Thirty Days of Shame
Thirty Days of Shame is the second book in a three-book serial. It ends with a cliffhanger. If you haven’t read Thirty Days of Pain, the first book in the series, beware because this review may contain SPOILERS.
TDoS picks up a month or two after the end of TDoP. Willow has managed to get her cousins and aunt away from her uncle and Sergei, her captor. She’s careful to take any and all precautions to prevent being found, but it doesn’t last and she’s soon back with Sergei, forced into another thirty day agreement to be his captive. Willow doesn’t go easily, but when she realizes she’s safer with him than without, she gives in and Sergei resumes his torment.
By the end of book one, Willow has become fed up with everything: Sergei, her uncle, herself. She gets angry and doesn’t hesitate to show it. Unfortunately, as book two progresses, she becomes even more enamored with Sergei and loses a lot of her fire. Yet, Sergei is just as abusive as he was before, if not more so. He goes out of his way to hurt her (emotionally and physically) and she knows it, yet it’s still her sobbing and begging, always. I wanted her strong and mad, not desperate and broken.
The reader is finally given an explanation of Sergei’s past, explaining why he does what he does. And even though I cried at his backstory, his violence was excessive and I wouldn’t mind much if only Willow wasn’t falling more in love with him every time he beat her. He’s the villain and the hero, and I realize it’s not easy to write such characters. My problem is more with Willow’s reaction to his violence. She justifies that she deserves what he doles out, that no matter what he does to her she’ll always love him, and that she will fight for him. Sergei needs to show more growth and emotion and fight for her, not the other way around.
I love dark romances, but their relationship is more fitting for a thriller about Stockholm Syndrome rather than a romance. Sergei is too manipulative and domineering of a character for me to want to root for, but I’m still going to see this series out to its end. And hopefully, book three will finally give Willow the upper-hand.
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.