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4.0 out of 5 stars
Portrait of Our Marriage
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on May 22, 2015
Portrait of our Marriage, by Martha Emms, is an emotionally graphic, sexually explicit, no-holds-barred portrayal of addiction to pornography. Told from the point of view of the wife of an addict, it is heart-wrenching. The story unfolds, as it so often does in life, slowly and painfully over years, clearly capturing the rationalizing and minimizing that partners often do when they hope beyond hope that a problem isn’t really a problem, or will just go away on its own.

Nicky is madly in love with Brett—their meeting, romance and marriage almost idyllic, until small cracks appear. As Brett’s secrets reveal themselves through those cracks, Nicky begins to question and confront him. Brett’s angry denial and the confusion in the world outside their marriage about the male prerogative to indulge in pornography keeps Nicky tied up, anxious, and uncertain. Like many women in her situation, she grows increasingly isolated and less sure of herself as a wife and a person. Fortunately, as Nicky eventually discovers, she’s not alone. The book does a good job of showing how difficult, but vital, help-seeking can be to women with troubled partners. Addictions have a trajectory that’s destructive and even deadly, however, unless the addict owns the problem and takes action. Will Brett do that—face his addiction to pornography? Will their marriage survive the toll that addiction takes on intimacy and trust? You’ll have to read the book to find out. Five Stars.
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on May 22, 2015
Marriage is not for the feint of heart. The writer depicts a part of marriage that may people deal with in these modern times. She gives us a realistic view of the trials and tribulations of dealing with an addiction and how it takes a toll on even the strongest love. My hat is off to the author for tackling a subject that is afflicting so many couples these days. The story is well written and moves along quickly. You are kept guessing right up until the end the fate of the couple. I think the author has left room to revisit this story for a book two for a possible reconciliation or to visit what happens next in the lives of this couple.
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What a bittersweet story of love and addiction. Nicky and Brett were the perfect couple. They were popular in the neighborhood and had some close friends to go camping and skiing with. They loved to snow ski. In fact they met on the ski slope where Brett was a member of the ski patrol and Nicki skied into him.

Martha Emms tells this story beautifully from the moment the couple first met and how they came to fall in love. Nicky was from a repressive background and trying to learn how to live a full adventuresome life. Brett, an engineer, was perfect for her. He possessed a fearless love for adventure and supported her as she overcame her fears.

Nicky could not have known that some of Brett’s behaviors that all single men engage in would some day consume his life through addiction. She tells of the creeping isolation, and her efforts to seek help. As the addiction escalates Emms chronicles the steps and denial of Brett’s descent into his own empty world.

Brett’s love of his family is clear to the reader. I found myself rooting for Brett each time he told Nicky that he would change. I applauded his efforts to reach out to his wife and family while still in the grips of something stronger than himself.

Emms tells the story almost like a mystery leaving the reader trying to guess what will happen next. Will the loving husband defeat his addiction?

The big thing I learned from the story is to never judge others. We just don’t know what goes on in private lives and all sorts of addictions are so common. We don’t know why someone may quit a good job or leave the perfect spouse.

I highly recommend this book, especially for those who may be living in relationship where addiction is destroying a loved one.
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on May 18, 2015
A thought provoking book and an enjoyable (if a bit sad) read.

The way the lives of Nicky and Brett change from fairytale wedding/relationship to emotional torture through his addiction to pornography is really interesting but also a little depressing. (as it really would be) I loved the way the author pulled the reader into the story with a false sense of security when looking at all the photographs. It was a really nice touch that contrasted so well with what was actually happening in the character's lives.

The emotional turmoil was brilliantly described and the differences in what you see and what you know about a relationship are so poignant that I felt touched by all the pain and deceit involved.

I was so involved in the addiction side to this story and how Brett tried to turn things around and blame Nicky for his actions. It was just like knowing an alcoholic or a gambling addict. (Subjects that, sadly, I know a little more about) and even though this book was about porn addiction I could relate easily to how Nicky acted and reacted.

A thought provoking and thoroughly enjoyable read.
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on April 30, 2015
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
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
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
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
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
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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