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REVIEW: Reward of Three by Kelly Jamieson

Reward-of-Three

Dear Ms. Jamieson,

There’s just no way I can talk about this novella without giving away things which might be regarded as spoilers.  So, be ye warned all who read what follows.

I admit to a weakness for m/m/f menage stories and I think Rule of Three was among the best I’ve read in that niche.  Reward of Three takes up the story three years after the events of Rhythm of Three and begins when Kassidy announces her pregnancy to Dag and Chris.  They had talked about the challenges of raising a child in a poly relationship but had talked to other poly families and decided it’s what they wanted to do.  They had also decided that both Dag and Chris would be the dads, regardless of biology.

The beginning of the story felt a bit sparse and I would have liked to have seen some of the discussions about living in a menage and raising children rather than just being told about them.

But then, something happened and it distanced me so much from the story that it was difficult to read the rest and hard to remain engaged at all.  This is the potentially spoilery bit y’all. I think the blurb broadly hints at what happens and oh how I wish I had read it more carefully because if I had, I would not have requested this book for review.  Kassidy has a miscarriage and the bulk of the rest of the book takes place in the week following as the trio grieve individually and decide whether they can weather the storm together or whether this will break them.

I do have difficulty reading about pregnancy loss.  It’s a personal hot button – without going into too much detail, I think it’s easy to guess why. I either have a very strong emotional reaction and lose my shit completely or I withdraw emotionally from the story so as not to lose my shit.  The latter happened to me here.  I’m not sure that has anything much to do with the way the book was written but it did inform my experience of it.  That being the case, my grade probably needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

I wouldn’t want to suggest that each person who experiences pregnancy loss feels the exact same way.  Of course they don’t. For an unwanted pregnancy, I imagine a miscarriage could even be a relief.  People grieve in different ways and none of those ways a wrong. That said, I found it insulting in the extreme for Dag and Chris to be getting it on the day after Kassidy loses their baby (she’s sleeping in a different room because she wants space).  I get that lovemaking can be a way to feel alive and connected after a loss.  But still.   (Remember, I was pretty shut down when I was reading and I still was pretty flabbergasted by this).

There were aspects of Kassidy’s reaction which rang very true (even as I was reading with my eyes half closed because I didn’t want to know) and I expect that other readers will feel quite moved by her grief.  The book is only about 100 pages and most of it covers about a week. One week is just the tip of the iceberg for someone who suffers a miscarriage of a much wanted baby (as was the case with Kassidy).  I found it extremely difficult to believe and/or accept that Kassidy would be up for vigorous sex with both men ONE WEEK after a miscarriage.  She was 10 weeks pregnant so it’s not like she had a heavy period.  She would likely still have been bleeding.  Now, some people don’t mind having sex when there’s blood but a) it wasn’t mentioned and b) that kind of blood has a different emotional qualilty to me and I just could not and did not want to go there.

There is a happy ending for the trio as they work through their various griefs.  While I don’t think the novella suggests that they’re all fine and dandy after a week (which I appreciated) I did nevertheless get the impression that the worst was over. Um, no.

There is also a happy epilogue one year after and I think readers can guess what happens there.  For me, that was almost harder to read.

So, I’m probably the wrong person to review the book and really, I wish I hadn’t read it.  I think it had too much sex for the content and tone and I found the juxtaposition jarring.  The first book was a little gem but this was a disappointment on a number of levels, some of which had nothing to do with the story really.   I’m not sure what use this review is to anyone and the grade is probably pretty rubbery all things considered. But, for what it’s worth, I give Reward of Three a C-.

Regards,
Kaetrin

 

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Kaetrin started reading romance as a teen and then took a long break, detouring into fantasy and thrillers. She returned to romance in 2008 and has been blogging since 2010. She reads contemporary, historical, a little paranormal, urban fantasy and romantic suspense, as well as erotic romance and more recently, new adult. She loves angsty books, funny books, long books and short books. The only thing mandatory is the HEA. Favourite authors include Mary Balogh, Susanna Kearsley, Joanna Bourne, Tammara Webber, Kristen Ashley, Shannon Stacey, Sarah Mayberry, JD Robb/Nora Roberts, KA Mitchell, Marie Sexton, Patricia Briggs, Ilona Andrews, just to name a few. You can find her on Twitter: @kaetrin67.

17 Comments

  1. Sandra
    Jul 08, 2014 @ 11:42:07

    Kaetrin, great review, and honest!

    And if I can be blunt here…. period blood and sex is one thing, sex a week after a miscarriage @ 10 weeks.. well, I’m just shaking my head. For me, personally, sex wasn’t on the top of my to-do list after my miscarriage. Reconnecting with my partner/s, sure. But were plenty of ways to do that other than doing the deed.

