Note: I was given an ARC for review, so editing will not be part of this appraisal.
This book is all about Paige Holmes – and therefore hard to fit into a category. There is a life struggle, as Paige is learning to deal with the events of a year ago, so you could call it a journey of development and self-discovery. There is sex and a love triangle, so you could call it a romance, with a touch of eroticism. Yes, I think I’ll settle for that.
The first thing that comes to mind is how well the cover fits Paige, as I see her in my mind’s eye. That cover says: vulnerable, scared, defiant, a victim, broken… to name just a few attributes, and Paige is all of those, plus some.
The plot is simple and there are no twists and secondary strands to get tangled in. Which of the two men will Paige choose is the question we need answered. Well, you’ll have to read the book, to find out. All I’ll say is that Paige is not a normal person – she may have been, before all the things that happened to her. When we join the story, we are being shown a coping mechanism. It soon becomes obvious that, no matter the effort, this strategy is not completely functional.
The writing style is clear and concise – just right, in my opinion. Descriptions are precise, not overly-wordy, which is another thing I value in a good book. The characters – other than Paige and her two love interests – are very well-defined, and all have an own voice, back story and set of reactions. The main characters are brilliant.
All in all, this forms a very cohesive, well-written novel. The one aspect I would improve on is the emotional connection between the characters, and also between Paige and the reader. While I wanted to empathise and sympathise with her, I found myself somewhat detached, not close enough for my liking. I wanted to feel for Paige, I wanted to want to go and hug her, but I found I wouldn’t have done so, even if I had the chance. I don’t feel passionate enough about her or her plight.
An enjoyable read, intelligently written, Seven Dirty Words is a strong début novel, very well-deserving of four stars. I look forward to Charlotte Howard’s next book.