REVIEW: Love Left Behind by S.H. Kolee
Dear Ms. Kolee:
I’d recommend this book to a specific reader. First, the reader must not mind a super creepy, possessive hero. Second, the reader must not mind a little heroine uncertainty. Third, the reader must like a lot of agnst. If any of those elements doesn’t appeal to a reader, then I wouldn’t recommend this book but as a high emotion, erotic romance, I think this story succeeds where a lot have failed for me in the past.
Emma Mills is nearing the day of her wedding to her high school sweetheart when she realizes that marrying him would be one of the biggest mistakes of her life. Their life together is one of boring comfort and the more Emma analyzed it, the more she realized how little that they had in common. She calls off the wedding, much to the dismay of every one in her life and moves to New York to start anew. She moves in with a family friend, Claire who is an aspiring actress. Claire’s small circle of friends includes Jackson Reynard, a personal trainer and actor.
Jackson pursues Emma and she succumbs fairly quickly. The story is told in essentially two parts. The initial romance between Emma and Jake separated by the breakup and their reconciliation five years later. When Jackson re-enters Emma’s life, he is a major movie star. As Emma muses, it is hard to avoid an ex lover when his face is plastered on tabloid magazines you are forced to star at in the checkout aisle. Jackson as the movie star was fairly believable (more so that Tina Reber’s Love Unscripted)
What’s creepy about the hero? From the beginning Jackson invades Emma’s personal space. For instance, he invites her to his gym and during their training sessions continually touches her to move her into various exercise positions which would be totally inappropriate. But Jackson gets creepier and more possessive in the second half of the book. There is at least one scene in which I kind of drew back from the story because I was a bit afraid of Jake. Yet there is something magnetic about his jealous possessiveness. Even in this first person narrated story you know that he wants Emma more than he wants to breathe.
What about the heroine? I actually liked Emma quite a bit. She was slow to come to decisions in her life – like she took 10 years to figure out that her relationship with Sean was a non starter. When Sean re-enters her life, the decisions she makes regarding him that affect her and Jackson’s life are frustrating but I will say that guilt is a very powerful motivator and I understood the Emma’s motivations even if I didn’t agree with the choices she made. More importantly, though, she was making decisions.
From an objective standpoint, the relationship depicts an unhealthy obsession at least by Jackson for Emma. Within the story, I felt it worked. Emma wanted Jackson as much as he wanted her. His sickness for her was returned and the intensity of the emotions won me over.
The driving force of the book is Emma and Jackson’s relationship that is marred by Jackson’s lack of understanding, Emma’s guilt, and then a major misunderstanding. They don’t change over the course of the book unless you read Jake as becoming more possessive and more obsessed with Emma because he has lost her once. Their relationship is over the top, but I appreciate a sense of exaggeration in stories. It’s not a book I’d recommend to everyone but if the elements I mentioned in the first paragraph aren’t a deterrent, it might be satisfying. One thing that kind of ruined my reading experience was the choose your own adventure epilogue. C+