24 July 2014

A Simple Misunderstanding by Kathryn R. Blake

 What happens when the man you vowed to love, honor and obey nearly kills you, then leaves for work as usual? Elly Benson kept telling her neighbors that the bruises she suffered were nothing more than a simple misunderstanding between her and her husband, until she has to be rushed to the hospital with injuries so severe she nearly dies. Jerry Douglas does everything he can to protect and care for her and her small toy poodle, but until Elly is ready to admit the truth of her husband's abuse, he is powerless to intervene. Unfortunately, he's fallen in love with the feisty young woman, so he uses all his powers of persuasion to convince her returning to her husband once she leaves the hospital is not a viable option.

A Simple Misunderstanding was the most difficult to read of the Corbin’s Bend books for me so far. Not because of the writing, but because of the subject matter. In this installment in the series, we meet Elly and Jerry. Elly and her husband Arthur moved to Corbin’s Bend a few months ago and she’s learned that she is not fond of the Domestic Discipline relationship she agreed to with her husband. What makes this book difficult to read is that the reader quickly learns that Elly isn’t in a DD relationship with her husband, she is in an abusive relationship with a man who is using DD as an excuse to beat his wife. Reading as Elly takes several beatings and believing that she deserved them is a huge part of why I found this a tough read. What put it over the top for me was that her mother’s actions and responses to her just seemed to reinforce Elly’s notion that she deserved the abuse her husband doled out.

Elly only has two “lights” in her life: her dog Mitzi and the local vet Jerry. Due to his naturally protection nature, Jerry finds himself drawn to Elly and frustrated by his helplessness in her situation. Sadly, it isn’t until Arthur nearly kills her that she finally decides to accept Jerry’s help. While I did indeed find this to be an emotionally draining read, I feel that Ms. Blake handled the topic with care and did an admirable job in helping her characters grow and bond in the short time of the book. That Elly learned her worth and that her neighbors in Corbin’s Bend would support her in her time of need is a message that many women need to receive.

A Simple Misunderstanding is an excellent addition to the Corbin’s Bend series. Ms. Blake’s talent as a writer is obvious as she takes a delicate subject (i.e., abuse in DD and/or BDSM relationships) and handles it with care. Elly and Jerry are wonderful characters and I do so hope that I get a chance to catch up with them in future Corbin’s Bend books.


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