I read The Unwanted Wife by Natasha Anders and really enjoyed it with an almost devastated heart at times. I've read the posts from the Worst Betrayal thread and the Hero is crazy in love/possessive thread, but what really squeezed my heart tight (in addition to the posts already made in those threads) were when: (spoilers ahead)
-She realized that EVERY time they had sex and he said those infamous five words, he said them not because he actually wanted a son, but because he wanted to be away from her, to get a divorce, to finally fulfill his "bargain" with her father.
Oh God, when she said those words out loud to Sandro, I could feel her pain. All those times she was coming down from the high, not just from sex, but being WITH him - close to him, touching him, and to realize that even while he was coming, he was thinking about getting away from her and her father. God, my throat is closing up just thinking that after everything else she learned and realized, and then to discover this... how devastating
-One thing that I like what this author did with Theresa's character was she didn't make Theresa really vindictive. Although Sandro treated her extremely poorly - from making her believe he had been unfaithful to treating her like a stranger - in the end, one of the reasons she kept asking for the divorce and really wanted her baby to be a son was so Sandro could be free to marry the woman he really loved and have the life he wanted.
She loved him that much that she wanted him to be happy. She was genuinely sorry for what her father did and her inadvertent part in it (by not hiding that she had fallen for Sandro when she met him).
-What also made my throat close up was the very brief mention of how Sandro WAS happy and laughing those brief moments with her before they married/around the time they first met. It was those few words that made me believe in Theresa's initial hope for their marriage and why she didn't really understand how cold and distant he had become. And then her wedding night? GOD! That in itself was a betrayal to her. I am thankful that I, as a reader, didn't have to experience it with her as it happened.
-All that and so much more, I couldn't blame her for not believing Sandro when he was trying to earn her trust, love, and affection. I couldn't blame her for being bitter. And personally, I LOVE the fact that she asked for the divorce BEFORE she even found out about the deal/bargain/blackmail (whatever you want to call it) between her father and her "husband." I really liked that the catalyst for the divorce was because she had decided she had had enough and deserved more and better.
Was The Unwanted Wife perfect? Nope, there are a few unanswered questions about Francesca that a vengeful, bloodthirsty reader like myself wanted resolved, but did I believe in the HEA? did I believe that Sandro and Theresa were able to overcome the sad state of their relationship to trust and love each other? Yes and Yes. This will definitely be on my "Heroes regret" re-read list, next to Second Chances by Lauren Dane.
BTW, I loved Sandro's new five words were for Theresa. Thanks to the author for that.
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