- File Size: 1101 KB
- Print Length: 277 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (June 10, 2019)
- Publication Date: June 10, 2019
- Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B07SSWWD2R
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #414,581 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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The Last Seduction Kindle Edition
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I found the two main characters annoying. Not the greatest sentence, but an honest one. And the hottest scenes in the book weren't even with each other. I didn't feel the chemistry on so many levels. Did Sasha even want Hannah back? Or did she just go back to her because Hannah was giving her attention, that she could have gotten from anyone who was a normal woman?
It was so convenient that every woman Sasha dated was an a-hole. The whole Charlie relationship and her personality changing so quickly was weird. Obviously she was used more as a plot point to get Hannah jealous, but when that was accomplish the author just got rid of that character as quickly as possible.
What about some back story? How did Hannah have Casey? Did she use a donor, or a friend? Did she do it when she was single, or in a relationship before Sasha? What was it like for Sasha dating Hannah when Casey was just 3 years old? All of these little tidbits would have helped me form a stronger bond of the two together in my mind, but it was all just ignored. I honestly finished the book not knowing if they really wanted to be with each other or just fell back into the familiarity of each other. If one of those women Sasha dated had been nice, I have a feeling she would have been fine without Hannah. Yikes!
I'm giving it 3 stars because I like the author much more than this showing.
Can't really say much else...
"The Last Seduction" was essentially Sasha and Hannah's long and winding journey back to each other after a painful break up from their 15-year relationship. It chronicled how they both tried to move on with other people despite still deeply in love with each other. Black's depiction of Sasha and Hannah's individual journey was brutally honest, painfully realistic especially in the larger sense of how a long-term relationship disintegrated because of years of bottled-up emotional breakdowns, avoidance and unresolved intimacy issues, lack of open and honest communication, taking either party for granted, particularly, mismatched and unmanaged expectations. All these matters were a prelude to a bad ending, tbh.
One thing that not many people would address in regard to relationships is health issues. Speaking of which, both Hannah and Sasha had health problems. First, it was Hannah who went through a serious health scare that resulted in her distancing herself, physically and emotionally, from Sasha, after her operation. Because of how Hannah was (her stereotypical "butch" character, so to speak!), she was never the one who'd confide in her wife lest she was seen as weak. So obviously, she'd never had any heart-to-heart talk with Sasha about her emotions. Instead, she'd rather confide in her bestie. This had been her dynamic with Sasha in their 15-year relationship. So when they were hit by Hannah's health problem and life-altering operation, their unresolved, unspoken relationship breakdown naturally took a sharp dive, what with Hannah's increasing physical and emotional distance and avoidance, and Sasha's refusal to confront Hannah but let her feelings of inadequacy and unappreciated wife fester to fever pitch. With such a breakdown in a relationship, it'd only take one incident, an important, milestone-like one to the couple, to trigger a life-changing decision. Separation. Break-up.
Despite all that, both Sasha and Hannah were deeply in love with each other. This was where Black's openness and honesty truly shone when she described and depicted, with aplomb, all the idiosyncrasies and intricacies of a couple in a long-term relationship who, despite still very much in love, still couldn't make their marriage/relationship work. Times like this is when we have to admit that merely love isn't everything. Being in love doesn't mean trust. Black, through her depiction of Hannah and Sasha's inner psyche, emotional distress, insecurities and dilemma, showed me, as a reader, that there was always a lack of trust and faith between them because they never really shared all their fears or stress, their emotions, with each other. They never really communicated openly and honestly. The lack of or total absence of trust could be traced back to their character and behavioural traits, where they couldn't fully let go of their own ego, leading to insecurities, emotional denial and avoidance. For Hannah, god forbid she expressed any emotional feelings since she truly believed it'd be seen as a weakness, which she just couldn't handle. We all know that when effective communication is absent when trouble occurs, small matters accumulate into big ones, small waves turn into a tsunami that leaves nothing but a big mess in the aftermath.
Back to Sasha, Black shed more light on her POV than Hannah’s although she did provide some insights into both of their inner emotions and feelings about each other. In particular when Sasha’s chronic kidney disease flared up so seriously that it almost killed her. At that fateful moment, nothing else mattered but the brutal truth that'd been lurking in the depths of her fear and loathing staring back at her. Hannah. But with Hannah and Sasha, one moment of desperate refuge in each other when Sasha's health was compromised wasn't reason enough to reconcile their relationship when their fundamental issue with each other was about trust in their love and emotional intimacy. Instead of using this opportunity to really talk about it, both of these stubborn souls resisted, believing they could just move on with their lives with other people.
Black didn't waste time delving into Sasha and Hannah's attempts at dating other people. I was surprised that Black used up most of their journey to detail their various encounters with different dates and lovers, which ended up providing virtually all sexually explicit scenes for the book. I must say, I wasn't a fan of reading those encounters not only because they weren't between the MCs, but because the MCs were both still very much in love and still intensely entangled in body, mind and soul. As a result, those encounters tuned me out completely. I wasn't invested at all because, imo, their inclusion just didn't fit the mould of what the essence of Hannah and Sasha's journey was. But, that's just my personal POV and preference, really. Most readers may even find them illuminating! Just not for me. Although, I understood where Black could be coming from. It looked to me like she wanted to portray how Hannah and Sasha dealt and handled their love life outside the confines of each other's still-very-much-entangled emotional attachment (aka love!) by pairing them off with other people, perhaps to amplify how, despite all their best efforts, no one else could ever fill the void in their very soul except each other. Black captured Hannah and Sasha's emotional reactions realistically when they veered off with other people. As we know, when a relationship isn't resolved properly, emotions are still raw because both parties still hang on to the past. That's exactly what happened between Hannah and Sasha. It didn't matter how many people they were involved with in the hopes of moving on because at the end of the day, as the saying goes, "when it's meant to be, it's meant to be." Innit? Hannah and Sasha's intertwined souls knew even though their stubborn conscious minds refused to accept the inevitable. They were meant to be together and would find their way back to each other again. Time. Timing. Trigger.
