It’s the depth of winter here where I live right now … what books do you like to read when it’s snowy and white? What books do you read to evoke a real feeling of winter (good or bad)?
What is the price of redemption?
Rescued from sexual slavery by a mysterious Pakistani officer, Caleb carries the weight of a debt that must be paid in blood.
The road has been long and fraught with uncertainty, but for Caleb and Livvie, it’s all coming to an end.
Can he surrender the woman he loves for the sake of vengeance?
Or will he make the ultimate sacrifice?
“Some stories aren’t black and white.”
A few weeks ago I wrote a review for Captive in the Dark by CJ Roberts, which you can find here. In my review for Captive I had spoken about a lesson that Ms. Roberts taught me while reading this beautiful and moving novel , that lesson that the world works by moving in shades of grey. One person’s moral outrage is another’s self-righteous indignation and so on. The above quote solidifies this series perfectly. No one in humanity is pure of all sin. We all sin in one way or another, everything can be villainized or justified in its own way. Look at wars for example, we are always told one view-point, that of the winner, the loser’s side is buried and completely forgotten. Don’t get me wrong I am not trying to justify anything at all. All I am saying is that sometimes what we see is not necessarily what is. In the conclusion of the Dark Duets series Ms. Roberts continues to unravel this tale of Caleb and Livvie`s journey into utter darkness and helps bring them into the light.
“The naïve girl in me had been bitch-slapped into womanhood. I’d been razed by pain, grief, loss and suffering, and honed by lust, rage and an acute awareness of my need to survive.”
Livvie is hands down the best female heroine in a romance actually , not just in a romance book but ever. Here is a young woman who is submerged in complete and utter darkness and yet keeps all of her vibrancy, her spunk if you will. It is so easy for a human being to decay and wither when placed in such dark surroundings, but a truly remarkable person is one that never gives up, a person who fights to the bitter end and always blazes in the path of hope and redemption, Livvie is said person. Livvie never gives up she takes what is available to her and survives. I know normally in romance novels we are drawn to the male lead. This could be because these books are a form of escape, we see these charming, beautiful men riding on their horse gallantly to save the day. What I loved most about this book is that the rescuer is not Caleb but Livvie. Livvie is the one who wears the armor and rides the white steed and comes barreling to save Caleb. She is the light at the end of the tunnel if you will.
Seduced in the Dark begins with Livie being interrogated by and FBI agent at a holding facility. Right from the first page I knew that the sequel to a book I loved so much was not going to disappoint, I also felt relieved that Livvie didn’t get sold into sexual slavery. Through Livvie’s interview with Agent Reed we slowly begin to get an understanding of what happened with Caleb after those days where Captive in the Dark ended, and let me just say that I adored book one but I cherish book two in the Dark Duets Series. We begin to understand Caleb, his past, and the choices that lead to his future.
“She kisses my scars and I create new ones for her.”
I want to talk about Caleb. Out of every romance novel I have ever read I had the strongest reaction to this man. This beautiful, tortured, cruel, soft, scared, violent, and compassionate man. I know what you all must be thinking, that the adjectives I used are a jumble of contradictions, well in truth that is what Caleb is, a giant oxymoron. When I first started reading this book I thought that Livvie was a victim and Caleb a monster, then as the story progressed I realized that Caleb was just as much as a victim as Livvie.
“In the dark, my master let down his guard and he was Caleb again. He didn’t correct me. He didn’t punish me. He didn’t push me away emotionally. Caleb was there to hold me until the nightmares passed. He was there to tell me I was beautiful. He was there to tell me I was going to be okay. In the dark, he seduced me. I didn’t want the seduction to end.”
Caleb is a creature of shadow, he is not one of light or darkness. Caleb is so tortured that one cannot help but to feel such pain for him. I went from wanting to have his head, to feeling such sorrow that his pain became mine. I was so drawn to the sorrows of this man that it broke me. It was as if all his suffering became mine and I was drowning in his pain. I have no idea how Ms. Roberts did this, but it is a testament of her superior talent as an author. She made me feel so many emotions, this book ruined me and tormented me but only in the best possible way. I believe Caleb is beautiful and perfect in his imperfections.
“You think you’re different from men like Caleb. You see everything in black and white, you don’t care about the whole story; you don’t care about the gray. Some stories aren’t black and white, Agent Reed.”
This line is another one of my favorites. I think it is so easy for us to not look at every facet of life. How can we judge when we don`t know what we are judging. The superficial is not the factual. After reading The Dark Duets Series I just felt in shock. Not shock because of the intense subject matter but in shock because Ms. Roberts held a mirror to my face. She held that mirror high and made me take a look at my personal hypocrisy at how I see the world around me and how as humans we are all so scared to change our mind. I had a lot of misconceptions about this series, I was one of those people who thought it was something sordid, I am ashamed to admit I judged a book by it`s cover. Do not make the same mistake as I did. There are not many books out there that make you take a step back and evaluate life, love, society, and culture, this book did all of that. After reading this book I felt like I had been slapped, hugged, and loved. Above everything else this is a book about love, redemption and salvation. It is about how humanity has this immense capacity for love even when it suffers untold torture. This book is a labour of love and as a reader I felt this love in every word. It was a privilege to read such a brilliant honest and in your face novel.
There are a few songs that I listened to constantly while reading these novels and I wanted to share them with you here.
Why by Annie Lennox
Teardrop by Massive Attack
Ugly Side by Blue October
Damaged by Plumb
I give Seduced in The Dark 5 stars of perfection.