I received an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) in exchange for an honest review. Ravel by Shari J. Ryan came out just days ago and it tells a story of a young woman named Daphne who is in an abusive relationship. Her current boyfriend Trent is quite possibly one of the biggest book boyfriend douchebags I have run across from in a very long time. He shows no real signs that he truly loves or cares for Daphne, he even goes so far as to make fun of her name – something that she really has no control over as she didn’t name herself. She sleeps on the floor next to his bed on a sheet that has her clothes crumpled up underneath it and feels that this is the life she deserves. That is, she feels this way until Kemper walks into her life.
Daphne works as a bartender where there are mainly military men who come in to get drinks, much of who are older. One evening there is a morose man sitting at her bar and she asks him a simple question that sparks a connection between the two of them. His name is Kemper and he is a Marine who has come home from Afghanistan and is suffering his own personal torment. The two part ways after one night of him helping her in the bar, and she doesn’t expect to see him again.
But she’s completely wrong. Soon, her and Kemper’s relationship develops at hyper-speed and the two begin to fall for each other. The only problem is that both of them have loose ends to tie up with the significant others in their lives. Their relationship goes through some very intense drama and graphic scenes that are sure to make anyone cringe at the hurt that is Daphne’s life. With Trent ever looming even after a terrible breakup, it is enough to add more strain on Daphne and Kemper’s relationship.
What drew me in was the backstory of Daphne and her abusive past with Trent. How it was written was so raw and true to what domestic abuse looks like. She puts up a front for everyone else because she doesn’t want them to see that side of her life, but struggles daily with the torment from Trent. The balance between the two halves of domestic abuse is handled very well. What held me back somewhat in the book was how rapidly Daphne and Kemper’s relationship spiraled. Once it gained an ounce of momentum, it seemed to never give. I would have liked a little bit slower of a build up, but the relationship is otherwise believable with the conversations the two have.
One small bit that I really enjoyed is where the title of the book comes from. When I saw the title at first, I was like “Ravel? What is that supposed to mean?” I liked the way it looked on the cover, but once you read the book and learn why the title is Ravel, you’ll love that word even more.
I really enjoyed this book as a nice romance story. I can be picky with my romance books that I read and this is definitely one for fellow romance novel enthusiasts to read. Be aware there might be trigger warnings through the book for those who have suffered from domestic abuse in the past. Overall, I give Ravel a 4 out of 5 star rating. If you’re looking for a good read this upcoming week, pick up Ravel. You won’t be disappointed!