Author: Melissa Brown
Date of publication: 19 July 2014
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Religious community
Website / Facebook / Goodreads
My rating: 3 stars
Lipstick. Bright, red lipstick. Nothing but lipstick.
Even though it’s against our faith to wear a color that screams of sexual promiscuity and deviant behavior, I’m not allowed to protest.
But, I want to.
You see, there’s more to me than the braid that spills down my back.
More to me than the layers of heavy fabric that maintain my modesty.
And so much more than the oppressive wedding band that adorns my finger--the same band that each of my sister wives wear.
So much more.
To protest would be sinful.
I must keep sweet, that is my duty.
So I’ll wear the lipstick. I’ll do as I’m told.
And I’ll do my best to silence the resistance within me, to push him from my mind.
If only my heart would do the same.
This is not your typical NA and even contemporary romance story. It's a story that gives us a peak into the life behind the closed door of a religious community supporting polygamy.
I openly admit that it was this rather unusual set up and the mysterious blurb that drew me into this book. Having never had direct contact with a religious community like the one described in the book I was curious how it would be presented in a romantic work of fiction. It was an entertaining read that kept my interest and the romance was nice but I had some issues with the story which made it a 3-star read for me.
I particularly liked the complexity of the relationship within this particular religious community which the author shows us - between the sister wives in one household, the role of the Prophet in the life of the community, the interaction among all the people in their secluded world. I can't tell how authentic the presentation was but it was engaging and kept my attention though out the story.
Brin and Porter were interesting characters though I had some issues with both of them. I felt their romance was very insta - they knew each other as children (but were not friends), then he was cast away from their community and she was married at 19 as the seventh wife of a much older man. Their chance encounter in the city brought them together. It didn't feel very true to me. Especially, considering he was battling with drug addiction and had difficult time adjusting to the life outside. The way the drug issue was handled was my biggest disappointment with this book. His meth use was treated poorly and presented as something minor, easy to overcome, while in reality it's a very serious problem.
I wasn't particularly impressed with the heroine but I sympathize with her situation. Her struggles and fears and hopes sounded very real. She was naive and immature about some things due to her secluded lifestyle, yet she was quite savvy about others. Her hesitance to leave the only life she knew was very convincing and her difficult and dangerous road to freedom was compellingly presented.
While I feel for Brin and her terrible situation at home, the lie she chose to avoid intimacy with her husband was unacceptable for me personally. I understand that extreme situations call for extreme measures, but still I think she could have taken another approach (she could have just waited to be with Porter after she actually left her husband and he community).
Overall, it was a nice NA romance with an unusual premise which I enjoyed. The story was well developed, with attention to detail and with a great set of supporting characters. The rest of the sister wives, the Prophet's mother, Brin's friend at the free clinic, they all added depth and substance to the plot and made it a story about the choices we make in life and in love.
Despite some issues I had with it I can recommend it to anyone who is looking for a NA romance outside the box.