Review: Lifers by Jane Harvey-Berrick

Title: Lifers
Author: Jane Harvey-Berrick
Publication date: February 7th 2014
My rating: 4 of 5 Stars

SUMMARY (from Goodreads)

After eight years in prison, twenty-four year old Jordan Kane is the man everyone loves to hate.

Forced to return to his hometown while on parole, Jordan soon learns that this small town hasn’t changed since he was carted off to juvie all those years ago. He is the local pariah, shunned by everyone, including his own parents. But their hatred of him doesn’t even come close to the loathing he feels every time he looks in the mirror.

Working odd jobs for the preacher lady, Jordan bides his time before he can leave this backwards town. But can distance erase the memories that haunt him? Trapped in the prison of his own mind Jordan wonders if the pain of living will ever subside?

Torrey Delaney is new in town and certainly doesn’t behave in a way the locals believe a preacher’s daughter should. Her reputation for casual hook-ups and meaningless sex is the talk of the town. Add that to her budding friendship with the hardened ex-con handyman, and the good Reverend is less than thrilled with her estranged daughter’s path.

As friendship forms, is it possible for two damaged people who are afraid to love take their relationship to the next level? Can Torrey live with Jordan’s demons, and can Jordan break through Torrey’s walls? With the disapproval of a small town weighing heavily on them, will they find their place in the world? Can they struggle against the odds, or will their world be viciously shattered?

Is love a life sentence?

MY THOUGHTS

I’ve read several books by Jane Harvey-Berrick and she continues to surprise me. She creates very different characters and does not repeat herself. Many authors are guilty of using similar characters in each of their books, but not Jane Harvey-Berrick.

So our main characters:

Jordan Kane returned to his judgmental small hometown while on parole. He is twenty-four years old and he spent eight of them in prison. Everyone including his own parents hates him. He is alone until he meets Torrey Delaney. Torrey is a daughter of a local preacher. She only recently came to live with her preacher mother and she definitely does not behave as a saint. Her meaningless sex is the talk of the town. These two form unlikely friendship which progresses to much more.

Torrey is a character which not often portraits in New Adult and Young Adult. She is confident and does not suffer unnecessary complexes about her appearance. She is pretty and she knows it. She has a carefree attitude about life, including sex. She loves sex, has sex and she doesn’t afraid to talk about sex (Yes, I know, I used the word “sex” three times in this sentence). So those of you who hates slut shaming should give Lifers a try if only for its main female character. This is what Jordan says about Torrey: “You’re just so fearless, a real straight shooter. You don’t take shit from on one, and you say it like it is”.

Jordan is such a wonderful main male character. He suffered so much in his life, but he is kind, sweet and caring. Torrey says about Jordan: “Through and through, Jordan was an intriguing mix of contradictions: his hard body, his soft lips; his serious, sensible nature; his wild and passionate side; the scary, prison demeanor he could switch on; his gentle soul”.

Romance in this book, although somewhat insta-love, was wonderful. I was rooting for these two. I liked how Torrey never takes advantage of Jordan – emotionally or physically, because he is very vulnerable. She is very supportive of him. Everyone hates him and blames him, but most of all he hates himself. He feels so much guilt and pain. Meeting Torrey helps him to leave this destructive path.

I should warn you there are quite a few graphic sex scenes. So if you like clean romances, this book is not for you.

This couple faces many hurdles and usually I am very skeptic of the future of such relationship. Yes, they love each other and together they fight against the world. But what happens few years in the future? I wasn’t skeptic in this case. I just know that Jordan and Torrey will find their HEA. And the main reason I’m so sure of it is Torrey’s personality. She is so vibrant and alive, she is honest and fearless, she is a real fighter and she’ll make it all work.

Jane Harvey-Berrick also draws attention to a serious topic in this book. Adaptation to “normal” live for ex-con is very difficult. So often these people return to prisons because they don’t fit. Also it’s very scary how just a little mistake can be fatal in someone’s life.

Overall, Lifers was a pretty decent read.

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