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I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Darkest Joy by Marata Eros
Published by Gallery Books on February 18, 2014
Genres: New Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance, Suspense
Format: ARC (322 pages)
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A sexy and poignant new adult novel from New York Times bestseller Marata Eros, about two lost souls who find each other in the wake of tragedy, only to learn that love may not be enough to heal the wounds of a dark and tortured past...
Twenty year-old Brooke Starr has escaped the aftermath of a brutal tragedy by abandoning her music studies and moving north to take a summer position as a part-time deck hand on a deep-sea fishing boat. When her survivor’s guilt becomes unbearable, Brooke realizes there's only one thing she can do to finally erase the pain.
Deep sea fisherman, Chance Taylor, has just wrapped his guitar set at the local saloon when he sees the silhouette of a young woman in repose, the full moon highlighting her shadow as she plummets from a pier too high for diving... into water too cold to survive. Without thinking, he plunges in after her, saving Brooke from drowning.
As Chance works to save her from her own emotional fragility, Brooke finally begins to learn how to save herself. But when their chemistry begins to consume them, Brooke withdraws. She’s determined to be the master of her own destiny... until the past catches up with her in a cataclysmic plan so dark, so final... it threatens their love and their very lives.
Proceed With Caution:
This book contains murder, PTSD, and attempted suicide.
Our narrator is twenty-one year old Brooke, whose family was just brutally murdered. She inherits her aunt’s cabin in Alaska, so she moves up there to escape her empty life.
The Darkest Joy is definitely the stereotypical New Adult romance full of angst and problematic content. I probably would have liked it more back in 2014, but even then I still think I’d have been bothered by the issues. It started off fine. Brooke is driving home for the holidays, chatting with her mom, when suddenly she hears screaming and the phone hangs up. Cut to several months later with Brooke moving to Alaska and getting a job with a fisherman in hopes of just…living instead of going to Julliard like she planned. All well and good until Brooke tries to hang out with some locals.
The Darkest Joy completely lost me when Brooke flees the bar during a musical performance, throws herself into the ocean, and is then rescued by Chance. Brooke is triggered by music since she was a star pianist before her family was killed, and she’s obviously severely depressed. However, Chance just takes her home and that’s it. No second thought to her safety or well-being. In fact, it’s like it never even happened. This girl threw herself into the ocean with no intention of swimming to shore! How does he just pull her out and take her home?!
To top it all off, he’s her new boss and she just shows up to work like nothing happened. He thinks she’s hot, but she makes it clear that she won’t sleep with her boss. Chance talks about her to another possible suitor and says that he just wants to “sex it out” with her. Um, you mean your employee, whom you saved from suicide last night?! What is his problem?! I’m suppose to want them to fall in love? I don’t think so. Oh, and he does fire her at some point to get into her pants. She didn’t do anything wrong, he just wanted the sex.
Another big issue with The Darkest Joy was how Brooke’s mental state wasn’t really explored at all. She’s just all better suddenly. Like I said, music is triggering for her. Particularly the piano. She says she never wants to see or play or hear a piano ever again. Then she magically discovers a piano in a room in her aunt’s cabin and weeps with joy and starts playing. Wait, what?!
Other than having a problematic romance, The Darkest Joy also has a questionable suspense subplot! Brooke’s family’s case is still open. She avoids calls from the police, which of course puts her in danger because the killer is still on the loose. But Brooke’s family isn’t the only one dead. Other Julliard hopefuls had their family’s murdered as well. The police find out who it is and try to get in touch with Brooke, but instead of just going to her, they go find Chance, and then he goes and finds other dudes, and everyone is just running around town while Brooke is at home, possibly getting murdered! WTF is wrong with these people?! Also, it’s said that the murder knew all of the families and was welcomed into their homes before the murders took place. However, that is never actually explained once the murderer is revealed. There’s no connection.
I was just frustrated with The Darkest Joy. I like dark romance. I like murder plots. I especially like “if I can’t have you, no one can” type stalker plots, but everything here just failed.