I was trapped in a nightmare with perfect fairytale accessories.
I’d just like to say that this may have been my first rendezvous with the Dark Romance genre and while it turned out not to be my thing, it doesn’t mean it won’t be yours! Remember that reading is subjective and at Page One we will always endeavour to give our honest but personal opinion, we don’t want you to be put off about trying something new or different.
On with the review!
A calculating mother, a handsome millionaire, and the contract that leads an innocent girl to fall prey to the powerful Everett family and their ancestral obligations. I knew I wasn’t in for a typical Romance when I agreed to review an ARC of Virtue & Vanity after reading the Goodreads synopsis that had a clearly written WARNING, but I don’t think I was quite expecting what I got. I mean it got dark, like really really dark, very quickly. Virtue & Vanity deals with complex issues, mainly sexual but also physical and mental abuse and whether a relationship that has experienced such trauma can ever come back from it.
While I found the concept behind this story thought provoking, I personally couldn’t get into Sebastian’s tale of redemption because I don’t believe he deserved Isabelle’s love or forgiveness no matter what the circumstances were. A line was crossed. Moving past that was therefore difficult but given the stories eventual outcome, I felt there wasn’t enough time spent between the despicable and appropriately remorseful him. Sebastian consequently seemed like two separate characters because I didn’t have quite enough time to adjust to his change in character. However, the narrative is very self-aware and acknowledges that not everyone is going to agree or even like the ending and it is in this way that Astrid Jane Ray maintains your interest in the story despite any trepidations you may feel about the controversial topic.
This is why I have given Virtue & Vanity a 2*+ rating because while the writing quality was definitely there and kept me interested, it just wasn’t for me. I don’t think I’ll find myself coming back to this type of novel again. But if you like this kind of thing, I definitely recommend you give this one a chance!
To find out what platforms Virtue & Vanity will be available on check out Astrid Jane Ray’s Goodreads here.