Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Tainted Love by Eva Marquez

Tainted Love by Eva Marquez
Release Date: March 5, 2013
Publisher: Terra-Mia Press

Isabel was never like the other girls at her school in the sleepy town of Hillside, California. At sixteen she fell in love with Tom, a married swim coach at Royal Oaks High School; their exhilarating and sultry affair continuing in secret for several years. Finally, Isabel realized that her own future had to come first, but even after relocating to Washington, D.C. to study at Lincoln University, she finds herself still wracked by guilt over jeopardizing the happiness and security of Tom’s young family. Now almost in her twenties and desperate to start a new chapter in her life, free from past controversies, Isabel will once again find that her beauty and precociousness will captivate another older man, this time a professor at her university. Confronted by this burgeoning affair, Isabel realizes just how deeply she still loves Tom and, in spite of the disapproval of her hometown community, her feelings become too strong to deny.  When Isabel returns to Hillside, reunited with Tom, she feels herself falling for him all over again, only this time with the tantalizing promise that things could really work out for them, especially since she is no longer the naive teen she used to be. But all is not as it seems; Isabel begins to hear rumors about Tom’s involvement with other girls at Royal Oaks High. Quickly this salacious gossip leaks to the local media and the authorities begin to investigate the claims. Only then does the true gravity of Isabel’s misguided choices begin to profoundly affect those around her and threaten to derail her life completely.  - Goodreads.com
After absolutely loving the first book in the series, Sweetest Taboo, I was eagerly anticipating this second installment.  I tore through this book pretty quickly and I did love it.  Although there were a few things that I just have to mention.

Isobel and Tom have this opportunity to finally be together, and at first it looks like things are going to go exactly as you expect.  But then, she has to return to school, and this is where things hit the fan.  Surprise, surprise, while Isobel was off at college growing a little older, she fell, kinda, for another older man who happens to be her academic advisor.  While I understand why the author did this, I was a bit disappointed in Isobel.  In a way, I felt that falling for another teacher kind of diminished the deep love she had for Tom all through the first book.  She was steadfast that this love for her older teacher was special, and it was that fact that made this teacher-student romance acceptable, and it's what made me get past the, yes, taboo of it.  Then she falls a bit for another teacher?  This kind of backtracked me from believing that she and Tom were anything more than a bad decision a little bit, because otherwise, how could she fall for someone else?  So I had a little bit of trouble with that.

Although, she does start to realize what's really going on, and that kind of helped the situation for me a bit.  To me, this book was more about Tom than Isobel though anyway.  Finally, we get to see inside of Tom's head, hear his thoughts, and know for a fact whether or not he's truly serious about Isobel or whether or not he's messing around with other girls the way he did Isobel.  Was it all just a case of an older man doing things he shouldn't with a student and taking advantage of her, or was his love for her pure?  We finally get to find out. 

I did hate that there wasn't very much time in the book spent between Tom and Isobel.  They are away from each other through most of the book, and so having Tom's point of view was even more important, and welcome.  This distance led to a lot of misunderstanding that was hard to read.  Isobel has misunderstood so much, and there were times I just wanted to shake her and tell her to stop messing around, go talk to Tom, ask him point blank.  Don't just make assumptions!  Give the guy an opportunity to speak for himself!

But in the end, it was believable.  The book was so good.  It certainly ended on a mother of a cliffhanger.  I can't wait for the last book to see how this all ends!



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