Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
“Abbie questioned her actions and care, but with few options at hand, what else could she do?”
Even with mixed opinions on the theme of this book, the deep plot more than made up for it! I was a little surprised with how graphic some scenes in this book were, but they were necessary for the book’s finale… it’s worth it! Be warned – this book is very explicit and seriously should not be read by under 18s! I’m reviewing this book before I review book two in a few days for its blog tour, so watch this space!
Joe’s controversial approach to life is fuelled by his fixation on Abbie, and a beautiful wedding offers the perfect opportunity for him to seduce her – everyone loves a wedding, don’t they? The only hurdle is Eddie – Abbie’s son and Joe’s best friend – but inebriated and forcing an end to the evening, he inadvertently assists Joe’s quest and a suitably indulgent night beckons. But what should have been a culmination of Joe’s eleven-year obsession descends into chaos and devastation, wrenching Joe from all he’s known for the majority of his life. Accustomed to getting what he wants, it’s not until he really gets what he wants that his world unravels and his control slips away. Be careful what you wish for, be careful who you wish for, for obsession comes with a price… but is it a price worth paying?
This book has been written insanely well and it’s evident the characters in this story have been created with the same attention to detail. We learn so much in the first chapter about one of the main characters, Abbie; the horrors she’s had to endure growing up as well as the sickening encounters in one of her first relationships, but also of her family and her unexpected lustful thoughts and shenanigans in the present day. It took me a short while to get my head around each of Abbie’s family members and friends, but once I did, the story became much clearer. Even so early on, I was enjoying the book and I particularly enjoyed the author setting the scene and letting us in on all the secrets of her characters. I felt like I got to know everyone involved really well before we got into the main part of the story which I always think is a plus.
Abbie has a thing for younger guys and seems to prefer them to those her own age when seeking romantic relationships. One of these guys in particular is her son’s friend, Joe. The feeling is mutual, and Joe quickly feels a slight pang of jealousy when anyone else has an encounter with Abbie, and I felt it was only a matter of time before the two became much closer. There are a lot of sexual scenes in the book, which is to be expected in an explicit read, but it’s worth mentioning that the majority of these are very full on. Even though this was too much for me personally, it’s perfect for the theme of the book so I can’t really fault it in that sense! The synopsis of the book gives us the impression that things aren’t always going to be sunshine and rainbows for Joe and Abbie, and I was intrigued to learn more about how their relationship grew. I had a feeling things were going to get dark and that there would be much more to this relationship than an eleven year obsession…
I felt like the story was much deeper than just a number of characters wanting the odd sexual encounter, which is what the beginning of the book seemed to be. After an alcohol-fueled wedding, Abbie’s son, Eddie, becomes unresponsive and I started to get worried about the outcome for this character. If anything happened to her son, would Abbie blame herself for being too preoccupied with Joe instead of checking on him? The emotion in the scenes which followed was so strong and it amazed me how the author could switch her style of writing so quickly to fit with any scene, no matter how dark or how light-hearted it was. It blew my mind! I felt so concerned for Eddie’s fate at this point – if anything happened to him, I wasn’t sure how Abbie would cope. The author gripped me throughout all this panic and I was eager to see how things progressed.
“His presence was a punishment, a reminder of the sort of mother she was… a reminder that she was her father’s daughter.”
Darkness engulfs the story completely and despite my uncertainty about the way the beginning of the book was going at the start, I was amazed with where we were at now. I felt emotion so strongly with the characters, I was heartbroken for what Abbie had lost and I was incredibly curious to see where her relationship with Joe would be after this ordeal. The author’s words are flawless and she approaches the themes of loss just as well as she does with every other theme explored. Her talent for story telling is clear and I was impressed with how much she achieved in the beginning of the book. I couldn’t begin to imagine how things would continue. Would we see a completely different side to Abbie? Would Joe keep his distance from now on? A strong opening to the book and I was confident it would continue!
Joe doesn’t take the loss of his friend very well. In addition, he could potentially lose the one woman he’d been craving for years for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. We see him break down and begin drinking more excessively to try and feel that numbness we all want to feel when we’ve had the worst news imaginable. With Abbie fleeing to get away from the memories, we see a change in Joe like never before, and I felt like he quickly became someone you wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of. He uses sex to release his pent up emotions, and it worried me how the women he chooses are mostly reluctant to continue. If he carried on the way he was doing, I felt he’d get into more trouble than it was worth. At the same time, I felt sorry for him and everything he has to go through; it can’t be easy losing your best friend.
