A poignant and bittersweet love story…

I’m not quite sure where to start with this one. I’m a lover of dark romance, the darker the better— however, there are some topics that make me a little uncomfortable. I will never really whinge and moan about those topics if they serve to tell the story and aren’t there for purely entertainment purposes. I understand that the story is for entertainment, however, many books serve to raise awareness to sensitive topics. That I have no problem with, and I’m so relieved that Absolution did just that. Saying that, I didn’t find that the story was particularly dark, or even angsty. It’s a strange one because some elements are dark but overall there isn’t that all consuming dark feel to it. I feel like I’m blathering, but it’s just that it’s difficult to explain.

Character wise,I just loved Declan. Like seriously loved the pants off him, he has this edge that is at times unsettling and other times forbidden— but in general I just wanted him to let freaking loose! This only happens closer tot he ending, but to be honest I was goner way before he did so. As a character he is incredibly developed and I MUST give Missy Johnson her dues because she created a man that was not only beautiful but also conflicted and self-berating. He has so many sides to him that you are constantly learning something new. He creates a barrage of feelings that serve only to emotionally attach yourself to him. Which in some ways made me despise Hannah. Understandably she harbours negative feelings toward him, the way in which their pasts cross isn’t pretty and in all honesty, I would probably feel the same if I were in her shoes. HOWEVER, as the plot progresses and certain truths come to light she is really ungraceful. I basically wanted to batter her with a wet fish. I’m a woman who doesn’t like to admit that she is wrong, however, were I faced with her situation, I would have to make amends. Obviously she does, one way or another… more so because Declan genuinely believes in practicing what he preaches. Poor guy. Have I said that I love him? I really feel like he deserved more for the way she treated him. But hey ho… that’s love for you.

Plot wise the story is very well told and although there isn’t the suffocating angst that comes with a true dark romance, there is an unease through it that doesn’t allow you to get completely settled into your seat. I found myself holding my breath and chewing my lips because I was so apprehensive about the turns the story would take. That sensation kept well and truly gripped and glued to the book. I couldn’t put it down because I was so desperate to see what Missy had in store given the heart spasming chemistry between Declan and Hannah. You know, he is a devout priest who is invested in his faith. They have a complicated and sordid history. The push and pull of who they are and their pasts leaves you somewhat clueless as to how it’ll pan out for them. But, this is a romance… 

The romantic aspect of this book, in my opinion, came into play a little too late. There were a lot of thoughts crossing minds, but it wasn’t till part of the way through the last third of the book that there was a kiss. The kissing was phenomenal, but once the first was had it felt like there was a rush to get them together together and it resulted in very vague sex that wasn’t particularly amazing. In my head, Declan is a freaking sex GOD, I bet he can shag like a rabid rabbit! I didn’t find that the sex added or took away from the story, but if you’re going to write sex… WRITE IT, don’t be shy about it. In all honesty, this wouldn’t put me off the book because the story itself is brilliant. I wish that Missy Johnson had beefed up the ending because there are certain issues that I wanted to see resolved in more depth and not as an almost passing comment. I would’ve also liked to have their romance developed further rather than going from 0-100 in a flick of a few pages. But the fact of the matter is that I really enjoyed this book and it being my first Missy Johnson adventure has only made want to read more of her books!

About the Book

Declan James was the perfect guy. 
He was sweet. Charming. Caring. Until he wasn’t. 

Fourteen years ago, his actions tore apart my family. He ruined my sister’s life and nothing was ever the same again. But now, a decade later, he’s back.

When he walks into my office, asking for my help, I’m shocked, but nothing prepares me for what I’m about to learn. I see how far he’s gone to redeem himself and I know that he’s changed. I also know that, as a priest, he’s more off limits than ever.

If I help him, my family will never forgive me.
If I fall in love with him, I will never forgive myself.

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Excerpt

“You’re not the first person to be shocked by my choice of calling.”

“Your family?” I guess. He nods. “I’m assuming they probably had bigger and better things in mind for you, but it’s a step up from rapist right?” His eyes widen and I cringe. Shit, I can’t believe I just said that.

“I can see why you might think that, but my father is very anti-religion, so I’m not sure he would agree,” he smirks and rubs his chiselled jawline, giving me a pointed look. “Are you done now?” 

“I’m sorry that was way out of line,” I mumble, admitting I went too far. “Sometimes I say things without thinking.”

“It’s okay,” He shrugs. His dark eyes penetrate mine. I’m shaking, but I hold his gaze, refusing to look away. “You get a free pass today to say whatever you like to me and then tomorrow you need to start giving me a chance. Is that fair?”

I’m not loving the part where I give him a chance, but I have so many questions burning inside of me that I’m dying to ask that I sit forward, and place my hands under my thighs.

“Okay I’ll play,” I say, staring at him. I question everything he says because it hurts too much to believe him. Why should he get to move on? “Why this?”

“Because it was the only way I could see getting my life back on track. I was at the point where I had nothing to live for, and God changed that for me. He gave me hope. I had something that was mine. I was making a difference.”

“How long have you been a Priest for?” I say the word like it’s dirty but only because he’s makes it that way. It’s like he’s taken one of the purest professions in the world and tainted it. 

“Five years. After I got out of prison, I was in a bad place. Everything that happened with Cecily really messed me up and then hearing that she…. His voice trails off like he can’t complete his train of thought, so I make him, because he doesn’t get to do this. He doesn’t get to make this about him.

“You mean how she killed herself?” I say. I stare at him, my anger fuelling the strength I’m somehow finding within myself to confront him. This is what I’ve wanted for so long, to be able to face him and show him how much he hurt me. “How she ended her life after what you did to her and the way your family dragged her through the mud. Is that what you mean? You can’t even say it, Declan. Imagine how hard it was for me to live it.”

“I never wanted that all I wanted to do was plead guilty and move on—”

“Move on?” I whisper, tears spilling down my cheeks. “Like my sister got to move on? Like my dad moved on by ramming his car into a tree? You ruined our lives. Why should you get to move on?”

“I’m sorry about your father,” he says softly.

“You’re sorry?” I laugh. I throw my hands up in the air. “Well, so long as you’re sorry.”

“You have every right to be angry at me Hannah, but I’m just trying to explain it from my point of view. You asked me why I became a priest. This is why. Everything that happened is why.”

“But you don’t get to explain,” I whisper. “Because it’s not fair. All you get to do is sit there and take whatever I decide I need to say to you in order for me to get through this. That’s the only thing you need to do here. You don’t get to justify what you did, or tell me how much you’ve changed, because I don’t care. All I care about is being able to be in the same room as you without feeling like I’m going to be sick. Is that too much to ask?”

“No. No it’s not,” he mumbles. His eyes cast downward and I laugh. He can’t even look at me.

About the Author

Missy lives in a small town in Central Victoria with her husband, and her confused pets (a dog who think she’s a cat, a cat who thinks he’s a dog…you get the picture). 

When she’s not writing, she can usually be found looking for something to read.

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Marta Aguiar
Written by Marta Aguiar
I'm a mid twenties mummy living in North London, a graduate in English literature and creative writing from the university of Aberyswyth in Wales. I love to bake, cook, read and watch films, and love spending time with my little toddler, Jasper, and our new addition, Mylo. I blog about our family life and my general interests, with the odd guest blog from my partner, Kayne.