In her fourth romance, Robards ( This Side of Heaven ) combines elements of wife abuse, sexual secrets and mother love. Lyle and Maggy Forrest and their son David, 11, seem to be a stable, wealthy Kentucky family, but Lyle is physically abusive and Maggy is trapped by a web of secrets and by her love for her son. Then after 12 years, Nick King, Maggy's protector when they were children in the Louisville projects and David's real father, reappears as a prosperous nightclub owner. Although unaware of David's patrimony, King wants Maggy back and to do so he is "looking for dirt" about Lyle. There turns out to be plenty. Blackmail, the DEA and other elements follow along with a large cast of secondary characters like Tia Gloria who thinks she's psychic; Nick's half-brother Link, who has a shady past; and a huge, nasty parrot named Horatio who plays a vital (though incredible) role in the denouement. After Maggy is freed from a horrible memory, love scenes (with Nick) are frequent and explicit. Robards's language is often mundane: "You take my breath away," says Nick, looking at the "strawberry-tipped bounty of her breasts." Nor is the author's treatment of the crucial issue of wife abuse exactly profound or realistic. Love does conquer all, though, as formula dictates.
Uneven handling prevents a good premise from reaching its full potential in this novel by the author of One Summer ( LJ 2/1/93). Magdalena Garcia married wealthy Lyle Forrest so that she could escape the harsh life of the projects in Louisville, Kentucky. Twelve years later, Maggy suffers physical abuse at the hands of her blue-blood husband, who emotionally manipulates her 11-year-old son, David, as the means of keeping her in the marriage. Then Nick King reappears. Nick, Maggy's childhood protector and later her lover, swears he never stopped loving her, which elicits dangerous reactions from Lyle and leaves Maggy torn between the love of her life and her son. The last 12 years of Nick's mysterious past are kept hidden too long, while several chapters contain unnecessary hints about Maggy's obvious "secret." And if evil Lyle can so easily manipulate David, using his affections against her, how can David quickly accept Nick as his biological father? Recommended only for larger romance collections.
A page turner all the way to the end! So much packed into one book.
She was Mrs. Lyle Forrest now, the coolly leegant wife of Louisville's most prominent publisher, the slum girl whose dreams -and nightmares-came true the night she married the multimillionaire old enough to be her father, for twelve years Maggy played the role of the beautiful,devoted wife, the burnished jewel in Lyle's crown, mother of the child he adored, she did it for Dvaid, the son who could never know the price she paid to protect him, would never see her scars. Suddenly Maggy's hard-worn control shattered when Nick King came back to claim her. It was twelve years since the parted, twelve years of fear and loathing at the hands of Lyle Forrest. She couldn't afford to remember the soul searing passion she'd known so long ago in the arms of the only man she'd ever loved, she must think of David, her son, Lyle's most potent weapon and not of the man she could never forget, Nick who'd returned to set her free.
This is the story of an emotionally and physically abused woman, whose weathy husband controls her by threatening to take her son, being rescued by a former boyfriend - and eventually, the old romance takes off again.
I can see where the idea of an woman being rescued from an abusive relationship by a former boyfriend would be appealing to someone who is trapped in a bad relationship herself, but at the same time, the theme of having to be rescued like that -- instead of taking charge of your own life -- left a bad taste in my mouth. It's almost like the book is encouraging you to enjoy being a victim. But, as long as you don't take that side of the book too seriously, and just enjoy it on the surface as a knight in shining armor story, this is an enjoyable book and an easy read.
A riveting novel of Love, lust, and savagery in Kentucky's bluegrass country-A spellbinding story of a mother's sacrifice, a dynesty's power, and one man's passion to reclaim the woman who was born to be his.