Sunday, February 7, 2010

Mini-Impressions: Don't Tell by Karen Rose

It was a desperate plan. But Mary Grace Winters knew the only way to save herself and her child from her abusive cop husband was to stage their own death. Now all that remains of their former life is at the bottom of a lake. Armed with a new identity in a new town, she and her son have found refuge hundreds of miles away. As Caroline Stewart, she has almost forgotten the nightmare she left behind nine years ago. She is even taking a chance on love with Max Hunter, a man with wounds of his own. But her past is about to collide with the present when her husband uncovers her trail and threatens her hard-won peace. Step by step, he's closing in on her- and everything and everyone she loves.
Don't Tell by Karen Rose was definitely a solid read for me. It was pretty heavy though -- the villain of the piece is a cop and a wife beater. Rose is very descriptive when writing the violent scenes in the book, specifically the scenes where Mary Grace/Caroline is abused. Rose certainly doesn't pull her punches when it comes to describing the damage done by this man to his wife and child. She addresses both the physical and psychological damage done to families by abusive husbands, as well as the "blue wall of silence" that is often found when it comes to cops who beat their wives. She doesn't paint a pretty picture nor does she gloss over the consequences.

I'm not going to beat around the bush, at times this was a tough book to read for me personally. However, I was quite impressed with how well Ms. Rose researched battered wives and the long-term psychological impact abuse has on their lives, as well the lives of children who witness the abuse.

The romance was very well done in this book also. Yes, there is a romance that takes place after all the violence takes place and in the midst of the suspense, and it fits... it really does. As the hero, Ms. Rose chooses Max, a man who needs Caroline as much as she needs him. In each other, they find love, healing and a much-needed family.

Personally, I wish the climax with the villain had been less melodramatic. I was hoping Caroline would find closure in a different way -- that part of the book was a personal disappointment. After a while, I'm afraid the villain-husband-cop became a bit too much of a monster and diminished some of the initial, real impact he had on me. On the other hand, there are some great secondary characters in this book I hope to see in future books.

I'll definitely be reading more by Karen Rose in the future. I've already chosen Have You Seen Her? as my next read. Grade: Solid B

See Nath's review of Don't Tell at Books, Books and more Books. Nath's relentless love for Rose's books made me look at her work twice. Tabitha's (Tabz Book Blog) reviews of other books by Rose finished the job. Thank you both for the recommendations. :)

6 comments:

  1. I *really* need to dig out more of my Karen Rose books from the TBR! I have been highly impressed with all of her stuff that I've read thus far. She and Allison Brennan are two auto-buy authors for me.

    This would be a hard book to read, but I have faith in her to pull it off. I'll be tearing my bedroom apart to find it. Thanks for reviewing it!

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  2. Yes, I'm happy to see we have another Karen Rose fan!

    I love your take on Don't Tell, which was also a tough book for me to read. But KR writes it so well that I couldn't put it down until I finished the book.

    It's been awhile since I read Have You Seen Her. I can't wait to refresh my memory with your review of it. hehe!

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  3. Oh, a new-to-me author. I wonder if my library holds her books... Oh, and I see you're reading The Outback Stars (Sandra McDonald). I really enjoyed it so can't wait to hear what you think :)

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  4. Amy, I keep hearing such wonderful things about Rose -- now I understand why. Yes the book is tough to read, but I would say worth the read... I hope you find it!

    Tabz, as tough as this book was, I couldn't put it down either. I really liked her style. I'll be reading the next one soon. :)

    Orannia, let us know what you think of Rose if you decide to pick up her books. I finished The Outback Stars... I hope to do a write up soon -- interesting, very interesting!

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  5. Glad you enjoyed it, Hils :D I really thought the author balanced well the romance and suspense. I do understand what you mean though about the villain becoming too villain. Ah well, a good book :D As long as it makes you pick up the rest of her backlist, I'm happy LOL.

    By the way, Count to Ten is Ames, Tabitha and my favorite :P

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  6. Nath, I'm definitely picking up her backlist. She definitely does a wonderful job of balance the romance and suspense. At least she did in this book. :) Looking forward to reading Count to Ten.

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