Tuesday, March 3, 2015
MIRA/November 25, 2014
Brought up in the savage captivity of her unstable grandmother's rural Pennsylvania home, Mari Calder once yearned for rescue. Now she struggles every day to function as an adult in the confines of normal society. Left with only a foggy recollection of her childhood, she's consumed with being a dutiful wife to her husband, Ryan, and mother to their two children.
But an unexpected twist of events returns her to that long-forgotten house in the woods. Soon, Mari is greeted with reminders of a past life, the clarified memories only inviting a new level of strangeness into her fragile world. To protect her family, she must find the beautiful, powerful strength hidden in her inner chaos. Because someone is bent on exploiting Mari's trauma, and as normal and wild begin to blend, a string of devastating truths force Mari to question all she thought she knew.
I don't always know what to expect from Megan Hart other than a good story. Maybe I should expect the unexpected? Lovely Wild is clearly a deviation from Hart's erotic romance roots but she still delivers her thought provoking writing and emotional punches in true Hart style. Don't shy away from this because it is not a romance. It's a story not to be missed and hard to put down.
I dare you not to feel sorry for Mari. She is different and she knows it which is why she is not always comfortable around people. There is little to no pretense with Mari, she says what she means and doesn't lie. But she doesn't always know what to say in "normal" circumstances. After getting to know Mari and her background, I didn't feel like Mari was less than normal. Mari makes you see how what is considered normal is often fake and insincere, which Mari doesn't know how to be.
As the story progresses, Mari finds her life circling around to where she started, at the house in the woods. It's here Mari confronts her past as well as how the past fits in with her present and future. Her children are the most important people to Mari but they are not the only family she has. It's family, in all forms, that Mari must deal with.
Seeing Mari back at her beginnings, it's eye opening. She has come so far but still has a ways to go. What I enjoyed seeing is how Mari interactions with her children. She may not have the traditional background of growing up with a loving mother but she is a wonderful mother. It's instinctual with Mari. So while she is having trouble in her marriage she continues to nurture and protect her kids.
One thing that sets this story apart is the different point of view. We not only get Mari's POV but also her husband Ryan's and her teenage daughter Kenda. This gave the story a different feel than it would have had it all been told from Mari's POV. While I didn't like Mari's husband, I wouldn't say seeing events through his eyes made me sympathetic towards him, it did help to understand why he made some real bad choices. Mari's daughter Kenda comes off as they stereo-typical self-absorbed teen but her observations show she is more aware than her parents think she is.
Towards the end is where the plot became less filled with surprises and more filled with predictability. Mari's world is not wrapped up in a pretty bow but ended up closer to normal than where it felt Mari should be.