Ni_kii's Reviews > Intimate Strangers

Intimate Strangers by Gem Sivad
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Jan 09, 2012

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bookshelves: strong-female-charcter, previous-abuse, cowboys, conflicted-me
Read in February, 2012

On the days that followed the disappearance of his young wife, Ambrose stopped hoping and dreaming that she would return to him and their children. Then the day he due to be hung for her murder, a heavily scarred woman with no memory is dragged back into town by his brother, desperate to stop his death for a crime he didn’t commit. The woman certainly looks like his Lucy, but the woman in front of him acts nothing like the immature, bubbly young girl that ran away.

When she was found wandering in the desert, Quincy had been beaten, raped and left to die. Without her memory, the Sheriff of the town she arrived at had no idea where to take her so he let her stay. Now she has to face her past as her supposed brother in law turns up to take her back to her old life. Standing in front of the children she supposedly abandoned the husband she supposedly ran out on and a town full of potential attacker’s, Quincy/Lucy realises how much her experiences have changed her, and how impossible it is to go back.

Ambrose has never wanted another woman. Once he gets Lucy back to his home, he is determined to make her stay. Although she has forgotten all her life before the attack, it’s clear that her body still remembers their times in the marriage bed. Can he coax her to return to him by appealing to her body? And once the children take up his cause, has she any hope of leaving their ranch again?
Oh, this was a book that destroyed my rating system and left me confused. It’s not often that I have such strong objections to a characters actions, but I cannot condone the actions of Ambrose. Although I am assured by my twitter friends that it is historically accurate, I did not like his attempts to get her back into his bed. He professed to love her, professed to worship her, yet when she said no, he still kept pushing. Oh, I’m not talking rape here, he never pushed her as far as the bed, but he still put her in situations that were questionable to me. Yes, at the time that this book was set, the woman didn’t really have the right to say no to her husband, and I know this is my 21st Century values judging the past here, but I just can’t see, if he loved her as much as he states, that he could do this. This is a woman who has no idea of the trauma she has suffered, but she knows it was bad. She has no idea of the amount of men that brutalised her, but she suspects there were many. Even though her body may have been responding to him, she still says no. I found it very hard to mesh his words with his actions. I didn’t like that he wouldn’t back off, wouldn’t give her the opportunity to refuse him. I know he was within his rights at that time to ask for full conjugal rights, and didn’t, but still it didn’t sit well with me.

One of the major conflicts I had with this book is, barr Ambrose, I loved the rest of the plot. The suspense storyline was amazing. Post-attack Lucy is an absolutely amazing character, who I admired greatly (Pre-attack Lucy was a pain). Strong, determined, intelligent, she was a true survivor. Determined not to let the attack break her, she learned to fight, learned to fend for herself and learned how to start all over again. Once she met her children, she was determined that she would do right by them, make sure they were protected. I loved that the maternal bond actually broke through the layers of pain that caused her memory loss. I loved that she was determined to make the men who attacked her, whoever they were, pay. After a while, I started to warm to Ambrose a while. I couldn’t condone his earlier actions, but I saw he was just a desperate man that did completely inadvisable things, rather than a malicious rapist. I loved the children in this story, they were such strong little people. I thought it was horrific that the local Sheriff was quite happy to let them watch their Fathers execution, that he would traumatise them in that way. The fact that they managed to survive this and carry on was a fabulous testament to the way they had been brought up; I honestly think that these two little tykes were the reason I didn’t put down the book and gave Ambrose a second chance. The major problem was, I wanted the HEA for Lucy and the kids, my judgement on Ambrose meant that I didn’t really care whether or not he got his own HEA.

This is a book I urge you to pick up, a book I urge to judge for yourselves. I have explained my problems with it, but this doesn’t mean that they will be yours. The writing is fabulous, the characters were lovely and I have never taken so long to give a rating because of how much it tore me in two.
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