    Seems like the author wasted an opportunity to take this story to some really loving and heartfelt places :(

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  2. Jane Lovering
    Jul 08, 2014 @ 12:58:27

    I was advised not to have sex at all until the bleeding stopped. Infection can be introduced whilst the cervix is still open, so it’s not a good idea, and sex is usually the last thing on your mind following pregnancy loss (except for those so desperate to be pregnant again that they don’t want to wait even a moment.)

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  3. JacquiC
    Jul 08, 2014 @ 13:10:07

    Ugh, no. Not sure how anyone who has ever suffered a miscarriage at 10 weeks (or any time) could contemplate sex within a week (even if it is medically advisable, which my recollection is that it is NOT). My own experience was that my whole being just felt like it needed to focus on physical and emotional healing before I could even contemplate sex again. And that took quite a bit longer than a week.

    Yes, different people grieve differently but this would have resulted in metaphorically chucking this book on the trash pile for me too.

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  4. cleo
    Jul 08, 2014 @ 13:51:03

    Beautiful review Kaetrin

    ReplyReply

  5. Janet
    Jul 08, 2014 @ 15:05:55

    Miscarriage is the only story line I cannot read if its not written really well. I was told to wait 6 weeks after mine, but I would have waited regardless.

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  6. willaful
    Jul 08, 2014 @ 16:17:34

    A big NOPE from here as well. Though I don’t think anything can be as bad as Kleypas’s Suddenly You, in which the hero sticks food inside the heroine after her miscarriage…

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  7. hapax
    Jul 08, 2014 @ 16:36:27

    @willaful: OMG tell me you are making that up please no please nopenopenope…

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  8. Sandra
    Jul 08, 2014 @ 18:34:39

    Willaful, huh…say what

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  9. Kaetrin
    Jul 08, 2014 @ 22:37:15

    @willaful: OMG really? What did he put in there? o-0

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  10. Kaetrin
    Jul 08, 2014 @ 22:39:37

    @Sandra: @Jane Lovering: @JacquiC: yes, exactly.

    @cleo: thx :)

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  11. Kaetrin
    Jul 08, 2014 @ 22:40:55

    @Janet: I avoid it like the plague but this one kind of caught me by surprise. It shouldn’t have really. I didn’t read the blurb closely enough to decipher the code.

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  12. willaful
    Jul 08, 2014 @ 23:18:56

    @Kaetrin: I’ve kind of blocked it out… strawberries, maybe.

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  13. Kaetrin
    Jul 08, 2014 @ 23:21:39

    @willaful: ohgodwhy?

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  14. willaful
    Jul 08, 2014 @ 23:34:24

    @Kaetrin: For the world’s most ill-advised oral sex scene. He also pretty much forces it on her over her protests.

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  15. Kaetrin
    Jul 08, 2014 @ 23:48:24

    @willaful: that is so many kinds of awful I can’t even…

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  16. Lozza
    Jul 09, 2014 @ 09:23:33

    I also really liked Rule of Three, read Rhythm of Three, and was looking forward to this one so bought and read it when it came out yesterday. I guess I read enough of the blurb to expect a pregnancy, but I did not expect the miscarriage.
    I’ve had a pregnancy loss, and while I don’t mind reading stories about miscarriage, I think I’m probably like many other commenters in that I’m more likely to be critical of the details of how it’s handled in the story.
    This story felt like a different thing entirely from the first two in the series and I found that jarring. The first two weren’t without angst, but I’d still classify them as erotic romance. This story didn’t feel like a romance at all to me- it was a short story about a family (albeit a nontraditional one) dealing with grief, and it happened to have a lot of sex in it. As a story about grieving a miscarriage, if you overlook the issues with poorly-timed sex that others have mentioned, I actually think it was well done and gives an interesting portrayal of different people’s reactions to loss (and an interesting commentary on how their partners interpret those reactions). But that wasn’t at all the story that I was expecting or looking for here.

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  17. Kaetrin
    Jul 09, 2014 @ 19:17:20

    @Lozza: Yes, I didn’t read the blurb closely enough. If I had done so, I would have skipped the book entirely. Pregnancy loss is something I avoid because reasons. There were things which I felt were wrong/insulting but the actual dealing with grief, particularly on the part of Kassidy had a lot of truth to it – because of my reasons, I tend to distance myself or lose it when this subject comes up in a novel. I found myself distanced here and that is why I put the caveat around the review – I very deliberately drew back from the emotion of it and *tried* to be unaffected which is just about the opposite of what I usually do. So my reaction to the book was deliberately dampened. I wanted to be sure to let people know that so they could make up their own minds about how useful the review actually was to them.

    I think you’re right, the whole thing was a bit unexpected and I wonder if if will trip a few readers up because of that?

    ReplyReply

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