I must say, though, I thought their eventual reunion was a bit too rushed and brief for my liking. I was hoping that their moment of truth and reconciliation would be defined and portrayed more deeply, when they finally agreed to be open and honest with each other, about their own uncertainties, but most of all, the trust issue in their love for each other. Love without trust would never sustain. Hannah needed to let go of her ego, her insecurities and trust Sasha to be her equal partner, physically, mentally and emotionally. She needed to trust Sasha with her vulnerabilities. Whereas, Sasha needed to feel safe with Hannah in her sense of worth, equality, appreciation as the other equal half of their relationship. In essence, both she and Hannah needed to trust in their love for each other deeply enough to always be open and honest regardless of what they might face down the line, emotionally or physically. There was so much emotional and psychological baggage to explore between these two yearning souls deeply in love but terribly lost, desperately trying to find their way back to each other. However, their respective epiphanies were depicted rather hurriedly, in the end, imo, although all the signs were there. Just not manifested in writing as I expected. I wish Black focused much more on their emotional journey between each other than their affairs with other people. To me, that dampened the depth of their unspoken affinity and emotional attachment from their deep-seated love for each other despite their physical absence. I wish Black had a different approach, is what I'm trying to allude to. But thank goodness for small mercies, I could draw on my own interpretation, eh?
Plus, Casey, Hannah's biological son, who was also Sasha's since she and Hannah both brought him up as his parents for 15 out of his 18 years of age. I would have loved to read about Casey and Sasha's continued relationship post-breakup because at the end of the day, Sasha WAS Casey's mum, too. Although, Black did mention, albeit briefly, their interaction outside of Hannah's involvement in passing. I wish Black had included those scenes, though, which I think would have enriched Sasha and Hannah's journey to understanding, appreciation before finally reuniting their love and commitment with much more resonating effect. Instead, Black veered off with Casey's side-story, which I thought detracted from the main point of this story. A shame, really.
I must say, I was initially captivated by Black's insightful portrayal about two people in a long-term relationship who despite being deeply in love, ended up separated, leaving deep emotional scars that they struggled to heal from. At first, Black delved deeply into Hannah and Sasha's psyches with all the nuances and idiosyncrasies related to their characters and POVs with such authenticity that it felt very personal, like Black dug into her own personal journey to reflect the characters'. But shortly after the first act, beginning of the second act, for some reason, I felt Black somehow put the brakes on her own conviction in further personifying Hannah and Sasha's journey of truth and reconciliation. Suddenly, the emotional depth was only touched on peripherally, like Black didn't want to dig any further into the raw emotions of the characters. Too real? I don't know. It's just a feeling that I had whilst reading the contrast between the first third of the story and the rest of it. Instead, she placed her focus on the MCs' new love affairs with other people until it was time for the big reunion. In the end, I felt like the story could've been a perfect depiction of a second chance love story between two battered souls who finally reached an epiphany that reunited them for the rest of their lives. An epiphany that opened their eyes to the realisation about what they truly meant to each other, in mind, body and soul. In love and in trust.
Nevertheless, I was gratified by Black's courage in telling a deeply complex love story about a failed long-term relationship and how two deeply connected souls found their way back to each other, in a long and winding journey of contemplation, self-reflection, under harshly realistic circumstances that I hadn't come across in lesfic before, which Black depicted ever-so honestly with genuine authenticity. That's why, in the end, I still liked and enjoyed the story because of it. This utterly realistic subject matter alone garners this book a proper read. Black is one of the authors whose work I have sentimental affection for prolly because she was one of the first few lesfic authors I discovered early on. So, I will read anything she writes regardless. I'm looking forward to her next projects, that's for sure, with the hope that it'll bring back the same level of emotional intensity and resonance the likes of "Conquest," which is still one of my sentimentally favourite lesfic stories and my favourite of hers.
Fans of romance, particularly the dramatic ones with angst, should find this story worth exploring, imo.
I was given, with much thanks and appreciation, an ARC of this book, by BSB via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Now, the blurb really doesn't give much about the story. Its more than that and I will say that Sasha was a little bit trampy in this book considering what she really wanted. And neither character, though I am never a fan of main character hooking up with anyone besides who I deem is worthy which FYI is only each other, had a right to judge who the other dated. The story was actually a good one and I really enjoyed the journey. However, I felt the ending happened too fast. And Hannah and Sasha after being and acting how they were solved everything too fast. I would have liked a dating period on honestly. So...I give this 4 stars mainly cause I enjoyed it, the characters were beyond flawed and idiots but enjoyable ones for me, and it ended in a way happily. Also, the book cover (though very nice and inviting) has nothing to really do with the book until the very end and still it really doesn't.