Dirty Daughter Kindle Edition
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*Possibly Spoilers throughout*
18 y/o Emily has just graduated from boarding school and is now home to live with her abusive and drug/alcohol addicted mother, Amelia. Amelia is a highly successful.... something, no clue of her profession... living in a ginormous house all alone. Despite the large space, they still manage to run into one another and get into nasty fights.
Not long after her return, her mother *Spoiler* dies and Emily is left alone and drowning in her unexpected responsibilities. In comes Max, Amelia's long time psychiatrist/lover. Max's introduction into the story is really where the trouble begins.
First, the whole representation of the therapist/client relationship is poorly researched and inaccurate. Not just because Max is a creep, and he is super creepy, but since I had so many other problems with the story, I just overlooked those flaws when deciding my rating. Just be aware that they're there.
So, Emily has been in love with Max for three years, specifically since she witnessed him having sex with her mother. He "finished" whilst still keeping deep eye contact with her, a 15 year old girl. I guess you can chalk that up to, "well, maybe he's an exhibitionist and would've maintained eye-contact with anyone that caught him mid-bang session". Ah, but no, Max is quite clear in his POV that he was attracted to Emily at the time, even going so far as to say that basically he would be cool tapping her at that age.
But the ick just keeps on a'coming. That scene where Max is seen with Amelia comes up as a flashback about.... 7 times? I didn't count, but it's a lot. Too much, actually. I'm supposed to be reading about Max's relationship with Emily, and just keep getting his professions of love for Amelia and attraction to Emily whenever she acts like a child. Shouldn't that turn him off?
And then! He. Makes. Comparisons. "She's even better than her mother," he thinks about Emily as she's loving on his equipment. Come onnnnnn. I understand the book is supposed to be erotic and romantic, but stuff like that just comes off as unhealthy.
And the characters are really hard to like. Emily is immature and bratty, Max is a manipulative predator (more on that later). Emily is young, so her behavior is somewhat expected; she's desperate for love and Max is a good point of interest. In reality, she would go to a therapist, one that doesn't want to sleep with her, and come to realize that she's alone and scared and attaching herself to Max for the wrong reasons. Instead, Max takes advantage of her weakness for him. And apparently she's not the first. The descriptions are vague and little information is provided, but from what I could gather, Max is a dominant, and despite his relationship with Amelia, he needed a submissive to control. So, since Amelia was not into that, he would find patients with daddy and sex-abuse issues, keep them drugged, put them in his basement and rape them. Literally. And once he tired of them, he would send them to a mental hospital and recommend they be kept in isolation.
Max isn't a hero, he's a monster.
In the end, Emily has declared her love for Max. And Max has declared his love for Amelia, but hey, maybe he could learn to love Emily because he really cares for her and would love to do naughty things to her body. And Emily friggin accepts this. Gahhhhh.
With a storyline like this being labeled as romantic, you would expect some sort of resolution to all of this, right? Well, there's not. They've told each other *some* of their secrets, but he still doesn't love Emily and she's still immature and desperate to please him. There's almost no growth for the characters, so I find it hard to believe that anything would improve. Well, at least he won't have to go looking for another girl, put her into a zombie-like state and make her his sex slave. That's... progress, right??
Trigger warnings: references of incest, sexual abuse, sex between hero and women not the h, a scene that could be construed as cheating, and veiled acknowledgements of pedophilia.
Not your typical story - 4 stars
The story wasn't exactly what I thought it was going to be, but it definitely kept me on the edge of my seat. Emily never had a good relationship with her mother, especially when she was shipped off to an all-girls boarding school. Everyone has always said that Emily looks just like her mother and we can see right away how jealous and bitter her mother is over that, so I wasn't really surprised at her death. Emily has had a crush on her mother's psychologist for years now and she is determined to make him hers.
Max has only ever loved one woman, Emily's mother. However, he also knew that he wanted Emily from the time she stood in the hallway and watched him with her mother. After reading this story, I'm not sure that I would ever trust talking to a psychologist. This man has more problems than his patients. When Max takes her to his 'cottage' where he has kept previous slaves, you can kinda see the writing on the wall.
**Honest review voluntarily provided from a Complimentary Copy**
Emily craves attention, especially from an authority figure, and that makes her an easy target for a man like Max. He’s a psychiatrist. He knows what buttons to push to get what he wants. And, boy, does he push Emily’s buttons. Then he rips those buttons off, stripping her bare.
Parts of this story made me squirm and cringe and hope that a stun baton and a SWAT team would be in Max’s future. I was given an Advance Reader Copy and voluntarily reviewed this book.
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