I want to start this review on a positive note.This author is very promising and her writing is phenomenal. The sex scenes in particular were too HOT and I am still fanning myself. This book was a very promising start to this duet.
Let me highlight the plus points:
1) The start was PERFECT. I was worried that it would start with digging deep into Charlotte's issues in her marriage and how it became worse as time passed and she felt lonely and sad enough to notice Will and how gradually yet slowly their relation developed starting from friendship, and moving onto sex. BUT I was wrong. If the author had chosen that path, it would be too predictable, and boring even. She completely threw me off course and took me by complete surprise with her prologue. I also loved how the very first chapter started with Will ( her marriage counsellor) initiating sex and her willingly agreeing. And yet, never once did it feel like the relation was purely sexual. No, though they might have started out with sex by acting on their lust, they actually fell in love and I loved the whole chemistry between the two and how their love story initiated and the turns it took. It was very atypical but just what this book needed to make it different from those other 'affair' stories.
2) Continuing my first point, I can add that, this book maintained its originality throughout. There are certain elements and drama that I had expected after learning about Matt and Charlotte's past but again I was surprised with the route the author took in resolving that issue. This book always chose to take a different path and it was a very refreshing change indeed. I especially loved the kind of past that Matt and Charlotte shared that made them so co-dependent and to a large extent I could understand why she chose to stay in this failing marriage.
3) The writing was extremely good, fresh and sex scenes were seriously one of the best that I have read. There were a lot of them ( more on that later) but every one of them was written in a very creative and graphical way and never once did I feel like skipping any of it. Too good!! Kudos to the author for that.
Now, coming to the negatives.
The story, though was based on a heavy and controversial matter ( failing marriage, cheating) and was also forbidden of sorts ( Will was their marriage counselor), it was relatively simple and in a nutshell could be described as a woman, finding love outside of her marriage when her marriage started to go downhill. The other guy being her marriage counselor and the choices she had to make thereafter. Though it wasn't along the predictable lines, the drama quotient was very less and everytime I felt there might be a plot-twist, or something big would happen, I was left disappointed. It almost felt I was teased around for something dramatic but that never actual played out. Even the climax wasn't that shocking. It was surprisingly smooth and didn't create much havoc as such. Even a cliffhanger could have a proved a better ending for this book. Somehow given the exceptional writing, the story fell short.
Then I come to characters. Will was very interesting, as close to perfect as a flawed person can possibly get and an excellent boyfriend/ love/ counselor maybe? THere was nothing to point out and and say he fell short at.( except sleeping with client and breaking his code of ethics) and this 'flawless' lover made him kind of unrealistic. Not that I didn't like him, but I always felt there might be more to him and his past but at least in this book, it wasn't explored. Hoping to learn more about him other than his love for Charlotte. Speaking of Charlotte, I can't still figure out if I would should be labeling her weak and meek or strong and patient? I am confused. And though I like more sassy and strong female protagonists, she didn't frustrate me. Though I loved her chemistry with Will, I still don't quite grasp what makes her so alluring for Will. More chapters from Will's perspective might answer that question. Matt, as a character wasn't explored in detail. He wasn't fleshed out much and my verdict regarding him is still pending. He is a very busy guy and doesn't make time for his wife. That makes him a bad husband, but is he a bad guy? Jury is not out on that. Not sure about the picture the author is trying to paint but I am leaning towards him being pushed to becoming a bad guy.
Also, as good as the sex scenes were, I think there were too many in the book, which I kind of took away the starlight from the story. And to an extent they were distracting. It was already established that Will and Charlotte had great sex life and they were amazing on bed together so there was no requirement of adding THAT many sex scenes. They didn't add to the story nor did they prove any point.
BUt having said that, I do want to stress that I loved the book. It was a great and honest attempt in dealing with such a subject matter. I will definitely be reading part two.
4 dazzling hot stars