The one thing that struck me as a little unrealistic was just the amount of sex one person can have. Was Joe some sort of machine?! Perhaps this was because I haven’t read many books quite like this one, but I found the amount of times Joe seeks sexual attention to be quite extensive and repetitive. However, I did understand that this guy was a very sexually driven person, and this combined with overcoming a stressful situation made it natural for him to be seeking it so much more often. Even though these scenes weren’t exactly my cup of tea, I appreciated the author’s description and how Joe is portrayed as a person. Would things change when Abbie returned? I found myself thinking more about Abbie as time went on – was she okay? How was she coping with her life-changing news?
Learning more about Joe’s past and life with his abusive, carefree father was particularly saddening, but yet again, the author has approached this with care and used such powerful words to bring thoughts and feelings to life. We learn of how Joe came into Abbie’s care as a boy and what it was like growing up beside his best friend, Eddie. I enjoyed this part of the book and it built up so much depth for all these characters which really stood out to me. We also learn of how his sexual habits began which did give the story more context. I found myself enjoying the more heartfelt scenes in the book more and more and the story was quickly becoming layered with so many emotions and problems which sometimes, I wasn’t certain could be solved. As Abbie calms down, I wondered what her next move would be. Would she ever go home?
“She could feel the tears well again, but this time, they were joyous.”
Abbie needs someone to tell her that everything is going to be alright, and that character comes in the form of Joan, an older lady with the best outlook on life I’ve ever heard! I loved this character – she talks so much sense into Abbie in their short meeting in the book, and reading it was just lovely. I felt like Abbie was beginning to see that actually, things weren’t her fault and that if Joe makes her happy, then she should pursue the relationship. It wasn’t until the pair talk about their family that Joan agrees to let Abbie help her find her Grandson. I was gobsmacked when the name was revealed! The author had thrown another curve ball in the works and I enjoyed where the story was going. With all the new information we learn here, where would the end of the story leave these characters?
Abbie meets her friend with benefits, Jesse, for the first time since the saddening news. Of course, in true Abbie style, it isn’t long before they enjoy much more than just lunch and a few drinks. However, this time is different, and Jesse knows it’ll be the last time; Joe now played too much of a main role in her life. On the one hand, I felt sorry for Jesse as he obviously feels more deeply for Abbie than she does him, but at the same time, I felt their parting of ways was the best outcome to avoid any more hurt and jealousy. Things had changed in Abbie’s life and she now has much more to think about than simply who she’s going to sleep with today. I feel like we see a turning point for Abbie and it would be interesting to see how her personality and her actions change throughout the ending of the story.
At some points in the book, I really couldn’t fathom Joe out – he continues to be the horniest guy to ever have lived, wanting to bed everyone he lays eyes on, but at the same time, he seems to be so smitten with Abbie more than anyone else. Is this normal behaviour?! I kind of wanted to see a change in him as we end the book, but I had a feeling his actions would continue well into book two. (Find out in my stop on the blog tour this coming Friday!) The story is still strong at this point, leaving readers questioning so much. I only hoped Abbie would be able to get some peace after such a tough time, and even find it in her heart to patch things up with Joe. It’d be interesting to see what their future holds!
Joe begins to traumatise many women with his forcefulness and reading these scenes is not for the faint hearted. Girls are left scared after his disgusting acts and now, I started to get worried for exactly what he was capable of. I even began to hope Abbie wouldn’t ever return home. Had he changed for the worst? He gets into more trouble with his friends and it seemed to me that he’d soon have no one left in his life if he kept ruining everyone else’s. I had to applaud the author’s consistency with the characters and the story line, and I was curious to see how the story would end. I was sure there was going to be some sort of a cliffhanger here, but whether good or bad, I hadn’t yet worked it out!
“She was back and this time, there’d be no escape.”
As much as I wanted to hear from Abbie’s perspective at the end of the book, we didn’t, but I knew this character would be explored further in book two – the way this book ends makes it something we’re desperate for! I wasn’t sure where the story would go from here, but there was obviously more to explore than we’d already seen. My views on Joe remained unchanged despite what I’d hoped for him, but maybe there was chance for him to change yet! I’ll admit, after finishing this book, I was looking forward to seeing what we’d uncover in the next book. The final sentence of the book was incredibly dark – who had Joe become? Was any woman in his presence safe? An intriging end that will be interesting to pick back up in book two!
Well this one was totally unexpected! Definitely not my usual go-to read, but the plot of this story intrigued me no end. Even though this book is filled with sex scene after sex scene, there is so much more than this concealed within the words. The story becomes so dark and I was confident the series would only get darker with each book. Characters have insanely detailed personalities and back stories, which really make this book what it is. A great read if you don’t mind a bit (a lot) of filth!
Thanks so much to the author, Cheryl Butler, and Emma at Damp Pebbles for my copy of this book. So glad to be able to read it before book two’s blog tour! You can purchase your own copy of A Proclivity To Prurience now on Amazon. It’s FREE on Kindle for the next few days! Don’t forget to follow the author over on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more updates.