Series: Consequences #2
Author: Aleatha Romig
Review: Claire finds herself free and clear when the Governor of Iowa pardons her and purges her record. With few friends and a tense relationship with her sister, she moves to northern California to live with her college boyfriend's ex-fiance. Claire tries to put her life back together post-Tony, but she knows he will never truly let her go. We also learn there is another nefarious player in the game, who has both Tony and Claire in their sights.
I really liked the first book and could not wait to read this. I read a few reviews on Goodreads and what intrigued me the most were comments that people were 'Team Tony' after reading this. I'm not a prude by any means, but how people can get behind a man who **spoiler alert, stop reading if you have not read book 1 and plan to** kidnaps, rapes, beats and then frames his own wife for attempted murder...well, I'm sure you can understand my apprehension yet also desire to see how the author tries to accomplish this. That is character rehab that I've never witnessed before.
The first part of this book was great. After Claire is released from prison and moves to California, she tries to put her life back together by having normal friendships(including one with a handsome neighbor, Harry) and repairing the relationship with her sister. She also suspects Tony may have been behind more bad deeds than she initially thought, and she sets out as detective of sorts to research his past. She knows it's only a matter of time before Tony tracks her down and she is prepared to be a worthy opponent this time around. Oddly, there is no suggestion of therapy by any of her friends or sister-after what Claire had been through, I think this would have been a logical recommendation.
As Claire researches Tony's past, she discovers he found his parents murdered as a young man in his early 20s and she feels sorry for him. Hey, I get it, it was traumatic but after all the stuff he put her through, it's amazing she was able to feel compassion towards him. When Tony finally tracks her down, he easily manipulates Claire back into a relationship of sorts and 'promises' he will win her back and not physically hurt her (I was impressed by his devious ability to start 'publicly dating her'). When she starts getting emotionally involved and her friends and family express their concern, Claire is very upset with them. How dare they question her decisions? (She was only kidnapped and abused by this man for months, but hey, now she's making sound decisions). It was at this point in the book, where Claire was choosing to be with Tony (I will admit she has more backbone in her interactions with him) that I lost respect for her. Of course, I couldn't stop reading to see where the story went!
Another big plot point of this book were sections written in the past, which primarily followed Tony's grandmother's caregiver. She has a big role in the present day (easy to figure out who she is) and unbeknownst to Tony and Claire, she is also trying to use them for her own revenge.
Although this book started strong, the second part was not as good. I still couldn't stop reading to see where the story was going.
Another note-Romig has excellent quotes at the beginning of each chapter that really tie into the plot.