Saturday, 24 March 2018

Review: Stockholm

Stockholm Stockholm by Leigh Lennon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Since picking up my first Leigh Lennon book, I’ve been more than willing to jump on each new release. I completed Unfiltered, Unacquainted, and Unwanted in quick succession, eager to read the connected standalone novels. The spinoff novellas – The Holiday Package and The Sweetest Package – that make up the Jake Davis duet were quickly devoured, also. Throughout it all, I’ve been eager for one book in particular – the promised dark romance.

You see, dark romances are my biggest weakness. I love them. The darker the better, I say. Thus, when I saw an author I enjoy was writing a dark romance, I was excited. It was a step away from what Leigh Lennon usually writes, but I was intrigued. Unfiltered, Unacquainted, and Unwanted were all deeply emotional reads, so I knew Leigh Lennon was more than capable of bringing about emotions. The Holiday Package and The Sweetest Package had plenty of action and steam, leaving me with the belief she was capable of adding other necessary aspects of a good dark romance. All in all, I was ridiculously eager to dive into Stockholm.

My standards for what I consider to be a dark romance seem to be quite different to a lot of romance readers. Most of the books I consider dark enough for me are the ones most people throw on did not finish piles because it was too gritty. I’ll read the more mainstream dark romances, but I do not love them as much as those that like to push limits. With Stockholm, however, I’m unsure as to whether I would willing put it under the dark romance genre. Kidnapping and abuse do not equate to a romance being dark – it merely equates to the book dealing with heavy issues. When compared to Leigh Lennon’s other work I will say this one is darker, but I would not label it a dark romance.

In fact, my brain flickered throughout so many genres when trying to label this. Pseudo dark romance or dark romance lite was considered. Romantic suspense was considered. Family drama or family thriller was considered. It was one of those books that seems to cut across quite a few genres, leaving me somewhat unsure as to where it fits. It is very much in line with the women’s fiction trend in family dramas where there are thrills to be found and heavy topics are dealt with, where we follow a selection of women throughout the story, with parenthood being a heavy theme. In many ways, I was more willing to label this a family drama with dark elements than I was willing to label it a dark romance. Of course, this may just be a reflection of my wide reading tastes – due to reading across so many genres, I often find myself breaking down genres in a different way to other people.

Despite how this book was not quite the dark romance I had expected it to be, I did enjoy it. In truth it was more of a three-point-five-star rating, but I opted to round down due to my high expectations when it came to the darkness. Other reviews I have read had convinced me this would be an extremely dark read, but each time an element came about that allowed for darkness, I found my mind conjured up darker elements than we were given. I enjoyed the elements, but I was constantly holding out hope that things would slip into the truly dark. Again, though, this could be a reflection of my reading preferences and how I favour overly dark books.

At the start of this one, we’re thrown straight into the events. With our chapters alternating back and forth in time, the details of the story slowly come together. I will admit that a lot of the details I managed to work out very early in the book, but I did appreciate watching the way in which they developed. Following the story of three women, we get to watch as their stories become more interwoven, we get to watch as the past and the present blend, and throughout the story keeps us gripped and wanting more.

Moreover, I’m intrigued by the future possibility I’m hearing about related to this book. One thing that intrigued me throughout the story was the journals – the ending in particular left me with a serious ‘hot damn’, and a contemplation of rounding this rating up instead of down. There is no doubt I will be grabbing them when they are sent out via newsletter, and I’m hoping for a companion novel filled with snippets from the journal. It’s something I’m really excited about reading, and I hope it goes further than simply being a special bonus for newsletter subscribers.

Overall, I did enjoy this one. For fans of Leigh Lennon, this is certainly a book worth reading. I do believe her writing style is better suited to the more emotional contemporary reads than the seemingly dark – the writing was exactly what I have come to expect from Leigh Lennon, yet the tone didn’t feel like that of a dark romance to me – but that will not stop me from reading whatever Leigh Lennon brings us next. I’m certainly excited to see what more Leigh Lennon brings us in the future – I’m already eager for some of her upcoming work.

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