All The Finer Things by Stephanie Connelley Worlton, AF, 2014, eARC, 276p, Rating=4
Source: provided by author in exchange for an honest review
Married to one of the most lucrative and sought after plastic surgeons in SoCal, Megan Hamilton has it all. Her posh life, designer clothes, and stunning penthouse leave her wanting for nothing… or do they? Controlled by his obsessive pursuit of perfection, Doctor Matthew Hamilton will stop nothing short of breaking his young, spirited bride into a subservient trophy wife. But when parenthood enters their picture, the entire game changes. How far will Megan have to go to escape Matt's obsessive control and abuse? And how much will she have to lose before she gets there?
Doctor Matthew Hamilton has everything he loves - money, power, reputation. Or at least he thinks he does, until his spoiled wife decides to leave and unknowingly blows a hole right in the heart of his carefully laid plans. With Megan gone, he faces to lose everything and he won't stop until he finds her, because losing is something Matthew simply does not do.
When a fancy car and it's equally fancy owner take up residence next door, Ammon Carter's life of solidarity gets turned on its head. His quiet orchard community is no place for a pampered princess, but as a Scoutmaster, his deep moral code doesn't allow him to be anything but courteous to the young mother. Content as a bachelor, he does his best to keep his distance from the misplaced beauty and her son... unfortunately, his dog has different plans.
I was intrigued from the very beginning. Stories of spousal abuse would do that to me. I had to see it through. I had to know that it ends with justice so I’d know whether to throw the book in the fire or not. I didn’t and I’m not necessarily saying that there was justice in the end. You’ll have to read the novel to find out for sure. Suffice to say that I didn’t throw the book because it had the aura of peace throughout the read. Even when there were incidents of violence, there was a presence of calmness immediately thereafter. For that reason, I didn’t find this book thrilling in the sense of a mystery read. The story of abuse itself foreshadows that there will be something dangerous lurking just around the corner so some sort of mystery was implied. However, I believe that the author wasn’t primarily interested in getting you at the edge of your seat. Instead she focused on character building through this love story. She concentrated on how people’s personalities, values, and standards give clear cut identity to one’s character. Hence, in regards to looking at people, this vision was a subtle reminder of the old adage, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. For example, outwardly, Matt portrays himself as a pillar of the community but behind closed doors he smacks his wife around. Moreover, Megan outwardly seems too posh to survive a country life but come to find out that inside she’s a down to earth woman. Oh, and let's not forget Megan's mom who thinks that she's a caring mom but really a witch! Yep, I know who I liked and didn't.
I did find character inconsistencies. I don’t think that Matt would have taken him that long to find Megan. I think Ruth is smart enough to put two and two together and figure out that Matt was the man Megan was running away from. I don’t think Carter should have kissed Megan even if it was romantic. Funny, what I think about these characters didn’t really take away too much from the essence of the story. In retrospect, I think they illustrated that people sway a bit from their character. In my examples, Matt had the money to be resourceful but maybe he’s just stupid. Ruth may have been smart but she fell for Matt’s charm and temporarily lost her head. Finally, Carter was human and succumbed to temptation. Wow, this novel is better than I thought! So why not 5 stars? Oddly enough the "overall peace" that I mention in the beginning was a double edged sword. Everything was too easy. I wanted to have more oomph somewhere, but strangely enough I don't know exactly where. Even so, I think this was an overall fabulous novel and recommend to readers who likes clean romance.
You're in luck! It's currently on sale for 99 cents. What a deal! Well worth it.