Pages: 390 pages
Amazon • Narrator: Shirl Rae, Zachary Webber
They say it takes 21 days to form a habit.
For 21 days she held on.
But on Day 22, she would have given anything for the sweet slumber of death.
Because on Day 22, she realizes that her only way out means certain death for one of the two men she loves.
A haunting tale of passion, loss, and redemption, The Paper Swan is a darkly intense yet heartwarming love story, textured with grit, intrigue, and suspense. Please note: This is NOT a love triangle.
A full-length, standalone novel, intended for mature audiences due to violence, sex and language. Subject matter may be disturbing for some readers.
This book had few enjoyable moments for me as the Revenge portion lasted about 80% of the book and the Forgiveness portion the last 20%. I will give it credit to remaining real and gritty throughout most of the book. ★★★½ for the writing, ★★ for the characters.
The book starts with a kidnapping, which is quickly revealed a revenge plot. Damian Caballero is exacting revenge against the man who robbed him of a loved one using the eye-for-an-eye rationale. Damian kidnapped Skye Sedgewick, a pampered rich girl, whose father Damian blamed for his loss.
We soon learned that a decade or so ago, mob employee Warren Sedgewick made some hard choices for the protection and safety of his loved ones. In the same manner, his nanny Mama Lou made some choices to protect her young son and those decisions set events in motion pitting Damien against the mobsters for retribution.
I am sure many people ultimately had forgiveness for the brutal ways Damian went about to gain his pound of flesh. Maybe he was even justified but I had sympathy for the widow Warren Sedgewick. I had a hard time with Damian’s actions. As a parent, I felt that while as Warren made some selfish choices, I would wager that most parents make similar sacrifices when faced with real possibility of losing a child. Warren had already lost his wife to the life. Now, he was being threatened with his young daughter’s life. I am not sure what other choice he could have made.
I didn’t feel this consuming love between the characters as their initial relationship felt more like a sibling relationship to me. The time an attraction began to bloom was during the captor-captive situation, which made it feel more like Stockholm syndrome than romantic love.
Skye wasn’t a strong heroine to me, but I admire her courage to forgive. Damien went from an unfeeling criminal to in love with his captive after 1 week in a boat, which didn’t fit for such a scrupulous, grudging holding guy.
The pace of the story was a bit slow and but I did find that both characters grew up during the latter 25% of the book. Both Damien and Skye ended up letting go of their pain and anger, which gave way to redemption. They made consistent efforts to rebuild their lives, but aid others to have a safe haven and an out from criminal life.
I think the author did a realistic portrayal of how people hold on to pain and anger. A lot of times finding love doesn’t erase past hurts. So I thank the author for not being predictable and making Damian go soft overnight. In the end, while I was pleased with the happy ending. I wasn’t engaged to the story as I felt part of my empathy was cut off like finger during the initial kidnapping.
Special thanks to Tantor Audio for the audiobook, which was given in exchange for an honest review