My rating: 2 of 5 stars
A copy of this book was provided to me by the author for an honest review at The Romance Evangelist.
I’m still not sure what I just read, but I’m not going to be able to discuss it here without significant spoilers. Consider yourself warned.
Here is the blurb for Passion Eternal:
Tina Shawn was nine years old when she developed an uncontrollable crush on Brad Anderson, who was two years older than her.
Now, seven years later, the boy who has held the key to her heart is moving out of Cleveland, Ohio. It spells the end of her dream. But little does she realize that their paths will cross again. Except that finding her dream again only gradually throws her into a state of confusion as conflicting events unfold.
“Conflicting events” is a mild description for what occurred in this book after the opening scene when Brad’s family moved out of town. Tina attempted to forget Brad by agreeing to go out with an older rich kid who got her drunk and attempted to sexually assault her before she was rescued by another kid who knew her from high school. This part of the book went on for several chapters, albeit ones that weren’t more than one or two pages long. When the next chapter began with “Three years later,” I wondered what the point was for providing all that detail if there weren’t going to be any repercussions.
So it’s three years later, and Tina has moved to Teaneck, New Jersey, to attend college. Apparently by pure coincidence, she spots Brad and then lashes out when he doesn’t act happy to see her again. The remainder of the book consists of the two of them getting drunk and having sex and fighting and Brad’s father threatening them. There is also a weird side trip to visit Brad’s ailing mother in a strange medical facility where Tina provides blood for a transfusion (!) and then more sex and more fighting and more of Brad’s father threatening. The book ends with an anonymous phone call directing Tina to look in Brad’s closet for a box containing letters and videos showing him having sex with another woman, prompting Tina to leave him again, ostensibly for good this time.
So many things happened in Passion Eternal and yet nothing important was actually explained or resolved. We get elaborate introductions to transitional characters who only appear in a single scene, such as Collin Sheldon, the boy who rescues Tina from the rich kid who attacked her, and Audrey, the woman who brings up the room service food for Tina and Brad in the hotel where they’re staying. Yet we are never given any clues about more pressing questions, such as how is Brad paying for all the hotel visits and the new apartment, what is wrong with Brad’s mother, and why did Brad borrow $15,000 from his father in the first place?
Yet the most frustrating part of this book for me was Tina herself, and her propensity to start screaming and losing control whenever her bad choices put her in bad situations. I seriously wondered if she was going to be alive by the end of the book, what with all the times she got drunk and passed out after either being attacked or ending up in bed with Brad. By the time she had decided to leave Brad one last time after finding the evidence of his infidelity, I was just relieved that the book was finally over, and I didn’t have to try to figure out what the heck was going on anymore.
Somewhere in Passion Eternal is a story that is trying to come out, but I wasn’t able to find it. I sincerely hope that the author will work with a copy editor and some unbiased beta readers before releasing her follow-up book.