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3.9 out of 5 stars
Portrait of Our Marriage
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on April 30, 2015
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
This book is an account of a marriage that has gone wrong. In the beginning it was magical. Nicky met her future husband Brett on the ski slopes. They fall in love immediately. Flash forward a couple of decades and they are on the verge of divorce. Why? She discovers a disturbing secret about her husband.

I enjoyed the author’s method of storytelling. Nicky relives the past through a series of photos. They tell the story of her life with Brett. Nicky is remembering the wonderful romantic moments of their life together, while trying to decide if her marriage is worth saving. A thoroughly engaging read!
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on January 10, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
What do you do when a relationship based on an intense love heads south and turns into a chaotic mess of mistrust and broken promises? When does one finally summon the courage to say ‘enough is enough’ and walk away? These questions, and more, are the basis for Portrait of our Marriage. This well-crafted story traces the relationship of Nicky and Brett; two well-drawn characters seemingly well-suited for each other and a lifelong marriage and family. Ms. Emms’ book, her first, is a thought-provoking, realistic look at many of the challenges everyone in a relationship faces. However, when the issue of addiction enters the picture, in this case a porn addiction, additional tension and challenges mount.

Portrait of our Marriage is written in a straightforward manner and the entire book exudes honesty and authenticity. Ms. Emms’ doesn’t sugarcoat the material and her approach in this regard is a tremendous asset and helps make the book relatable. It’s a tough read in parts as the harshness of the relationship combined with moments of romance, sometimes fairly graphic, collide yet, in tandem, contribute to the book’s realism.

It’s an honest, well-written book that deftly handles tough subject matter. Definitely a recommended read.
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on January 6, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
This might be a work of fiction, but I suspect it is a reality for thousands of women in the world today. This is difficult subject and it has been thoughtfully tackled within this book.

The story starts out with Nicky looking through snapshots of her life together with her husband, reminiscing about the good times they shared. Their wedding, the birth of their first child, Halloween parties and family holidays all come under close scrutiny... but the happiness of these moments cannot counter the reality of her world. Her relationship and indeed her life are beginning to fall apart.

Brett is a gorgeous hunk and a very likeable person until his addiction begins to take a hold of him and then, degree by degree, things start to get ugly. Nicky isn't only fighting to save her marriage, it's her sanity that she also needs to cling on to.

Can you save something that has gone so horribly wrong?

-- A thoroughly entertaining and poignant read which will strike a chord with many women readers, I have no doubt. The romance is captivating, the characters life-like and the scenery breath-taking.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 15, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I like Martha Emms' straightforward writing style. Even though this was a fictionalized memoir, I felt like I was reading a real story of a marriage. My mother lived a similar story and it really hit home with me.
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4 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on January 20, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
From the description, this sounded like a wonderful story and a good read. But don't waste your time or money.

The characters were not likeable or sympathetic. There was zero character development. The dialogue was stilted and not realistic. To make matters even worse, the book is written on a child's level, probably about 5th or 6th grade reading level.

Is this a children's book? I hope not, based upon the situations in the book.

It did not appear the book ever saw the eyes of an editor. If so, it needs to be read by a different editor. Don't waste your time or money on this drivel.
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4 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on November 19, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
It grieves me to give this book one star because I did not enjoy it at all, thought it was going to be a cracker but sadly alas not!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format: Kindle Edition
"Portrait of Our Marriage" by Martha Emma was an unexpectedly emotional and gripping reading experience. Like Nick, the narrator and many of her friends in the book I fell in love with the idea of that perfect and happy marriage, the man of her dreams: dead sexy, considerate and loving.
Like her I led myself to believe that it was her overreacting and would have given her exactly the kind of advice all the friends in the novel gave her.

This fictional memoir is particularly apt in its portrayal of the subtle changes and nuances of 'normal masturbation' to actual porn addiction. Written with raw honesty and often explicit detail this novel takes no prisoners and calls a spade a spade, particularly when letting the women of Nick's support group talk, scenes that do however work particularly well and let the readers sigh with relief in the same was as the women of said group. The book dares to look at sexuality and marital relations with an honesty that many don't. It may be uncomfortable for some but I feel the direct approach is needed to discuss the problem with enough depth.

