Karen Does, Kimberly Holt-Whitlock...
So I read Kimberly Holt-Whitlock’s book, Fading Illusions yesterday.
Here’s the blurb:
Laynee and Mike Morgan have been married for several years. Their relationship developed when the real love of Laynee’s life, Cole Henderson caught them together when he came back to town, after a long absence, and automatically assumed that they’d been having an affair. Laynee being obviously pregnant didn’t help matters, and Cole assumed that the baby was Mike’s.
Angry at the assumed betrayal, Cole leaves Laynee, and the town that he was brought up in, to do God knows what, with God knows who.
Alone and pregnant, Laynee turns to Mike, who’s been in love with her forever. Mike, seeing this as the perfect opportunity to make Laynee his at last, offers to marry her, and bring the child up as his own.
Fast-foward eight years later, and Cole returns home, ready to face Laynee, whom he hasn’t been able to forget since he left.
When Laynee catches sight of Cole, she realises that her feelings for him have never changed.
Laynee and Mike’s marriage has been far from perfect, and his infidelities haven’t made things any easier.
Mike has always suspected that his wife is still in love with Cole, although in the early years, he did what he could to try to make her love him.
Fed up with his life and his wife, when Mike goes away on a business trip, he picks up a psycho-bitch woman called Becca, and proceeds to sleep with her.
After the event, Mike feels guilty about his infidelity, and goes home, to find that his longtime rival for Laynee’s affection, Cole Henderson has come home.
Will he be able to save their marriage, or will he watch her and the love of her life ride off into the sunset, taking the child that he has brought up as his own with them?
The good thing about this book was that I was able to keep reading it, although it was bloody hard work. At least it didn’t make me want to stab myself in the eye. With a rusty fork. Much.
I’m not sure I was overly fond of Holt-Whitlock’s voice. It seemed to drain the energy right out of me. There are some stories that seem to do that, and unfortunately, Fading Illusions was one of them.
If I was to categorise this book, I’d probably find it quite hard to do so. I couldn’t figure out whether it was a romance or not. The story was told from two points of views, Laynee’s and Mike’s, rather than Laynee’s and Cole’s, thus I got the impression that this was a book without an actual traditional hero. Plus with all the cheating that Mike was doing, I couldn’t possibly see him as a hero.
I wasn’t keen on Laynee, she was too passive aggressive for my taste. I loathe heroines who aren’t able to take control of their lives, and are happy to let things happen to them, rather than making decisions for themselves.
My other problem with Laynee was that she was dull as dishwater, and I spent most of the book willing her to grow a backbone, and tell both Mike and Cole to fuck off. Neither of them deserved to get her as far as I was concerned.
Mike was a selfish, cheating bastard, who seemed to blame his failures on his wife. He’d connived and engineered the whole misunderstanding that had ocurred between Laynee and Cole years ago, but didn’t seem to want to bear any responsibility for the way that things had turned out.
The fact that he went out and cheated on Laynee with that skanky ho, Becca, after promising her that he would stay faithful, fully justified my feelings towards him. He was a rat bastard louse.
Laynee and Mike were basically two people who should have never had sex, much less got married. Even Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have more of a chance of making things work than these two people. OK, maybe a slight exaggeration.
Cole Henderson was ok, if a little petulant, but so blahh, that I wished something would happen to bring him out of his seemingly semi-comatosed state. The man was D.U.L.L duuuuuull! Not hero material at all.
The book was littered with legions of secondary characters, including the self-serving conniving Becca, whom Mike cheated with, Laynee’s sister, whose name I’ve forgotten, Mike’s parents, and Cole’s entire family, including his father who was dying of cancer. (Erm… I think it was cancer, I can’t be arsed going back to check) I must admit, I didn’t understand the whole cancer plotline as I felt it was totally extraneous to the story.
This book was about very ordinary people, experiencing very ordinary, 21st Century problems, but quite frankly, if I wanted to read about ordinary people, I’d visit our neighbour Betty, who has a dog that barks all fucking day.
If you’re looking for a pacy, well constructed story, with vibrant, colourful characters, then I’m afraid that this isn’t it. It was all over the place, seemed to lack any particular direction, and drifted along at a pace that would have put a tortoise to shame.
Sorry Kimberly, this book just wasn’t for me. Maybe next time? *Passes over the ice-cream tub*
Oh by the way, I also hated the cover. Dull. Dull. Dull. Seriously, whoever thought this cover was a good idea needs stringing up. Until they say sorry at least.
You can learn more about Kimberly Holt-Whitlock here, and buy Fading Illusions, here.