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Book Review: Vivian's List

Updated: Apr 12, 2023

After breaking up with her emotionally abusive boyfriend, Vivian decides it’s time for a change. A change that includes finding out what all the fuss is about sex. Yeah, she’s had sex before but she’s never really enjoyed it. Enter Liam, her brother’s best friend and soldier home on leave. He finds the list and vows to make Vivian’s dreams come true. Even if it means losing himself in the process. In a way, this a sweet erotic romance. I know, total contradiction right? But it’s not. It’s sweet in the whole "these two characters are perfect for each other; now kiss!" way.

Erotic Romance in that there was kissing. Lots of kissing. Glorious kissing. Oodles of kissing. Followed by pages upon pages of foreplay. I really appreciated the effort put into the foreplay and non-penetrative sex scenes. And there is a lot of sex.

In addition to the sex, I also appreciated the message throughout the story of 'find someone who loves you for you and will let you be yourself.' Seriously, this is rarer in romance than you’d think. The number of “change yourself for the one you love” stories that are out there are frankly sickening. It’s okay if you want to change yourself and the love helps you. It’s not okay if you compromise your identity for another.

Coming from an abusive relationship, I appreciated how the author showed that not all abuse is physical and you don’t need to be struck by a fist to be struck down. But it’s because of this that I need to give a very clear trigger warning. Emotional abuse and its after effects are in full display here.

The story got knocked down a star because while I liked the characters, I didn’t fall in love with them. This, coupled with what was ultimately a very thin plot, means I didn’t enjoy it as much as some other stories. The ending is hopeful, but with a twinge of bittersweet. It’s a foregone conclusion that it can’t be a happy ever after, seriously it can’t. I suspect the next book in the series addresses this and gives the characters their happy ending. In all, this was a good read.

Four stars.

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