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Title: Escaping from the Shadows by C L Tustin
Author: C L Tustin
Genre: Romance (undertone of threat)
Publication Date: 10th February 2021
Anastasia Travess is caring, beautiful and talented, but all her life her abusive father has kept her down. Seeking love wherever she can there has only ever been one man she trusts, one man who makes her complete and he rejected her years ago.
Piers Talbot is an enigma, a charming bachelor with only one woman in his heart. But when offered a choice between fixing his estranged family and obtaining his heart’s desire he makes probably the worst decision of his life.
When Anastasia rekindles her past relationship with Piers’ younger brother, the lines between love and loyalty become blurred. Amid danger, betrayal and deception, Anastasia is forced to question everything she thought she knew.
But will Anastasia have the courage to escape from the shadows?
I've just finished reading Escaping From The Shadows and I'll be honest, I'm still reeling. That really was quite a rollercoaster.
It's the story of soulmates Anastasia and Piers, both too scared to admit how they feel about the other. Anastasia jumps from one relationship to another, but her true love Piers is always at the forefront of her mind, like she is for him.
This is a gripping romantic suspense with a dark undertone that doesn't really shine through until half way through the book. It differs from the romances I usually read, in that it is completely clean, but the well narrated and fast flowing dialogue and well developed characters are skilfully done so the reader does not feel the loss of the steamier scenes and remains engaged.
The novel is unexpectedly angsty and adrenaline pumping the further into the story you read. As an author of dark romantic suspense myself, of course this was a good match for me.
The beginning of the book was intriguing, a little too many love interests for Anastasia perhaps as I felt some were not completely necessary. It seems everyone under forty has been or is in love with Anastasia, however the reader discovers there is a point to this as the plot progresses and that is to incite Mark's jealousy (who is Pier's brother and Anastasia's boyfriend).
With regards to Anastasia's character, I liked her well enough, but never really connected on a deeper level with her. Perhaps this is due to the story being told in the third person. I did feel on many occasions though that Anastasia was an utterly insensitive flirt and that did annoy me a little.
I loved Pier's character, but felt also that if he was the protective alpha male he was made out to be, he would have acted on his feelings earlier, despite mending the family rifts which was the reason he didn't. I would have loved to find out a little bit more about Pier's job for the government. The job of another brother, Guy, could have also been explained more to make the ending neater.
Mark was crafted just as the author intended, as a man you love to hate, but going from not having contacted Anastasia in seven years to falling deeply in love within a few days and then wanting to propose in just over a week (despite her giving many prompts she wanted to end the relationship) did seem a little too short a time span to be really believable.
To some extent I wonder if Bryan and Anastasia's relationship and then Bryan and Suzanna's relationship was really necessary. Another couple who got together just hours after Bryan had been declaring his devotion to Anastasia and never really noticed Suzanna before. Within a week they were engaged. Again just a little too quick to be believable.
All in all, considering the novel was written in the third person allowing a multitude of characters to be able to tell their part in the story, it was extremely well done. It's a well deserved four out of five stars for me.