Friday, June 1, 2012

Into the Darkest Corner

Into the Darkest Corner, by Elizabeth Haynes.

I'd always thought that women who stayed in abusive relationships must be foolish. After all, there had to be a moment, a realization that things had taken a wrong turn and you were suddenly afraid to be with your partner - and surely that was the moment to leave. Walk away and don't look back, I always thought. Why would you stay?

It wasn't about walking away anymore. It was about running.

It was about escape.


This novel starts off with an intense relationship with Catherine Bailey and Lee Brightman, a handsome, charming guy. He's a bouncer (doorman) at a club which she goes to her with her girlfriends, and she randomly runs into him one night. Their relationship quickly turns serious, at which point Lee's behavior becomes more and more strange. He also becomes very controlling, and demands to know where Catherine is at all points of the day. Catherine leaves him, but is eventually drawn back, and that is when the violence starts to spiral out of control.

Lee Brightman reminded me a lot of Christian Grey in 50 Shades - handsome, secretive, charming - but he is what Grey would be if beat up Ana (the lead female character) constantly and mercilessly. Catherine tries to escape after they reunite the second time; she is offered a job in New York City by an old friend (she currently lives in the U.K.) and decides to take it, but it doesn't work out as planned. Her friends are dazzled by Lee and don't believe her when she says he beats her - he is good at beating her in places that can be covered by a shirt or pants - and Catherine is losing more and more hope by the day.

I liked this book a lot, and its narrative structure greatly helps to move the novel along and build suspense. The novel jumps back and forth from 2003, when Catherine first meets Lee in a small U.K. town, to 2007, when Catherine - now Cathy - has a new job in London, and extreme OCD tendencies. She knows Lee is currently locked up in jail, but she can't help but check the front door: once, twice, three times ... and then more. She meets Stuart, a young psychiatrist who moves into her building, and they form a relationship, but she still can't rid herself of her OCD, and it gets worse once Lee is released from jail, after three years inside.

Near the end of the book, however, readers will see that some of her extreme OCD was justified after all, and she must prepare to fight Lee, both mentally and physically.

4.5 stars out of 5.

*Stay tuned to this blog for a Q&A with the author and a giveaway of this novel! I will have copies for three of my lucky readers.

*Disclosure: I received a copy of this book to review. The opinions expressed, however, are my own.

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