Thursday, June 26, 2014

UnDeniable, by Madeline Sheehan


The premise: Eva falls in love with a much older, relatively inappropriate man, Deuce, when she's very young. Can they make it work when they both get older?

The execution: DAMNED NEAR FLAWLESS!!!!! This woman can write like nobody's business. And she's got an ear for dialogue, an eye for detail, and an unflinching grasp of reality.

These are not sanitized, good-guy bikers who only commit "victimless" crimes, like we so often find. These guys are down and dirty, hard criminals. There's murder, drugs, weapons, womanizing, infidelity, abuse, all kinds of nasty stuff. There's also a lot of heart and love in these men and their women.

The largely accurate depiction of the lifestyle here? Works for the story. Women are accessories, and wives need to say out of the way. They are honored publicly, humiliated and ignored in private. All women are objects for sexual gratification and servitude and that's it. If you're a modern woman, you're gonna get pissed reading this book. But that's cool. It's worth it not to be deluded by a bunch of romantic nonsense when reading something this gritty and heartfelt.

We also get a really good idea of what the biker life is all about. It's not just the open road and bugs in your teeth, it's cops and drugs and weapons and running and hiding and fighting and killing and dying.  And loving, and marrying, and having sex, and making love, and raising kids.  It's real, it's dirty, it's hard, and it's not some cleaned-up, romanticized trope.

Deuce is a bad guy. Frankie is a bad guy. Preacher is a bad guy. They're ALL bad guys, and they all love Eva in different ways. She's the biker princess and she's tough and strong, but wants to love. And be loved. By Deuce. Even if he is 18 years older than her. And married. And a bad guy.

I am not going any further with the storyline; I want you to stumble along and be as shocked and horrified, and pleased and surprised and happy and sad and bereft and tearful as I was. It's the fun of reading a book this good. This great, really.

Sheehan is an excellent writer and she pulls at your emotions like a pro. Go with it. The payoff is immense.

WARNING: There is bad stuff here. Drug use, shootings, murders, adultery, gore, torture, all kinds of things. I love it. I want real people, not some Polly Perfect and William her yuppie boyfriend; yes, I read the modern-day romance fairy tale now and again, but this is better. If you're looking for rose-colored glasses and rainbows and unicorns, go read something else. If you want a really good story, a very realistic story, about love and acceptance and fighting for what you neeeeeeeed in your life, this is the one. If you want the HEA? Well, it's there. Just remember that you and Eva may have different ideas of what that means.

I am now, officially, a Madeline Sheehan fan and I will be reading this entire series plus everything else I can get my hands on. I really think that, if you're a grown up who likes grown-up love stories, you should too.

Click on the pic to buy the book.

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