Cruel Water by Freya Barker
Series: Portland ME, #2
Publication Date: March 3, 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Other books in the series: From Dust
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5 CRUEL WATER STARS (★★★★★)
*** Disclaimer: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review. However, this doesn’t affect my opinion of this book and the words in this review. ***
Do you believe me when I say that before Cruel Water, I’ve never read any of Freya Barker’s novels? And how dumb was that? I don’t know what it is about her writing and creativity to write a beautiful and emotional love story, but girl, she is good! Exceptional writing, an emotional rollercoaster, and a romance so deep it feels so damn real. All these three elements are incorporated in Cruel Water. I am really glad my curiosity for this novel had me grabbing my kindle so fast I got a whiplash to start my way into Viv and Ike’s story.
After a steamy night filled with scorching hot touches and solely communicating through their bodies in a heated hotel room, Viv and Ike are bonded forever. No matter how hard they try, they can’t seem to forget one another. Commitment is the farthest thing on both their minds. Viv had a truly horrible past, one she has been trying to forget ever since. Just when she thinks she has her act together, her past comes back to haunt her and her busy but stable life is threatened to turn upside down.
Whilst Ike seems to have lost all his roots when he lost the most important thing in life, his family, Viv hasn’t felt part of her family since fifteen. Secrets have always been closely guarded by Ike and Viv, until they seem to find a trust and comfort with each other that urges them to confide and tell. It all has to go to hell before it can get better. Will they whether through the cruel waters coming for them, or will they succumb to its force or lose their footing?
Cruel Water tells the incredible love story of two individuals broken by their pasts finding solace in each other. Ike doesn’t really have a support system, but Viv does: Gunnar, Syd, Pam, and the other coworkers at the bar, Skipper, where she works as the manager. Those are people she can confide in, and she did, but completely open is something she has never been. Ignoring the terrible things that happened was always the best way to deal with them. Viv is a very strong heroine, even though she doesn’t think so. I had the utmost respect for her, because even when she endured the worst things you could imagine, she’s still alive and kicking. I just wished she would open herself up completely towards her friends, family and Ike from the very beginning. Although I really hated her family for how they behaved towards her, especially her mother.
Cruel Water immediately starts off strong with a chapter full of details about Viv and her life. Hinting at secrets, but keeping most of it in the dark. It made me curious and pulled me into the story. The book may be a little on the long side, but it’s never dragging. Cruel Water has the perfect amount of words to tell Ike and Viv’s extraordinary tale of healing and love. Freya has the astonishing talent for telling a story with wonderful words. Her prose is just that alluring. Another thing I admired in this novel was how Freya described touchy themes without being too explicit about it.
Cruel Water is a story about pain from an abominable past. It’s about Viv’s healing process through the support system she has. It’s also about the allowance of this support by changing as a person and slowly opening up and letting people in. Cruel Water contains a heartfelt and poignant romance. After reading this novel, I can honestly say Freya Barker has a new fan in me. Reading about Syd and Gunnar also made me very interested in their story. I also saw a lot of possibilities for other installments in the Portland ME series, which I really hope will come in the near future. I truly recommend Cruel Water to you.
ABOUT FREYA BARKER