A debut novel that illustrates the fine line between love and hate.
Paisley is an 18-year-old recovering addict whose parents, along with sister Caroline, treat her with nothing but disdain and disrespect. Always acting out, and known for her rather loose reputation—despite being a virgin—Paisley may be a bit immature and irresponsible, but she has her reasons. Usually, her antics result in a bit of familial humiliation; however, when Caroline brings her snobby yet dashing fiance, James, home to meet the family, things go from simple humiliation to giant disaster. Unable to deny their attraction, James and Paisley get off to an inappropriate start; things only get worse after Paisley, posing as her sister, tricks an inebriated James into a night of unbridled passion. Fed up with Caroline’s superior attitude and cruel treatment, Paisley delivers a shocking wedding speech that changes the course of their lives. Now, seven years later, Paisley is determined to right all her wrongs in an effort to earn back the love of a man who may never forgive her and that of another whom she has never met—her son. Touching on the intriguing idea of virginal pregnancy, Alden creates an interesting character in Paisley, who seems to want to do the right thing, though she might lack the tools. Despite an ability to “see peoples’ truths,” Paisley hasn’t been very lucky in love; however, it’s directly due to this ability that Paisley is able to see through James and read his longing and desire to possess her in all ways. By the same token, James seems to possess a similar power enabling him to see through Paisley—and it’s this connection that solidifies their fates. While Paisley could be seen as incorrigible, Alden shades her with enough vulnerability that she garners more sympathy than rancor; what Paisley seems to lack in morals, she more than makes up for in determination. It also helps that, through their appalling behavior, Paisley’s family members add a bit of validation to Paisley’s antics. Alden’s narrative voice is captivating and her writing quite good, and though the story isn’t terribly complex, it’s definitely a page-turner.
With lust, passion and ire to spare, Alden’s freshman offering doesn’t disappoint.