Ruthless Awakening by Sara Craven
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a very good one if you like the old school Harlequin Presents. Ms. Craven has written Rhianna in such a way that you feel a lot of sympathy for her. Rhianna definitely got a raw deal in her young life. Her mother is reviled because of her affair with Ben Penarvon, who had an invalid wife, and her mother was hired to be her nurse. When her parents died, she ended up living with an aunt who never loved her, and treated her like a burden the whole time. She grew up as the child of the hired help on the Penarvon estate. Diaz was nice to her, and she fell in love with him as a young girl, but he catches her in a compromising position which makes her look like she's definitely following in her mother's footsteps. Her aunt puts her out and she has to make her own way in life.
Years later, Rhianna has made a name for herself playing the femme fatale on a television drama. It's pretty ironic that she has taken a role of the scheming, low-moraled vixen on the show, and in real life, some people see her that way, particularly Diaz. You see, Diaz believes she is having an affair with her best friends fiance', and has gotten pregnant by him. When she arrives to attend her friend's wedding, Diaz is keeping a close eye on her to make sure she doesn't try to destroy things for his cousin, who is Rhianna's best friend. He even kidnaps her onto his yacht the night before the wedding to ensure she can't ruin his cousin's day.
Rhianna is playing yet another role in real life. She's hiding some very ugly secrets, secrets which paint her harlot red. I asked myself why she didn't just speak up, but Rhianna had her reasons. Plus, she was afraid to follow through on her long-held feelings for Diaz. It was better for them to stay enemies than to give her heart to him. She thinks Diaz hates the sight of her, but she is very, very wrong. Diaz is an enigmatic figure. You get tantalizing glimpses of his feelings for Rhianna, but his troubled family life has caused him to play his cards very close to his chest. In the end, you truly see how much he always loved Rhianna. In that sense, he stayed sympathetic for me, even though Rhianna saw his actions in a very different light, due to the fact that she was used to feeling disliked and unwanted.
This book is yet another multi-layered story by Sara Craven. She is very good at writing stories that show you different sides of the story, and slowly assembling the pictures, so that you either confirm your suspicions, or end up with a big surprise. I thought I had this one figured out, and I did in part. But, things were even more complicated than I thought. The puzzle pieces were there, as I read, but I had no clue how the final picture would look when fully assembled. I feel like I got a very intense, involving romance, but also a dramatic story full of old secrets. These secrets kept by the parents cause a lot of pain for the children. But fortunately, they find solace and love together.
This is classic Sara Craven, and it was very well done.
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