A haunting mistake that brought them all together…
Maria’s fear and hate for men is solidified by Ricky’s abuse and his obsession to kill her. In an effort to save her son, she runs away and crosses paths with Dave, a man going through his own tribulations with his wife. He is determined to protect her, show her that not all men are evil and that true love exists. And he in turn, finds a woman worthy to be a mother to his daughter.
Maria finally finds peace in her new roles as a mother, a wife and a home maker but that dream is short lived when a ghost from her past threatens to take it all away from her in the most brutal and torturous way.
But Maria isn’t alone anymore, her father finally shows up to do what he was supposed to five years ago. Protect his daughter.
*Blurb from Goodreads*
4 Pinkish Looking Roses
Star Bright is a book the kind of dark situations you may sometimes come across in real life. Though the plot may sometimes come across as far-fetched, the reader has to realize that portions of this book are purely through. It's more of an unwinding tragedy to put it simply, with characters struggling to find their 'happily ever after' in a world where every thing seems to be going wrong.
The characters were developed according to their situations and were interesting to watch. The romace was sweet and you could feel the stress beneath it from Maria's past. The writing was good, with the habitual book flaws and typos, though at times it did not hold my attention.
As the story went along, I was pulled in and out of attention. There were moments when I was anticipating the next chapter for certain characters, while there were moments where my short attention span refused to let me read.
The novel starts slowly, but allows you to quickly unwind the world Maria and Dave live in. They start off in two different places with two different situations. While Dave is a big shot lawyer with a daughter and a wife he really wants to get rid of, Maria is a waitress at a degrading bar, with a son she has to provide for, and a boyfriend who takes abuse to a new level.
I first decided the boss of Maria's cafe was a sexist ultra-annoying person without even reading much about him. The fact that he forces his employees to walk around practically half-naked is cruel and despicable. Maria on the other hand, instantly came across as caring despite her situation. As the novel went along though, her fear made me angry. It seemed to encompass her whole character, and left few points to it:
- Protective of children
- Fears abuse and is suspicious of all men
- Protective of her heart
- Caring to those she isn't suspicious of
- At times feisty
Of course, I may be wrong, but in thought, that is what pops out. A main character's personality can often be drowned out in a novel of this large structure, so it is understandable. The years of abuse greatly affected her character. There were moments when her personality shone through though, like at the cafe after Dave's incident.
All in all, her reaction to Ricky was understandable, but it upset me how little she defended herself and her son. Maria strengthened over time, but when Ricky came back for her, the fact that she in the end started begging like she always had made the novel endearing, but disappointed me. I'd expected her to finally stand up to Ricky, but instead, all the men in her life were the ones to solve her problems.
Another issue was how she jumped out of an abusive relationship just to enter one with Dave, though nothing like Ricky, who was quite controlling. Dave showed her a love that was both adorable and frustrating, and though she stood up to him, and all his decisions were good ones, she still did whatever he said like an abandoned puppy. I find myself wishing that all the strength she'd grown hadn't dissolved like smoke.
Dave was a good male character, and his personality was really clear to the reader. There wasn't much confusion about who was and how he felt about things. However, there were moments where his character could have been seen as inconsistent for the sake of the plot. For example, what happened in the cafe when he left. Dave's parental side says that is impossible, while Dave's angry side says it is very possible. If you read it, you can see why this situation is odd.
Other characters, such as Maria's family members were impressive, but their situations were slightly flawed. Edna was a strong character and I instantly loved her when she slammed a chair on Ricky's back. However, during the situation with Maria's father around the end, she proved cruel but honest. The fact was, she was telling the truth. In the end I was forced to decide that Edna was right, she shouldn't have done all those things. I felt sorry for Maria and seriously pitied her situation.
I feel the need to mention the first Jane, Maria's best friend. She was a kind character and likable. However, she wasn't a huge particpant in this novel, though she was in Marias's life. I can't complain much about this, but I feel like she should have been there more. As for the second Jane, her character was slightly inconsistent but she managed to come across as mightily annoying, though her love for her daughter did earn her brownie points. This kind of character usually makes a book more interesting for me though. However, I wished Maria would have confronted Jane and all the other workers who had begun to treat her badly because of Jane.
As for Michael and Izzy (full name Elizabeth) they were ADORABLE. I could paractically see them through the book. Michael was so brave, as the author intended, and sometimes came across braver than Maria, who was much older than him. When it came to Elizabeth, I could just tell she was cute. ESPECIALLY with the way she copied Michael. SOOOO CUTE. Their relationship was one of the sweetest things in this book, and it made me smile watching how Izzy instantly looked up to Michael. I could imagine their future in a YA romance. Izzy falls in love with Michael's best friend or his arch enemy and Michael is determined to protect his sister. *SIGH* It brings me joy.
Now, about the plot. It was great, and the characters translated well, but the repetition in events was a really difficult subject to write, and though Christina OW was mostly successful, there were few flaws as this type of writing is very difficult.
Then the romance. The romance in this book was the kind that snuck up on you, labelled with adult situations and fear for the future. I loved Dave's attempt to win over Maria, but her situation left a dark cloud on everything she wanted. The romance was compromised after Maria's father made a comment on why Dave cared about Maria so much. This bit confused me, as when it comes to romance books, my thoughts are: Dave should love Maria because of Maria. It made me question if Dave was defending himself against the truth, that he was stolen by Maria's looks and how she treated children. If that was it, I would have been bitterly disappointed.
In the end, I adored this novel a lot. It was new fresh and broached difficult subjects without getting over the fact that it was a book and readers were meant to read and enjoy it. I look forward to more novels from Christina, but wish that next time, her main heroine will be a stronger no-nonsense. BTW, I would have liked the novel more if there was more involvement on Maria's part with Dave's parents and his ex-wife.
As for the novel's name, though it wasn't mentioned in the writing, somehow it fits.
Thanks for Reading :)