Read with: iBooks for iPad
Genre: New Adult Contemporary
Series: The Darkest Joy, #1
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Hero: Chance Taylor
Heroine: Brooke Elizabeth Starr
Date of Publication: February 18, 2014
Started On: February 17, 2014
Finished On: February 21, 2014
The Darkest Joy is my second novel by Marata Eros. I absolutely loved what she brought to the table with her novel A Terrible Love, a story that I adored on so many levels. With that in mind, I requested for a galley of The Darkest Joy from netgalley, its premise and setting one that intrigued me when I read the blurb. And everything seemed to go really well, especially with the opening chapter introducing the reader to a wealth of horror when Brooke’s family is slaughtered while she listens in on as the whole nightmare unfolds.
Five months later, the investigation into the brutal killing behind her family’s death still remains to be solved and Brooke is running, running from the darkness of the memories and the guilt that threatens to swallow her as a whole. Moving to Homer, Alaska seems to be a farthest that she can go to bury herself under the cloak of anonymity, where no one would ask her the pressing questions which she needs to get away from, questions that haunt and plague her even as she flees the guilt ravaging her heart and soul.
When Brooke meets her employer Chance Taylor, it is at first the music he strums effortlessly from his guitar that pierces her to her very soul, reaching deep into the frozen cold that has protected her from her baser emotions for the past couple of months. Leaving her prospective future as a pianist, one who has had a future at the Juilliard well behind her had seemed like a wise choice up till the moment Chance invades her soul and etches a place for himself in her heart.
Chance is the love and leave them type personified, his one true and only love being the sea, the passion for which is satisfied by his occupation as a deep sea fisherman. But the minute Brooke enters the picture, everything Chance has believed in up till then ceases to exist until all he can think, feel and want is Brooke in every single way he can have her. But Brooke’s fear and guilt for a past that cannot be changed, together with a killer that seems to be nowhere near to stopping the litter of bodies that keep mounting proves to be the obstacle that seems to stand in the way of the joy that could be theirs if only Brooke were willing to make peace with the past and move on.
The Darkest Joy is a story that disappointed me on many levels. The opening chapter was the only good thing about this novel, the level of detail that went on to showcase Brooke’s life in Alaska in the chapters that followed sometimes getting so tedious to the point that I skim read large chunks of the novel to pick out the story that should have flowed smoothly otherwise. I found the whole thing with Brooke denying herself the closure that was required, especially turning her back on the authorities trying their hardest to keep her up to date on the developments of the case unbelievable at times. I can understand survivor’s guilt, the fact that someone might want to bury themselves right in the ground with their loved ones when tragedy strikes, but I couldn’t understand Brooke not being moved enough to actually WANT to seek justice for the death of her entire family.
I found Chance to be at odds with what his character was portrayed to be at the beginning of the story. Having lived practically most of his life in Homer, Alaska, everyone who knows him attests to his love em’ and leave em’ lifestyle. But throughout the story, Chance seemed too besotted with Brooke to really live up to any of the traits revealed to be the background of his character. I can understand a man changing for the right woman though it seldom happens in real life, but going against every single facet of his character for Brooke that soon just seemed highly unlikely to me.
When the villain was finally revealed, the surprise came from the fact that it all seemed so hard to take in, the fact that there seemed to be several gaps missing in the tale of how the villain had come to be as portrayed in the story. I believe that the novel could have done away with more than half the story and added more relevant chapters to keep the story flowing in a direction that would have captivated the reader rather than just portraying the sense of guilt that plagues Brooke, keeping her bound with an inability to let go and move on.
The only thing positive for me about the novel was the at times beautiful writing that came to light in bits and pieces as the story progressed. The Marata Eros I remember from my one single experience with her prose is one who writes beautifully well and reaches deep into your heart to invoke emotions that cannot be otherwise. And that was practically the only thing that kept me turning the pages even when I wanted to give up and label this a DNF. But all that being said, you just might find this to be your cup of tea while it didn’t meet any or all of my expectations when I picked it up. Recommended for fans of the author and fans of new adult romances.
But those eyes, those haunted eyes, they’re burned into my brain. Her sadness has caught me like the fish I net. I’ve hit her hook without even knowing I’m in the ocean; saving her has reeled me in inextricably.
And I don’t even know her name.
He looks up and our gazes meet. Chance Taylor steals my breath. His open smile melts me.
I walk toward him.
It feels like a death march.
I feel the tip of him at my entrance, and his knees split my legs farther apart even as he enters me slowly, each hot inch sinking deeper, and I let out a hoarse cry, pressing myself back against him. My hips rise and he puts a staying hand on the back of my head and the other at the small of my back, pinning me in place, and I whimper in surrender.
Then he’s fully inside me with a single thrust and I scream my pleasure into his quiet house, absorbed by all that wood and I come until I can’t breathe. The pulses of my orgasm radiate through my tingling body and wash over Chance, grabbing at him as he grows impossibly harder, his own release crashes into him as he pours himself into me.