Liquid Silver Books, $4.50, ISBN 978-1-59578-621-0
Contemporary Romance, 2000
Hmm, despite the mention of the Devil in the synopsis on the publisher website, Stephanie Adkins’s Between Heaven and Hell turns out to be a straightforward contemporary romance.
We have Elaina Richmond who only recently managed to break free from an abusive lover. While she has some emotional scars from her experience, she is luckier than most women in that in this story she has a pretty strong support network in the form of friends and family members. She even gets to recuperate in a lovely vineyard in Sonoma. There is even an old boyfriend, Caden Russell, waiting to pick up the pieces with her. Naturally, the evil ex can be counted on to cause some problems.
Between Heaven and Hell is a pleasant read. The characters are fine, although this novella focuses more on Elaina’s mental state so poor Caden is reduced to being a rather superficial perfect antidote to an abusive relationship. The story is a little too short to allow it to become as well developed as I’d have liked (the denouement pretty much jumps out at me out of the blue), but I have no significant issues with this story, except those scenes where the author has Elaina remembering all those sexual things her ex did to her. Those scenes are bewildering because the author seems to be torn between offering me cheap titillation in the form of skanky sex and giving me a glimpse of Elaina’s mental distress.
Anyway, I’d consider this one a decent byte-sized appetizer for you to nibble on before you proceed to take a big chomp out of the new one by, say, Catherine Anderson.