A Willing Surrender by Robyn Donald
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
My feelings about this book are conflicted. I did like the intensity with this story. I felt that the connection between Clary and Morgan was fated in an impossible to rationalize away. However, I just couldn't reconcile the relationship with Susan away. I know that Morgan didn't know that Susan was married when they got together, but he continued to sleep with her after he knew and was willing to take a separation as enough to continue his adulterous relationship with another man's wife. I know my issues stem from my incredible distaste for adultery. I tried to tell myself what Clary told herself, what Morgan did prior to her was his business, but it was too sordid for me to just chalk away. So I could understand how hard it was for Clary, on multiple levels. In addition to unresolved issues from her father's destruction of his own marriage, I think that she was in a very difficult situation with her love for Morgan in direct conflict with her loyalty and love for her brother, the wronged husband. I like that Donald didn't minimize this issue, but it was something they both had to deal with face on. Morgan's way of dealing with it was interesting, and in a forceful way, probably the most direct solution to the problem.
I love a possessive, jealous, obsessed hero, but something about Morgan didn't sit right with me. Maybe I didn't detect enough vulnerability from him early enough on. He seemed a lot more controlling than I like in a hero. While I love a stalkerific hero, I don't like controlling heroes, and Morgan is definitely that. On the good side, his devotion for Clary was undeniable. He showed that what he felt for her was different from what he'd felt for women in the past. This is one of those books where I can say definitively that I wouldn't be happy with a man like this in real life. I'm not sure how many women could be happy with a man like Morgan, with his controlling, somewhat inflexible (the world bends to him and he doesn't bend to the world), and yes, manipulative personality. As an only child, he has a hard sort of self-absorption that expects others to fall in with his own wants and needs. That is not to say he is incapable of generosity or acts of kindness. They are just on his terms. Not sure that would be the ideal marriage partner, honestly.
I decided to give this book four stars because it has a lot of intensity and depth to it, which does appeal to me as a reader. Additionally, I felt a mixture of very vivid emotions as I read it. When I read books, I want to experience the books on a visceral level, and I did feel that with A Willing Surrender. Yes, this is one for readers who can't resist a stalkerific hero, but there were aspects about Morgan's character that compromised my ability to like him as a hero, especially his unethical response to the issue of sustaining an adulterous relationship with another man's wife. He even admitted his jealousy and possessive feelings towards Clary. Put on the other man's shoes! It was like he didn't consider what that might do to another man whose wife he was sleeping with. And it wasn't like he was in love with Susan and truly couldn't let her go. That's undesirable to me.
I know I have massively over-thought this book. What can I say? I can't leave my brain behind when I read books.
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