Because I enjoyed Dearth's first book so much; Believe Like a Child, I jumped at the chance to read this next one. The first day I picked it up I could only get through the first 50 pages before I just had to put it down. The next time I picked it up I read until 1:00 am and hated to stop but my eyes would no longer stay open and I couldn't cry any longer. The third day I finished it in four hours.
Why did I cry? Because Dearth's writing voice instantly catches your attention with the raw emotions of her characters and the next thing you know, you've become vested in their welfare. You desperately want the protagonist to get a break in life. You want him/her to find love. You want them to find happiness. In short, because their life has been so horribly bad, you want them to get the "happily ever after". But like I said to myself when I closed the book; and incidentally what Dearth's real live Remo said, if it ended with a "happily ever after", it wouldn't be a Paige Dearth book.
Emma Murphy's life has been filled with one abusive man after another. She was beaten both physically, mentally, and repeatedly by her father Pepper while her mother just sat by and let it happen. At the tender age of eight, her father raped her. Then he began beating Emma's sister Gracie and that was something Emma just couldn't let continue.
When Pepper Murphy dies so does the abuse. That is until her mother brings home Jake, and he's just as bad as Pepper was if not worse. A true sexual predator, Jake has eyes for both Emma and Gracie. The last straw was drawn however when Emma found Gracie close to death buried in the basement of their home. That was it, Jake had to go.
After a short time Emma finally found someone that showed her love, and along with Gracie she moved in with Ethan. He was sweet and kind, and Emma couldn't believe her luck. Finally, she and her sister were loved and above all safe. That was until the other shoe dropped. Ethan was not who he pretended to be. She had to get away from him.
Starting over, Emma finds an old street friend and moves in with her and a bunch of other kids only to be found by Ethan and thrown back into the abuse she has suffered.
Drama. Hate. Passion. Along with Believe Like a Child, When Smiles Fade is a must read!
5 of 5 stars
Available at Amazon
Book Description: via Amazon