I feel rather mesmerized by the experience of this book. The journey takes us from happily ever after to first minor issues, bigger shame, drama and conflict to all out facing of the truth where denial is only possible for the addict.
If you wonder what it might be like to live in such a marriage that started so promising and needs so much work this book is for you. Insightful, thought provoking and powerful this is a must read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 3, 2013
Format: Paperback
Nicky is looking back on her relationship with her husband, Brett. Their attraction for each other has always been strong, but over the years her trust in him has been eroded by his escalating addiction to pornography. Can her love for him endure?

The author makes Nicky and Brett's relationship very believable: from their instant attraction to their developing love, through to the darker days that follow. Their exotic wedding and the birth of their first child illustrate their happy days, but alongside these blissful events are isolated incidents that chip away at their marriage.

Nicky's feelings towards Brett become increasingly complicated. Even when his obsession starts to encroach on family life, you can see how much she wants to keep them together. There are mistakes and misunderstandings on both sides, and her attempts at coming to terms with his addiction over the years feel authentic, as do his attempts to try and pass his compulsion off as her problem. I imagine that anyone who is going through this for real will draw some comfort from the story, and those of us who are not, will be wondering what we would do in Nicky's position.

That said, a couple things don't quite work for me. While the majority of scenes where Nicky discovers a new example of Brett's addiction ring true, a few feel a little forced, as if their role only serves to help move the plot forward. Also, the descriptions of sex, particularly in one memorable early scene, are spoiled for me by the euphemisms used.

I'd like to end on a positive note, because the positives far outweigh the negatives. A huge part of my enjoyment of this novel was not being able to tell whether this couple were going to stay together or not. The author kept me guessing right up to the end.

(I won a copy of this book via Carol Bond's Pen to Paper website.)
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on August 28, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I finished this book yesterday and had to let myself sit and think about it before writing this review, mainly because it stirred up so many emotions in me that I had to wait for them to settle before I could approach this.

My background is in psychology, and I found Brett's years-long descent into porn addiction to be accurate in how it changes behavior, sexual performance, and how it slowly encroaches and erodes the trust and emotional connection within a relationship. The metamorphosis from charming, open, loving husband to secretive, defensive addict was painful to read, but so true. His emotional manipulation of Nicky was another thing that was painful to read about but so prevalent in certain dysfunctional relationships.

The way he villainized her whenever she confronted him, and how he would compare his severe transgressions to her healthy behavior based on minimal similarity is so typical of this behavior. The reasonable party, who is only trying to find common ground, often falls into the trap of admitting to the addict's accusations, the way Nicky does time and again, and is a phenomenal example of how there is no reasoning with a dysfunctional addict or emotional manipulator. They don't operate with any logic or reason, and anyone who engages with them is set up for failure. Nicky learned this time and again, and her resolve to continue believing in her husband for the sake of their marriage and the years of foundation they built together made me ache.

I don't understand the reviews criticizing the ending. Sometimes a happy ending isn't them living happily ever after. Not when one of them is blind to their own addiction and actively demolishing the relationship. Even if Brett had gone to therapy, I think it would have been too little, too late. Nicky fought for her marriage for too long, tried to be forgiving, understanding, tried to only focus on the positives, and lived with shame. The moment she came to the decision that she did, she started living again. Truly living.

THAT is the best happily-ever-after!

*I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on August 22, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
A book filled with deep love between a couple that turned into a nightmare. A nightmare of broken trust, destroyed dreams and trying to find self worth. A well written story of a woman trying to figure out where 'do you' finally draw the line and realize enough is enough. Do you stay because of memories and children only to loose one's own individual self or do you end it, no matter how scary the future might be, to live a life of new beginnings. If you have ever been in this womans situation, I'd recommend reading this book. Filled with truths and insites I could completely relate to, this author writes about the reality of porn which affects many women today and the heartbreak it can create.
Disclaimer: I had been wanting this book from the moment I first saw it. As luck would happen I actually won it and man, I'm glad I did.
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