Megan Hart writes erotic romance, but with so much seriousness and reverence...I hesitate to call it erotica. It can't be. Not the way she writes it. Sure, it's titillating, but it's so so much more.
I have never felt so much despair, rage, empathy, sadness, and longing for a fictional character before.
This is the story of a woman whose husband suffered an accident leaving him a paraplegic. Sure, his personal suffering is too much to even contemplate, but what happens to the wife? She must be strong, supportive, upbeat, financially responsible....all while never having the audacity to complain. To need human touch. To need comfort. To need to just be something other than constantly strong and responsible.
OH! So heartbreaking.
So, she starts these conversations that take place on the first Friday of every month on a park bench, in which she lives vicariously through the sexual escapades of Joe. Her bench mate. They never talk about anything other than his sexual conquests. Yet she knows she's being emotionally unfaithful, and she is unable to stop. She craves those stories. They are her lifeline to everything she is not supposed to need to want.
This passage from Sadie's visit to a massage therapist broke my heart (and it resonated with me, as some of the feelings of needing to always be strong, responsible and untouched were similar to my feelings when my husband was in Iraq for 15mos.):
"I let out a small groan when she hit a particularly tender spot on the underside of my wrist/ Her fingers pressed and kneaded and worked their way down toward my hand where she tugged each of my fingers. My hand in hers, my fingers closed and opened involuntarily as she massaged my palm and the back of my hand. She closed both hands over mine, holding it between them for a second of two before massaging between each of my fingers.
Emotion rushed into my throat with the force and bitterness of acid. When was the last time someone had held my hand this way, with such tenderness and care? when was the last time anyone had held my hand at all?"
I'm just astounded by the talent of this author. Far more realistic and resonant than anything I've read lately. I even love how she weaved characters from her previous novel "Dirty" into this one. She let us catch a glimpse into the lives of Dan and Elle without a corny epilogue. We see that Elle still struggles, still works out her problems, yet she's growing and flourishing.