Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Book Review: Betraying Ever After by Kelly Martin

I wasn't sure if I wanted to review the whole trilogy all at once on this one, or if it would make more sense to do each one individually. But since a) the third book isn't out yet and 2) I didn't have time to write a movie review this week (we're busy planning a trip out of town for a friend's wedding and we've all got the stomach bug, to boot) I decided to just take the books one at a time. So, without further ado...
When baron's-daughter-turned-charwoman Emma is dolled up and sent on a mission to a ball to make excuses for an ailing debutante, it's supposed to be a simple task. Get in, deliver the message, get out. She had no intention of drawing any attention to herself, least of all the attention of the city's most notorious playboy. Vaughan is a ladies' man, man's man...honestly, he's anything BUT a man. He's an immature man-child who now suddenly has his late father's title to live up to. And that includes selecting a wife of title and propriety. He doesn't know the first thing about Emma. He just knows she's caught his eye. Neither one of them knows that their mutual infatuation is all part of a carefully planned means to an end, and that a dark master is pulling all the strings for his own nefarious purposes.

If Cinderella had been a true-to-life story, I imagine it might have gone something like this. Gone are the fairy godmothers, pumpkin coaches and animal friends of the story you grew up with. What remains is a twisted tale that's almost as equally about the antagonist as it is our heroine. And, I gotta say...as far as antagonists go, Mr. Dodsworth is an incredibly complex and multi-faceted one. A singular man who forges a reputation as a master blackmailer and refuses to let go of a long-held grudge, he'll make you want to knock every one of his teeth out before the book is over. Like Loki in the Marvel universe, he's the villain you love to hate. And I can't get enough of him.

But this is Emma's story, obviously. Emma may not be as deep as Dodsworth, but she's still a likeable character with quite a bit of personality. Content to make the best of a bad situation, her optimistic outlook is a refreshing contrast to Dodsworth's own personal darkness. Of course, little does she know how directly that darkness will influence her...and how much she influences it. While her pluck got a little *too* altruistic at times, it wasn't enough to make her unbelievable. She's a grounded girl with hopes and dreams, and she'll be darned if she doesn't indulge in a selfish desire or two along the way. She is, after all, only human.

Vaughan...What can I say about him? I like him...ish. It's not that he's a bad character. He's pretty well-rounded, too. Kinda. But, as this is a "Cinderella story", he falls in love at first sight and, frankly...I've never been much a fan of the idea. It's just a personal preference. He's a shallow, callous playboy who takes to the straight and narrow, not for noble motives, but because his position basically forces him to. And while he does show some scruples before the book is over...I feel like his transformation needed a bit...more. More time. More detail. More...something. Can't quite place my finger on it. It just kind of happened so fast, and I'm not entirely convinced that a beautiful girl is enough to make a guy do a 180. But then, I suppose I've known too many jerky guys to think such a major change could happen, quite literally, overnight.

That being said, it's still a cute book. Well written. Well planned out. And a great start to a trilogy. Which is saying a lot because the second book is even better. :)
For more of Kelly Martin's books, check out her website at www.kellymartinbooks.com. You'll find info on her, her books, links to all her social media (which you should subscribe to all of them, just so you can bask in her epicness in every possible forum), and all that other fun stuff.

Stick around for more book reviews. They'll be coming less frequently than my movie reviews just because it takes longer to read a book than watch a movie (duh). But I'll try to do at least one a month (God willing and the crick don't rise).

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