BOOK: Love You Better
AUTHOR: Natalie Martin
PUBLISHER: Lake Union Publishing
MY RATING: ★ ★ ★ (3.5/5)
After a soul-destroying breakup with her ex, Smith, Effie Abbott has met the man of her dreams. She’s had the whirlwind romance and the fairy-tale wedding to the charming and suave Oliver Barton-Cole, and life seems firmly back on track.
Things were never simple between Smith and Effie, so when he forces his way back into her life, Effie knows he’s a complication she doesn’t want or need. After all, she has Oliver, a man who loves her better than Smith ever did.
But when cracks in her marriage begin to emerge and Oliver shows flashes of a darker side, Effie has to question just how well she really knows her husband, and whether Smith is back to derail her seemingly perfect marriage or save her from it.
I received an electronic copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This book was 3.5 stars for me. Anyone who has followed my reviews for awhile could tell you that I’m not really into the romance genre, because frankly, it’s just too predictable to me. There’s a conflict but then the two people in love always get their happily ever after. I’m trying to broaden my horizons a bit more by getting into Women’s Fiction, but I’m finding that so much of it is just romance novels. While Love You Better is not really any exception to this realization, I felt the book touched on a few hot button issues, and the characters felt more real and relatable than most romance based novels I’ve read. Specifically being that the main character isn’t some giant airhead who’s obsessed with some boy.
Okay, she is obsessed with a boy, but the fact is, she has priorities and it doesn’t feel like the character is written specifically to be with this person.
Effie is a twenty-something woman living in London. After a traumatic experience in her past relationship with a man named Smith that leaves Effie utterly heartbroken, she finds herself quickly wedded to her rebound, Oliver. Oliver is everything that Smith isn’t, and ultimately is probably the reason Effie is blindsided into marriage so quickly. While their romance seems perfect – Oliver comes from a good lineage, has a respectable job as a lawyer, and provides Effie with a beautiful home and financial security – the truth is that they just haven’t been together long enough to really know one another and as they start their first year of marriage, the cracks start to show.
Tension rises when Smith comes waltzing back into Effie’s life looking for friendship and subtly challenging her relationship with Oliver. As time goes on and Effie starts to realize how Oliver has so casually been manipulating her into being a certain way; dictating what she wears, hiding her card to their joint bank account, keeping her from seeing her friends.
“And that was the problem. Love on its own wasn’t enough.“
I won’t go into too much more detail to avoid spoilers, but this book does a phenomenal job of approaching the abuse topic, both mentally and physically. Martin does a fantastic job of capturing the unfortunate mentality of someone who’s been through abuse and how they don’t want to be perceived as a victim or a ‘statistic’. Thankfully Effie learns that it’s okay to accept help, and hopefully others can find courage in Effie’s story as well.
Ultimately, if you’re looking for the kind of novel where love conquers all, but aren’t looking for something so fluffy, I’d recommend picking up this book for some light reading.