darcy are well-developed overall, and their emotions are easy to understand. Their growth from naïve children to mature adults will pull you deeper into their world. The Betrayal is a suspenseful story that you will not be able to put down once you have read Darcy’s story. Once you have met Jordan. Once you have felt the pangs of betrayal.
Recommended for adult readers who enjoy a good romance and thriller. There is explicit content in the form of s-e-x and lust.