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Behind Her Smile Kindle Edition
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|Length: 250 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Top Customer Reviews
Told from Karolina and Alec's POV's and alternating past and present tense, Behind Her Smile is a fast-paced romantic suspense novel. Olivia Luck writes the kind of story you can't ignore, you will have so much empathy for the characters. When Karolina was scared, my heart was pumping right there with her, and at each glimpse of positivity in her life I gained a little bit of hope. Filled with gritty moments and passionate emotions, it was so easy to get sucked into this story. I really connected with Karolina, I struggled with her despondency when her life turned from good to bad to even worse. I wanted her to leave the bad so much, but I understood the draw of David, the difference between Karolina's life growing up and her life as an adult. Like most readers, I hated David and liked Alec, even when he failed to notice how terrible David was. Plus, in this case, girl wants bad boy ends up being a good thing! The friendship between Karolina and Alec isn't one I have read very often before, it isn't an easy friendship, there's a lot of emotions and baggage between them, but I think it makes them all the stronger when Karolina needs to lean on someone.
I really liked Olivia Luck's writing style. Behind Her Smile starts in the present and then backtracks to the beginning. We not only learn about Karolina's past, but we live it with her. It felt a lot like a suspenseful movie, you're given bits and pieces of the story overtime. I was shocked when things took a turn for the worse, because of course everything was going so well. In this case, too good to be true is the perfect description. There is abuse, there are horrifying moments that made me cringe, but there are also really beautiful moments filled with friendship and life. I was so hooked on this book I couldn't put it down, I started it on the treadmill and I couldn't stop reading so I just kept going. While it isn't the usual romance, it's a passionate and suspenseful story of finding personal strength, giving not only yourself but others second chances, and seeing that image is not all it's made out to be.
*ARC received via NetGalley for an honest review. Many thanks.*
The storyline is solid and full of suspense. The characters are well-developed, the structural style an unusual one in the respect that the chapters are actually measured by timelines beginning in present day. When I started reading, I thought it was going to be told from the female protagonist’s point of view throughout so I was in for a surprise. In first person and present tense, most of Karolina’s story is narrated by her. She flips back and forth and slowly her feelings are revealed.
I must confess that I had trouble investing in Karolina. She had great ideas as to what she wanted in life only to vanish into thin air when she meets her husband to be in a whirlwind romance. I found her lacking strength of character; too naïve for her own good and her inspirations were crushed too easily. This young woman who'd had to fight to get where she got, let it all go on the insistence of a manipulating man, and this seemed to me to be wrong. She couldn’t see further than her nose. All the signs were there, so why she ignored them, I couldn’t fathom out and found disheartening. When it is too late and the damage had been done, I actually warmed to her. Saying that, I didn’t have to bite my tongue and say I told you so as her bestie went out of her way to convince her that David Morgan wasn’t all sunshine and roses.
David is a complex individual. His family don’t trust him for reasons to be divulged in the story. He’s sly, lies by omission, selfish, demanding and outright cruel. His utmost wish is to change his new wife into something she is not. He will discipline her in the acts of the upper crust etiquette by bullying her. How Karolina should behave around him and in his circles was obsessive and brought out the worst in me. So why he chose her when he could have married a woman of his same social status was one of the questions I asked. And yes, it was answered but well into the story.
I really liked the non-friendship between David and an associate he'd had dealings with; Alec Christos. Alec could see through David and was concerned for Karolina's welfare. However, never could he have imagined the atrocities David pulled off. If I hated David with a passion, I adored Alec. The underlying attraction which he and Katrina have simmered and made me wonder if and when it would reach boiling point. Alec's best trait was his patience. He wanted Karolina; she could only offer him her friendship. After various upsetting and nail-biting events, she grew stronger. Everything would be put into perspective and the story moved along much quicker.
All in all, I would have enjoyed this book more if the flow hadn’t been so erratic. There were a few repeated passages regarding Karolina’s feelings and unfortunately the editing was not up to scratch. Hopefully, the typos I came across are corrected before the release date. Reading Alec’s point of you view was a pleasure, but I really needed to have read his thoughts long before I did. The secondary characters saved the day for me. Loved them!
What starts as a whirlwind romance for Karolina and David ends up being a guilded cage. Trapped in a marriage she no longer wants to be a part of Karolina goes through the motions of being the dutiful wife. Appearances are everything. Fearing what the consequences will be if she steps out of line.
David. What can I say about David. I never really took to him. He was a character that regardless of the circumstance I couldn't sympathize with. Even in the early stages of his relationship with Karolina, I often wondered why she chose to stay with him and why she allowed herself to be ruled by David's needs, wants and desires.
Now Alec most definitely caught my attention and held it throughout. When he is first introduced his cryptic words to Karolina almost screamed a warning. One that she does not heed nor look further into. His patience, adoration and respect for Karolina was commendable.
As the story progresses we watch the decline of David and Karolina's relationship and the budding of a friendship between Karolina and Alec. Though eventually the lines start to blur and feelings are revealed.
I found David and Alec's treatment of Karolina to be like night and day. When David's business dealings start to crumble all of his lies, deceit and orchestrated plans are revealed sending your mind whirling with even more questions and for me more disgust toward David.
Let's just say that karma pays all of these characters a visit and those deserving of punishment receive theirs and those truly deserving of love and happiness are rewarded.