Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Unforgiven by Elizabeth Finn

Unforgiven** 4 out of 5 Stars **

**WARNING:  SPOILERS AHEAD**

A mistake made long ago...
Pain buried so deep...

When Bailey Trent returns home to her small little Ozark mountain town after being away for nearly six years, she knows she'll face the ghosts of her past.  It does not mean she's prepared to come face to face with the cruelest of those memories.

Darren Cory's life is a shell of what it once was, and when he's forced to endure the cause of his agony, hatred abounds quickly.  But hating Bailey destroys him too.

Can Darren find a way to move past the pain and forgive the woman he once cared so much for before his anger consumes them both?  Or will he drag them into the hell of an unforgiven past?

MY REVIEW...



What to say, what to say??  There were part of this book that I loved and then there were parts that I absolutely hated.  As far as the writing style and things of that nature go...it was perfect.  The book is written in dual POV so I really enjoyed getting both versions of how they were feeling.  It was easy to read but a bit long.  Part of the book is present day while other parts are past events leading up until the day she steps foot back in town.  You understand right away that Darren and Bailey had something intense once.  It was so intense no one else existed when they were in the room together.  But before anything could come of it something terrible happened that destroyed their relationship and any future they may have built.  I wanna say I saw what had happened coming.  There aren't many things that can make a person hate you once they love you.  I felt for Darren, I really did.  It was obvious that he was hurting and that he placed full blame on her.  At times I bought into the things he said, I really felt he hated her.  With that being said, one of the things I hated was the way he spoke to her.  I don't care how much you dislike someone, you have no right to say those sort of things about a person.  I had a hard time liking the guy honestly.  But even with all the hatred he spewed I've always heard, "The opposite of love isn't hate, it's indifference."  That man wasn't indifferent about Bailey at all.  Bailey has been through a lot.  She blames herself and she can't get past what she's done.  Life is hard for her and he definitely isn't going to make it easy on her.  This story is tragic and it will take your emotions on an intense ride.

Things I loved...

  1. Darren...from about 70% through the end.  He goes from being horrible to perfect in no time.
  2. Michelle-She's Bailey's best friend.  She stands up for her against Darren and the entire town
  3. Bailey's strength
  4. The ending!
Things I hated...
  1. Darren until about 70%
  2. The amount of time it took him to open his dang eyes and see what he had
  3. The hot and cold of both characters
All in all this book is worth reading.  I enjoyed it.  Even though I had trouble liking Darren he does redeem himself and then I started to fall for him.  I give it 4 stars.  4 because I just didn't like Darren up until the end.  I also am not a fan of a book that has flashbacks.  I'm invested in the present story so I tend to just skim flashbacks.  That's just a personal preference so check this book out for yourself.  It's worth it!

BOOK SUMMARY...

To save your eyes from reading and my fingers from typing I'm just gonna cut to the heart of the matter.  There are a few things you need to know if you're looking for spoilers.
  1. Bailey has been away for 6 years because she's been in prison serving a sentence for vehicular homicide.
  2. The person she killed was riding with her.  Her name was Jesse and they had left a party after they both had been drinking.  Jesse was Bailey's best friend and she was also Darren's sister.  Darren was on the phone with Jesse when the wreck happened.
  3. He absolutely hates her but can't be away from her either.  He's torn, confused and he lashes out as a result.
Ok so Darren and Bailey come face to face for the first time in 6 years when she comes into the ER needing stitches.  He's the attending doctor.  He isn't nice to her, he's not gentle and he likes seeing her in pain.  He's rough with her and she leaves trying to get away before she cries.  He sees her the following day at the vets office while picking up his dog.  He informs the woman she works for that she's a felon and it cost her her job.  Like I said, he is far from nice to her and he wants to see her suffer.  I found myself thinking, "Ok geez, I get it, you hate her.  Leave her alone already."  Something that apparently never occured to him is the fact that it could just as easily have been his sister driving.  Instead of living without his sister he could be living without the woman he loved.


He shows up at her door a few days later and they end up sitting on the floor.  What he does to her is just mean.  Things get heated and then they get heated in the sexual sense.  He's almost forceful but eventually leaves her sitting in the floor and leaves.  He doesn't understand why he can't stay away from her.  He tells her before leaving that night that he can't be around her anymore and that he's leaving the hospital and then town.  She tells him to stay and makes plans to move to Memphis with her mother.  He hates this.  His problem is that he's not really over her and truth be told doesn't really want to be.  This is the part he can't handle.  He shows up her house a week later and tells her to stay.  He needs to work through this and he can't do it without her there.  We find out later that another reason is that if he left he would always be able to find her but if she leaves he'll loose her and forever is a long time to spend without someone you love.  

