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Reviewed by Jenny and Gitte
‘You didn’t leave this world with anything other than your name, and being a Callaghan meant something.’
Wow! What an intriguing tale of secrets and lies, deceit and duplicity, pain and torment – a heartbreaking and gripping game of cat and mouse all set against the backdrop of a ruthless and cunning crime family and a forbidden love between a woman and her boyfriend’s brother that ran soul deep.
‘I would spend the rest of my life thanking him. I would have spent the last twelve showing my gratitude, if he had let me in.’
This was our first read by Carina Adams and we’re now eager to experience more from this very talented author as she sure can spin a good story! We must firstly say, this isn’t a love triangle, but in a way, it is a forbidden love – a story of a woman who would endure so much for those she loved and her suffering is one that will have you seething over the vile man who inflicts her pain and have your heart breaking for the brother whose only crime was to love and protect her with everything he has.
“You’re supposed to be afraid of me, Gabs, not afraid for me.”
Writing a love story with a foreboding atmosphere of domestic violence is always going to be gritty, powerful and raw reading and this book won’t be for everyone because. What Gabby endures at the hands of her boyfriend Dustin will make you angry and sick, the depths of deceit within this story will have you gasping!
Almost Innocent is told in dual POV between Gabby and Declan, Dustin’s brother, who returns after serving twelve years in jail. Declan has resigned himself to the fact that Gabby will never be his but his love for her has never waned through the years. Gabby has and always will be the only woman for him.
‘He’d once been a boy filled with dreams and plans to get out of this shitty little town and see the world. Apparently that kid, and his ideologies was gone.’
Gabby is now in hiding with her son Grady, about to write a fictional book based on her life as part of one of Maine’s biggest Irish/American crime families but will it be fictional enough to keep her privacy intact? As Declan and Gabby’s story unfolds through past/present switches we are treated to some heart racing twists and turns and revelations that will rock the foundations of this family. Just who is who and what is what had our heads spinning!
We really did enjoy Almost Innocent and the only issue we had was with the past/present switches, which, for us, tended to impact the momentum of the story. Because of this, whilst we felt incredibly compassionate and sorry for Gabby and the abuse she suffered at the hands of the cruel and vicious Dustin, we didn’t experience the gut churning sick in the stomach feeling we would normally encounter in these type of gritty reads. In some ways we felt this heart-breaking journey skimmed a story and the somewhat lack of depth and character development resulted in us feeling like we were being told something as supposed to experiencing it or being part of it. The epilogue was nothing short of beautiful and exactly what our hearts required after the exhausting and gripping journey Carina Adams took us on.