Before I delve into the specifics of this book, I must come clean about a few things.
First, I’ve come to respect the author of Darkness & Light—J.A. Belfield—as a writer and interweb friend I had the privilege of meeting through Scribophile. Seriously, if you’re a writer looking for unbiased feedback and constructive criticism, Scribo is one of the better sites out there and it’s private.
Second, I have a crush on this book because I designed that lovely ying-yang wolf symbol that graces the (original) cover. Mrs. B even sent me a signed copy of the book for my efforts. I have it locked in my dungeon away from harmful molds and prying fingers wanting to bend the spine. It’s my precious.
Third, I’ve been getting a sneak peek at one of the other installments of the Holloway Pack yummifest which makes me appreciate the world and stories more.
That being said, my review will go forward leaving those thoughts behind. The one thing that would do a disservice in any review is to let personal feelings and relationships get in the way of giving an honest cheeky opinion. Expecting someone you consider a friend to give you a review on that basis is just, well, idiotic. How well would it look to salivate the words all over on how this work brought you to tears (in a good way) to help boost sales and then have someone who has no relationship with you come along to crap on your parade?
Nothing is worse than your friend saying your butt isn’t fat and then be chorused by a Sir Mix-A-Lot song on your way to the bar.
Enough bantering. Time to get to business.
Darkness & Light starts out with Jem, the main character, living through the lens of first person. The beauty of using this PoV is the emotional impact achieved. The only thing that makes me whine about first person is you only get what that character sees. Usually, this has me in fits. What about the other characters? I don’t get in their head at all? THIS SUCKS!
Not so with J.A. Belfield’s offering. I get a clear picture of the other characters with vivid detail. I get a sense of their demeanor and personality. Needless to say, she’s got a good start to a wonderful series of novels.
Let’s get into the meat of Jem’s story. She’s married and a housewife to a man that provides everything. When I say everything, I mean it. We see a cowed woman who thinks her only purpose in life is to hand and foot to her husband. While not wholly happy, she’s content with her life.
There’s only one problem—she’s been having dreams that seem all too real to her. Worse yet, a mysterious man stalks them. It’s only when she finds this man doesn’t just exist in her dreams that the demise of her marriage—and the true demon her husband is—comes about.
What J.A. Belfield does at this point had my jaw dropping. The plight of an abused woman comes full force and the heartbreaking scenes of her trying to make things go back to the ‘perfect’ marriage again hurts to read. To see the building up of Jem as a character and watch her rise above what is was in this life and to grasp what she was in another life.
Sigh…. It’s a romance that doesn’t want me to toss my cookies and milk into the porcelain goddess. That stereotypical ‘OMG! He’s doesn’t love me, he’s hiding stuff’ bullshit is nowhere to be seen in this book. How I loathe seeing that in any romance novel. Hooray to the heavens it’s not in Darkness & Light.
Another thing I love to see in books is peaks and valleys. That little calm before the storm. You get it tenfold. I dare you not to get caught up in the emotional pull. I dare you not to look at Jem’s soule mate Sean and go—I’ll have what she’s having. 😉
I can’t say that this is the best book I’ve read in a while because I read Brent Week’s The Way of Shadows two books ago and absolutely loved it. I’m just waiting to read the other two in the series before doing a review. Patience, my followers.
I will say this is one of the best books I’ve read recently. I’m looking for more from this author and the best thing? I know there’s going to be more. Well deserved indeed.
Being as she’s from the land of tea and crumpets, the language shows it. I get a giggle every time I see the word ‘rear’. I think it’s the immature part of me. For those words that gave me pause, my Kindle dictionary snickered the answer to me with a big BRIT in the definition.