Author: Shari J. Ryan
Rating: 3.5 - 4/5
Thanks to NetGalley and Booktrope for letting me receive a digital copy of this book.
At twenty-three, I’m left with a decision. The outcome could be life or death.
Trent hit me once, and I cried. Then he hit me again. And again. After a while, I got used to it, as I slept on the floor beside his bed, night after night.
Everyone told me to leave him, but I can't. He won't let me.
The moment I wanted to give up on myself and any form of hope, Kemper—a tall, sexy Marine just home from Afghanistan walked into my bar. With one look in his eyes, I saw pain that mirrored my own.
At first, I thought maybe he would be my prince charming, riding in to save me, but all it took was one tragedy for me to remember…fairy tales don’t exist in real life.
When I saw Ravel being up on NetGalley, I didn't even hesitate to request it. I loved Shari J. Ryan's book TAG and so there was no doubt I'd like this one, as well. Even though I get really angry at reading all these protecting the country sayings, I'm glad the book didn't contain of that only. The love story was the main part, as it should be.
Daphne has never really felt loved by anyone. Her parents are too caught up in their own marriage mess that they can't see what her daughter has to struggle with. Her boyfriend abuses her regularly, not only with words, but also sexually. He even makes her sleep on the floor, instead of sharing a bed with him. Used to it by now, Daphne doesn't see an escape, almost accepting her destiny. That is, until one night of homecoming, she meets the army guy Kemper (Shari J. Ryan comes up with the best male names, seriously!). He shows her that there's more to life than refusing to let yourself be loved and getting abused in the most horrible way. As their feelings develope and Daphne ends up speaking up for herself, their love is questioned by several events. Is their love strong enough to survive, especially when Kemper goes back serving for the army?
Let's start with the way Daphne and Kemper meeting, focusing on the thing I didn't like in this book. Daphne's boyfriend is a real jerk and is definitely one of the jealous type, so why would he let her work at a bar?! Even if the visitors stay low, it didn't make sense to me. I know not every abuse is the same, but it seemed really unrealistic to me that he let her go out and she just did it. Like, hey, go out and deal with the consequences later on. Why would she do that?!
Anyway... I liked this book a lot and stayed up late reading page after page. I liked that we got to read both point of view's, Daphne's and Kemper's, because it was good to see what they both had to deal with. While Daphne suffered from her abusive boyfriend, Kemper had all these feelings of guilt inside of him, because his best friend died in Afghanistan. The funeral scene had me in tears. That guy was like a brother to Kemper, so the idea of losing him for good is a hard one for him. Totally relateable. I enjoyed reading about the parts in which he kind of talked to his best friend, thanking him for Daphne and apologizing for letting him down. My heart was sobbing.
So, actually, all kind of topics are discussed in this book. Parents who don't realizie how much their daughter needs their love, a cheating boyfriend who happens to slap his girlfriend across the face if he's in the mood for it, a guy who's in love with a woman he thinks deserves better, a girl wanting to find one true love, and so on... It seems like a lot, but there's just the right amount of all the above in Ravel. I was never overwhelmed by any topic, they all got their fair share.
Usually, I have a hard time reading books about abusive boyfriends. Most of the time, they are rather depressing than anything else. Of course, an abusive boyfriend isn't a joke and a real issue, but I'm glad Ravel included some hope in it, too. It appeared so impossible and yet Shari J. Ryan found a good way of handling things. I'm not sure which book of hers I like best, but I don't have to decide, do I?! I can safely say that I liked this work and I can only recommend it, because it's really good and making you want to continue and continue until the last page.