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The Art of Forgiveness has done something that very few books have been able to do, and that is get a good review despite my mixed feelings. Because, make no mistake, this story by Monique Orgeron is a good read. A frustrating and compelling read all at once.
Avery was a victim of bullying at school and verbal abuse at home for most of her life and I understand that informed a lot of what she did and how she acted. But her willingness to just push her happiness aside—as an adult—for her delusional mother made it hard to sympathize with her. During the first few chapters of the book I nearly stopped reading because I just couldn’t take her saying ‘oh it was easier so I just did as she said’. It was so damn frustrating.
Then the sh*t hit the fan and I stayed up way too late trying to see what was going on. And what that was, was awful. Terrible. A hellish nightmare that made me feel for Avery viscerally. I wanted to step in front of her and slay those dragons for her, because that was worse than anything she’d ever been through and but for the genre, I did worry she wasn’t strong enough to handle it.
And I have to give it up to Monique Orgeron for proving me wrong. That chick was strong, stronger than even she knew. The Art of Forgiveness was a story about exactly that, forgiveness. But not just Liam and the mindf*ck he unleashed on her as a teenager, but also herself for allowing it to happen and even her Mom, which…wow. I don’t see myself forgiving that woman anytime soon.
I should mention Liam since he is the hero, but honestly Liam didn’t really do much for me. He was a weak man, a scaredy cat at best and that just isn’t sexy at all. From the beginning he had all the say and while I can forgive him a little based on the decisions he made at 18, the fact that he kept doing it years later made it a little hard to swallow.
Now for the rest of the characters. I absolutely loved Catherine, she was a total badass who ruled her family with a fist made of iron and velvet. Honestly, I want to be Catherine when I grow up. And the Stern brothers? Good lord were they all hot and bossy and just what you’d expect when you got a group of big, alpha men together. Some of my favorite parts of the story were when this big strong men devolved into little boys.
I wish that the romance had been more intertwined into the story, because truthfully it was more like part one and part two of a story, but I still really enjoyed reading The Art of Forgiveness.