Rated 2 of 5 stars
I graciously received this novel from the author for review. Fernandez attempts to dig deep into the emotional turmoil of a love triangle. While this trope is done (and done again) throughout romance novels, In Between, gives a cursory view of an engaged couple who are having trouble connecting due to long working hours until another man at work steals the main character, Rachel, away.
Here’s a synopsis of the story via Goodreads:
Rachel has always wanted one thing, true love. She has dreamed about her perfect wedding since she was little and it seems she will finally get it with her fiancé Ethan. However when Rachel meets Tom, an elegant, smart conceited lawyer, everything she believes and feels is called into question. This is a captivating story about the power of distance, lack of time spent between couples, and confusion that put Rachel In Between the two men. Caught in the web of the consequences of their decisions, life’s twists and turns, and the effects of karma on each of the characters. This book will make you question the reason why we do things, and will push you to side with characters as you live through their choices. In Between emphasizes the importance of bonds, true love and the power of forgiveness, and how these can turn the worst of situations into valuable life lessons of love and hope.
Now to what I thought:
While Fernandez makes a good attempt at carrying the story over a 5 month affair, there were glaring issues with format, editing, dialogue and description. Let’s start with the pros. I liked how Ethan was the quintessential sweet guy (but then subsequently hated how weak he was and overly sappy over Rachel, who was an utter bitch). Tom was a breath of fresh air with his original and fun dates (yet his storyline was very one dimensional). Fernandez makes the dialogue sound very low key which gave it an air of believability (and yet, I felt many areas for meaningful conversation were missed).
Rachel, a secretary, was a train wreck from the very beginning. She was mean to Ethan (who was providing for her and showing love), overly sensitive about him working hard for a better life and never saw the good in anyone while also completing the task of never taking responsibility for her own actions until forced. The rationalization she used to have the affair was paper thin and to try to say she was duped into the affair was an utter lie to the readers. It’s hard to love a book when the main character is so unlikable. Tom, while one dimensional, was probably the best attempt at passion but many times he came across as forced or “extra” in his professions of undying love. The author never gave us a situation or a reason to believe that these two loved each other so deeply. Going on dates and not having meaningful conversations does not make a person fall in love (or at least not in my dating life. LOL). So the passion and love seemed incredibly thin due to the lack of meaningful moments between the two. On the contrary, Ethan does very sweet things for Rachel constantly, showers her with attention and affection yet she overlooks him and goes to Tom who has no evidence of anything other than showing her the same attention and affection she gets at home. Then ironically, when Tom does not show her attention, Rachel turns into a raging lunatic which leads to a tragedy.
Many times in the story, the author missed great opportunities to bring the reader into the deeper emotions within the story. There is a great amount of telling how a person feels and not showing it through the story. Also, there are some weird dialogue choices and repeat points regarding food and eating. Every argument or conversation reverted back to “I’m hungry, let’s eat and forget about it”. So nothing ever gets solved in the readers mind about the argument and the author doesn’t expound on the why, how and what with the main character after these moments. The story teeters along from dates with very little meaningful conversation (and lots of eating and going places) to Rachel being at home with Ethan (and him catering to her like she’s a queen and her feeling guilty…but not really). I believe the author wanted everyone to love Ethan to drive home the fact that Rachel didn’t know what she had. But in the end after things were found out, this was not my favorite sequence of events. Ethan (or anyone else in the story) did not act in a plausible way and most readers by that time are so tired of Rachel’s self-centered attitude that we want Fernandez to end the story differently than it did. At the end of the story, I did not feel like justice was served or a lesson was truly learned. The characters had very little growth, just a lucky (or unlucky?) event to bring them together.
All in all, I appreciate the opportunity to review a debut writer and give (hopefully) helpful critiques to assist the author in creating addictive, alluring books in the future.
Raging Book Reviews
*Book sent for review by the author.