She ends up house sitting and puppy sitting for him while he works.  He pays her to do this.  Things are strained in the beginning.  They occasionally run a trail close to his house together.  They speak without screaming.  He is still extremely hot and cold with her.  At times he is almost like the man who hadn't lost his sister but others I was pretty sure he wanted her far away.  After a public fight where for lack of a better word he was being an ass, she leaves him sitting at the table and avoids him for days.  Darren doesn't like being avoided...especially by Bailey.  He comes home unannounced late one night and things happen.  They don't sleep together but the scene is steamy.  Things don't end well which leads to avoidance again.  When they finally come face to face again, he pretty much throws the fact that he has a date in her face without actually meaning to.  The thought of hurting her is becoming revolting to him now.  She comes in the next morning to find a destroyed bed.  Tears lead to anger which leads to a fight.  He tells her he hates her and she tells him they have something in common.  She's giving up on forgiveness and going for full time avoidance.

Days pass, he's miserable without her but confused about why.  He finds her but his previous date shows up.  There we learn that he didn't have sex with the woman, his bed was destroyed because he couldn't sleep.  He tells the woman he's not interested right in front of Bailey.  They talk and he asks her to go home with him.  She agrees.  Things happen but they don't sleep together because he can't go there yet.  Even at this point you could tell he was changing.  The lines between love and hate are becoming crossed and he knows it.  A few weeks pass and things get better but he's still mean to her.  It's not so much hatred now as confusion about what he's feeling.

She's injured while running and after panicking he's the one who finds her.  After taking her to the hospital and bringing her home to rest things go downhill fast.  He's questioned by his mother and he goes on the defensive.  He says things that aren't kind.  Seriously, if it had been me, that's one man who would have been finding his way off the floor and I'd probably be going to jail...just sayin'.  He talks about taking advantage of her and dragging her through hell with him.  He calls her a "poor little murderer" and worthless.  These things can't be taken back.  After his mom leaves, Michelle shows up and he realizes that Bailey wasn't asleep.  He realizes the damage that has been when he sees her.  He also realizes that he was lashing out and he doesn't feel any of those things about her anymore...not even a little bit.  She leaves his house and he lets her go.

"You will always be my world."



He might not be able to quiet the past enough to put it away yet, but he'd learned not to hate her.  How could he ever have?  She was his Bailey.

She decides to move to Memphis with her mother and they don't speak for the week before she leaves.  She writes him a letter which messes him up pretty good.  He now sees that he no longer hates her and he's not sure if he ever really did to begin with.  He shows up at her door the night before she leaves and they end up spending the night together and they finally have sex for the first time.  It's hot and intense.  He leaves her that night.  He doesn't ask her to stay and he knows that even though he loves her and he's willing to admit it he has to let her go.  He sees that he's the problem not her and he's not willing to drag her down with him so he walks away even though it almost kills him.



6 weeks pass and other than a message on her birthday they don't hear from each other.  He's living in hell without her, literally on autopilot.  She's not doing much better either.  In a twist that I didn't see coming, her mother is killed in a car accident.  She's alone and doesn't know what to do.  Darren hears about it but not from her.  He takes off to be with her and finds her at the hospital.  He wants to be her support since his sister's death was harder on him because he didn't have her.  He pays for the cost of the funeral and to have her moved back to their hometown.  He takes her home to his house and takes care of her.  This is where he became perfect.  He held her for hours without saying a word, made baths for her, feed her, held her when she cries, slept cuddled up to her.  He was her rock.  He is going to be there for her through everything...and so is his mother.

He has decided at this point that he wants her.  Not just in town but in his home.  He loves her.  A week or so later she has to make a decision about where she's going to live.  Her PO is coming to see her.  Darren asks her to stay with him.  She needs to know if he has forgiven her and when he can't answer she knows she can't stay without it.  She moves ahead with her plans to move back to Memphis.  After talking to his mother he realizes that he's already forgiven her.  He doesn't feel anger, resentment, nothing.  He just loves her and wants to be with her.

Finally getting his head on straight, he goes after her and tells her exactly what he's feeling.  He tells her he loves her and always has and he tells her that he has forgiven her.  Then he begs her to stay with him.  She agrees.

The epilogue happens 2 years later.  It's the night before the wedding.  They have found peace and happiness.  They go to therapy together and they are finally back to who they were before the night that changed their plans.  He proposed a year after they had been together in the same spot he forgave her.

My Darren / Bailey