So, I have this thing for bad boys. A “penchant” if you will. And I’ve been blessed with it since a very young age. I’m sure this comes as no “real” surprise to you (since I tend to gush over overprotective males in literature: Travis, Chase, Daemon… etc.) but until this weekend I considered it no big deal. Sure, I brought home every father’s worst nightmare when I was in highschool (what teenage girl doesn’t) And yes, my two best friends were male and A. a highschool dropout and B. A felon (no I’m not joking) but that was just my naive adolescence talking. Right?
While I don’t condone anger (thanks to not 1 but 2 anger management classes. Don’t judge me!) and murder and drug dealing are big fat no-no’s on my to-do list. I’m unequivocally drawn to these brooding, broken characters in literature.
Why? You might ask.
Who really knows. Maybe it’s the ability to experience a tumultuous-up-and-down-rollercoaster-love-ends-all-relationship without the pressure of actually being in one. Maybe, these particular characters are the ones that make emotion literally jump from the page. Whatever the case may be.
My name is Misty Baker, and I have a bad-boy addiction.
Which brings me to Julie Hockley’s novel Crow’s Row.
For college student Emily Sheppard, the thought of spending a summer alone in New York is much more preferable than spending it in France with her parents. Just completing her freshman year at Callister University, Emily faces a quiet summer in the city slums, supporting herself by working at the campus library.
During one of her jogs through the nearby cemetery while visiting her brother Bill’s grave, Emily witnesses a brutal killing—and then she blacks out. When Emily regains consciousness, she realizes she’s been kidnapped by a young crime boss and his gang. She is hurled into a secret underworld, wondering why she is still alive and for how long.
Held captive in rural Vermont, she tries to make sense of her situation and what it means. While uncovering secrets about her brother and his untimely death, Emily falls in love with her very rich and very dangerous captor, twenty-six year- old Cameron. She understands it’s a forbidden love and one that won’t allow her to return to her previous life. But love may not be enough to save Emily when no one even knows she is missing.
If I’m being totally honest with you (and really…when am I not.) I picked up Hockley’s book for one and one reason only. Because it screamed “Stockholm Syndrome” which I am unabashedly fascinated with. The way I see it, there is nothing more screwed up than falling for the man who basically locks you in jail cell for a lengthy period of time. Screwed up and completely fascinating.
Unfortunately (for my gut instincts) that is NOT what Crow’s Row was about (although it was mentioned in the novel.) Instead it was about self discovery.
“Oh come on Misty!! You say every book is about self discovery!”
Yeah, you are probably right. But this was something significantly different.
Let me ask you a question. Can you love someone unconditionally?
For those of you that threw out a hell yes without really thinking about it. Go back and try again, BUT add in these few details.
Could you love someone unconditionally if you KNEW (without a shadow of a doubt…cause you witnessed it) that they were a murder? Could you love someone unconditionally if you were certain that, if trouble arose because of you, they wouldn’t hesitate to kill you? How about kidnapping? Could you love someone unconditionally if they kidnapped you?
These are the realities that Emily (in Crow’s Row) has to face. Harsh realities. But realities all the same. Realities that had me curled up in the fetal position, cussing the author for ultimately initiating a Mississippi River sized snot stream of ridiculousness that graced my splotchy face for more than 2 hours.
Like I said above, there is just something about the complexities ingrained in “bad boys” that brings out the best in a writers ability to evoke true emotion in their readers. There is nothing more powerful than a broken person, and whether we would like to admit it our not (on a conscious level) all of us, ALL OF US, feel broken in one way or another allowing us to sympathise, and connect to characters we would otherwise find loathsome in our everyday lives.
Hockley took the worst of the worst, allowed us to peek behind his curtain and ultimately fall in love with someone unlovable.
Beautiful. Torturous. Heart-stopping.
She challenged her characters. She challenged her readers. And she asked a very important question:
At what point does your devotion to someone become a liability?
Highly recommended, but be sure to stock up with kleenex first. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Happy reading my fellow Kindle-ites and remember: Everyone has a story. Take the time to listen to the entire thing before you pass judgement.
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