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Into the Darkest Corner Paperback – February 1, 2011
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|Paperback, February 1, 2011||
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A quick no spoiler recap and a few warnings in this review.
The story begins with a transcript from a 2005 trial in the UK which the reader will be compelled to go back and read a number of times as they travel through this riveting story.
In 2007, Catherine Bailey is a woman inflicted with a severe case of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. She lives in fear of everything including but not limited to serious relationships. Then the story swiftly flashes back to late 2003 where Catherine is a normal business woman living a normal live but seeking to find the right man to fulfill her life.
Every few pages the story moves back and forth through these time phases as the writer fills in numerous gaps to explain how this normal woman became one who epitomizes OCD.
In each of these time frames, Catherine becomes involved with a man. These two men, one a mysterious man with hidden motives and one a doctor who takes a serious interest in her for various reasons are vital parts of this fascinating story. She has no parents so her female friends and a sympathetic police woman also become major elements of her life.
A few warnings. This is a story of violent physical and mental abuse. It incorporates rape and other methods of physical and sexual torture. In many other books these types of plot turns would simply be for sensationalism. In this incredible tale, these plot turns are vital and fundamental to the story that Haynes is telling.
This is a long book (about 400 pages) and at around page 250, I was thinking I had already learned more about OCD than I ever wanted to know. Also the plot seemed to slow down and some of the elements became repetitive. However, the last 100+ pages are stunning and page turning. All of the previous pages then become more important to understand each and every dramatic twist that occurs. And actually one walks away with a strong perspective about OCD and some of the causes and effects and potential cures.
Some may criticize the conclusion as predicable and cinematic but stay tuned to the last pages to understand what separates "Into the Darkest Corner" from other novels of violent relationships. The reader will walk with a better understanding of how women deal with abuse in their lives. This book is worth reading by women and men as the story imparts some valuable lessons.
It's a first novel by this marvelous and creative writer and she is a name to be reckoned with! Order it in advance and be prepared for a few late Summer nights of valuable and unforgettable reading.
Catherine Bailey starts out as a happy, carefree young woman enjoying herself and her friends. But she meets the wrong man and slowly becomes a person who is terrorized and almost killed. The descriptions of OCD are gripping. Her fear jumps off the pages and the reader is carried along with it. Sometimes I had to put the book down to come back to my own safe reality.
This book is not for faint at heart but it is a very good book. And the ending leaves you thinking.
And what happens when that obsession turns frightening instead of flattering? Haynes has written an amazing debut novel that will keep her readers up far into the night as they try not to see similar behavior to Lee Brightman in their own mates. A character worthy of the plucky heroine, Cathy Bailey, Lee is the perfect date when she first meets him. Physically perfect right down to his clear blue eyes and golden blonde hair, Lee makes Cathy the envy of all of her friends. The relationship starts out perfect. Lee is the kind of man Cathy's been looking for all her life, until little things start to happen. Maybe the sex was a little rough one time, or maybe Lee is a little tiring about the red silk dress he's first seen Cathy in, insisting she wear it would be inappropriate to do so.
With the line between falling in love and obsession so thin, Cathy doubts herself when she starts to think that Lee might not be so perfect after all. When she tries to tell her friends, they brush her off, doubtless because they wish they had a man was perfect of their own.
While there are many books that follow the same sort of plotting, what sets Darkest Corner apart is Cathy's Obsessive Compulsion Disorder(OCD). Funny when you think about it, she comes down with a disorder that causes her to check the locks on her house to the point of ruining her life, when it's Lee's obsessive behavior that causes the disorder in the first place. Maybe OCD should be labeled Obsessive Compulsive Behavior Caused By Some Jerk With Serious Mental Issues, but that might be too many initials. Getting rid of the idea that someone a person just comes down with crazy coping mechanisms.
OCD is mapped out carefully in Darkest Corner, and shows how it can be overcome, something that sets this book above the usual run-of-the-mill girl being stalked by crazy boyfriend. Also, the time line goes back and forth between before Cathy's near murder by Lee, and her coping with her OCD afterwards. Great plot device.
I really liked this book because unlike other books where a woman is abused and then rescued, Darkest Corner shows the heroine going into the deepest corners of her own shadow side and finding the strength to make it back out to the light. How Cathy was chosen by Lee probably because her parents were dead, leaving her with only her girlfriends for backup, and that didn't turn out well.
Great book to have on a plane, or to give to the girlfriends knowing how much it will spook them. And who doesn't like to be the first to discover a new author?