Denial

Denial - Jackie Kennedy I have waited for the publication of this book for years. I first read it as free online fiction when I was still getting my feet wet in lesfic and I can honestly say that more than any other book, it was this one that got me hopelessly hooked. Four years and a few hundred books and fanfics later, I still count this as one of my all-time top 5 favorite reads. And I'm glad to finally be able to officially place it on my favorites shelf.

The premise of the book alone is heart-wrenching. What do you do when you find the soul mate you've been looking for all your life, only to discover that she's committed to someone else--someone you also love dearly. Super duper angst is what you get. And the fantastic author makes us go through it as well, putting the reader's emotions through the wringer again and again and yet again. Make sure the tissue box is full!

'Denial' is about a very intense and passionate love that at times, seems to border on obsession. It is so all-consuming that the protagonists are willing to ignore all social mores and boundaries to indulge in its forbidden pursuit. The consequences, however unintended, are tragic. What HEA ending can the author possibly pull off from such an impossible love?

I love the author's depiction of the ill-starred lovers. I felt all their pain, their worries, their conflicting emotions and their burning passion for each other. These characters felt so real. They're seriously flawed and so touchingly human. The entire supporting cast (and there are quite a few) is excellently drawn. Every character is well-rounded and multi-dimensional. What does it say about a book, when years after I'd read it, I still remember the names of practically every supporting character in it. In most lesfic books, I can barely remember the rather generic interchangeable leads, let alone their names--even if the book is in my fave list. Despite the big cast, at no time did the book ever felt noisy or crowded--it is all about Amy and Celeste.

For once, I don't have any gripes at all. Not even little ones. Well, maybe the cover...it looks so amateurish. But that's probably the publisher's fault. As for the book itself, I would have been 2x happier if the author had spent more time in Celeste's head, or featured her POV more. I'm such a sucker for angst and I wanted to know more about how she managed to get through life with all the repeated rejection she's had to endure because Amy was still in denial. How she felt seeing Amy in someone else's arms. How she coped with despair all that time that Amy was happily raising the family that should have or could have been hers. Wouldn't it be just heavenly if the author would write the whole book from Celeste's POV? Or maybe, as a token for the fans, can the author do a few vignettes (like fanfic does to TV shows) that feature Celeste in those dark moments.

I hope that the fact that this book is #1 right now in Amazon's lesfic category encourages the author to write more. I have read all her other online works and she is an excellent storyteller, even in a totally different genre like scifi.

Final Notes: Needless to say, this book is neck-deep in angst. So angst-averse people should avoid. Also moralists.