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Friday, 1 June 2012

With Good Behavior by Jennifer Lane

 In a world gripped by organized crime, family dysfunction, and dim hopes of redemption, can true love persevere? For Sophie Taylor, a beautiful psychologist who lost everything when she violated an ethical boundary, and Grant Madsen, a handsome naval officer who sacrificed everything to protect a loved one, finding that love may carry an unbearable cost.

Starting their lives over in Chicago, both are fighting influences from their family and running as fast as they can to escape the past. When their paths cross outside the parole officer's door, the attraction is instantaneous. But a hidden connection may not only shatter their fledgling love, but prove deadly to them both.
Ren's Review:
 4.5 stars!

When I re-read this book again (to write a good review *blush*), I remembered some lines from the "Dark Shadows" movie that I'd watch weeks ago. The lines said by Barnabas Collins, and if remember well, this is what he said :

"Blood is what made us. Bind us. Curse us"

In "With Good Behavior", its his family that, binded and cursed Grant Madsen's life. Okay, With Good Behavior, or WGB is not paranormal romance. Nor that is it erotica based on the cover alone. Hey, don't blame me (or my dear friend Elena who offer me to read this) we thought this one was going to  be a naughty read after seeing  the handscuffs! Nor is  it a  thriller suspense, even though there are some suspense in the plot. WGB is a contemporary romance about two felons that just found their life turned upside down. A story that make me almost cry.

Have  you ever imagined how its feel when you think you have a good life, then its shattered into pieces when you become felon and sent off to  prison? How would you manage to build your life that has broken after you're  released from that horrible place, being on  parole and must act on good behavior, so you'll never have to go back to a place that stole all your freedom?

Grant Madsen, an ex-Navy and born Barberi, always thinks he can't escape from his mafioso Barberi family. No wonder, "don't mess with mafia family" are true words actually. After he fulfil his sentence because "aggravated robbery" at Gurnee for 2 more years, and released early by his good behavior, he must attend his parole duty. Turn out he'll find another parole that will change his life forever. And maybe can save him.

Sophie Taylor is an ex-psychologist or shrink, and she's ashamed with her  imprisonment,all because falling for the wrong man. A big mistake indeed, since this man is whos people are the one who sends her to prison. After Sophie finds alot  stolen cash and a gun, which belongs to her client, Logan Barberi, who left it there. Since she had finish her sentence, of course she must go to her parole officer, Jerry Stone. And at Jerry's office, Sophie meets Grant.

It doesn't take long  for them to be attracted to each other. Grant, with help from his uncle, gets a job on a architectural cruise and invites Sophie to work there too. Besides attending her parole and consultation with her psychologist, Dr Hunter Hayes (who is one of my favorites), Sophie really enjoys her new life on the cruise. She and Grant agree to not discuss about their past and the reason why they went to prison, but realizes Grant has an awful past, who she believes is an abused survivor.

Grant and Sophie never knew about  felon status, there's one thing that connects them. One thing that will destroy them both, especially Grant who can't escape from his family's crime. That one thing is Logan Barberi, who is  besides, Sophie's client (and send her to prison), is actually Grant's brother. Now when Sophie knowing who Logan is, who Grant is, and all hell break lose, can she accept Grant back? Can Grant finally become free from his mafia family?

I can't remember last time I cried over a book, but there it was. I re-read this today, and yes, its almost brought tears again in my eyes. I will say, for her debut novel, Ms Lane did a great job. Being a psychologist as she was, she explore human's psychology,and  mixes it with the mafioso life, it's a heart-wrenching story and suspenseful as well. I can feel her role  as Dr Hunter Hayes, who is Sophie's shrink. She's doing a great job to explain how past events can affect her characters so well, in this case it's both Grant and Sophie.

Grant Madsen is not your ordinary hero. He is a Navy, just turned into felon. You can't see him here as alpha hero. But I see him as alpha in his own way. He doesn't  try to act all "G.I.Joe"-ish. Tough, hard,a type who chews bullets and eat nails as their breakfast. No. Grant is  a really tortured man. Horrible past with his own father beating him, his fear with the dark (or claustrophobia), his shame with his family and his own crime even he didn't do it to protect the people he loves, is what Grant is made of . I found him crying a lot. It can be bothersome and annoying, but then I can't help to fall for Grant and hug him, and say to him, everything will be alright. Because his life is hard. Really hard and messed up. Grant doesn't try to be tough, he's tough. Ms Lane seems like she wants to tell us that Prison indeed is a scary place, that will change people. Eventually if they are an innocent before.

Sophie herself is not better than Grant. She also has her own problem, besides falling for her client and accused her for  crime she didn't commit. She has family issues, which she believes her own father did not love her, especially after her mother's death. Interesting to read about Sophie's discussion with Dr Hayes, when Dr Hayes describes Sophie's personalities and her own problem, while Sophie has been a  psychologist before! Sometimes, its true we never know better about ourselves, and other people can see that.

Beside Grant and Sophie (or McSailor and Bonnie, that their endearment to each other), there are some wonderful characters, like Jerry Stone, their parole officer; Roger Eaton who give Grant job; Joe Madsen, Grant's Uncle; Dr Hunter Hayes,Detective Marylin Fox who investigates the crimes in this book and many others. Even Grant's family, the Barberi, not all of them look bad. Logan himself seems like grey characters. He sure is a bad guy, but a bad guy who cares deeply for Grant and his son. And actually he seems to regret his own crimes, but can't do anything.The other Barberi family actually is mad, even Grant's father. I wonder if it's craziness and madness really runs deep in this family.

With Good Behavior is one masterpiece from Ms Lane. So unique to read about both characters who are felons, that I've never read before. And interesting to know about America's Law System which is different from my country, Indonesia (actually I never knew  people in my country that had freed from the prison, going to parole. I think they go freely). Sometimes what happened here is so real and almost believable, I can't help myself to sympathize with both h/H and other characters as well.

Some of my favorite quotes :

- Ah, life. If you don’t laugh, you cry. And sometimes, if you’re
with the right person, you laugh while you cry

- “I know your real identity,” Jerry said, looking Grant in the eye while continuing to clasp his hand. “You’re not Grant Barberi. You’re Grant Madsen.”

An emotional read that make you never forget, I can't wait to read more about McSailor and Bonnie's next story in the future!

1 comment:

Elena said...

Lol!! Thanks Ren! At least I know I'm not the only one who thought it was naughty because of the entwined hands in handcuffs :P

Great Review!

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