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I'd heard this book would put my heart and mind through the ringer, but I had no idea about how intense and crazy the ride was going to be. The Light in the Wound
is an emotional journey through Isabel's turbulent family life and first love. My emotions were all over the place throughout this novel - love, hate, happiness, sadness, and complete confusion. I went through it all and I LOVED every minute.
The prologue, although short, packed a punch. When I finished it, I screamed. Seriously. The prologue takes place 10 years prior and opens up with a couple waking up next to each other. The guy doesn't want the woman to leave. She says she has to and that they had talked about this. She has to leave him because...well....read it
. You will be shocked.
Isabel Francesa is the middle child of three girls and was born to a very wealthy family. Growing up in Cebu, a province of the Philippines, Isa and her sisters were raised in the spotlight - her mother was an heiress and her father was a famous race car driver. Although I couldn't relate to Isa's upbringing, it was very interesting to get insight to her life, a life that was so different than mine. Money was plentiful, Isa and her sister were raised by a nanny, and the girls' every move was newsworthy. All of that was so foreign to me.
But Isa's life was not perfect by any means. Her mother's drug addiction caused pain and strife throughout her childhood and eventually caused her and her sisters to be separated. It was tragic to see what Isa's childhood could have been. She could have been raised in this beautiful environment, she and her sisters could want for nothing, they could have gone to the best schools and lived happily ever after. But that wasn't the case. Isa's story was honest, raw, and emotional. As I read about Isa's childhood through her lens, there was this sort of confusion. While she is telling the story as an adult, you get the impression that even she still doesn't know all the facts.
So why did I talk so much about her childhood, you ask? Well, I blame her childhood for some of the decisions she made throughout her teenage and adult years. You have to see what she went through to fully understand her mindset and decision. At sixteen, Isa meets and falls in love with Jesse. She wants to give him everything and spent her life with him. Initially, I loved Jesse because I felt like he was her knight in shining armor after all the crap she went through as a kid.
"Is it obvious that I'm just trying to keep you on the phone a little longer? I love the sound of your voice."
How wrong I was. Jesse was controlling and slowly began to strip away Isa's identity. Her new identity was found in him. Over time, she throws away everything that she loved doing because he wanted her all to himself. And she wanted to give herself to him completely. It didn't take long for my like for Jesse to turn to pure hatred. He disgusted me.
"With me he was loving and attentive, fragile and vulnerable. But as soon as we arrived home and were back on campus, Jesse was a completely different person. He never gave me any reason for mistrust, so whatever I felt had to take a backseat to the relationship[ that we had."
Around the same time Isa met Jesse, she met Alex, a guy at the country club. He was charming, sweet, and comforting. Basically, he was everything Jesse isn't (can you tell I really didn't like Jesse?). He was the Isa's constant throughout her life. He was the one person who was always there when things in Isa's world fell apart. As you can imagine, this caused quite a bit of jealousy on Jesse's part.
"Alex is a friend, Jesse. You made me stop seeing all of my friends. You made me give up my past life for you. He's the only one left who can remind me of how different I was before I fell in love with you."
I absolutely loved Alex. He was perfect in every way and that didn't bother me one bit. After the train wreck that was Jesse, Isa needed a saint to pick up the pieces of her broken heart. Alex was her knight on a white horse, not Jesse. He let her have fun and be herself after years of Jesse's emotional abuse.
"No hives here. You're not breaking out just because it's a Wal-Mart dress. " He laughed."What's your point?" I asked, exhausted by all his energy.
"My point is that you look just beautiful, just as sexy and just as well put together as you do every single day, no matter what brand you wear. This dress doesn't define your loveliness. You do."
There were so many moments in this story where I was begging for Isa to make the right decision. I wanted her to use her brain and think clearly, but everything in her life was clouding up her choices and her decision making abilities. I get that. I still wanted to slap her. Her sisters weren't a ton of help because they had their own issues to deal with.
"I didn't stop loving him. I just ran out of ways to love him. Things with Alex are so much easier..."
My favorite type of books are ones with strong character-driven plots. The Light in the Wound
was exactly what I needed. The characters drove me mad and made me FEEL! By the end of the novel, my hatred for Jesse lessened considerably. In fact, I don't think I hate him. Not even a little bit. Not even at all. I'm so confused that I don't know what to think at this point.
This book will leave your head spinning in the best way possible. Weeks later, I'm still processing my emotions. I'm still trying to figure out who I love more - Jesse or Alex. I'm just going to let my Jesse/Alex confusion marinate for a little while longer. When I figure this out, I'll let you all know. Until then, I'm Team JesAlex. Thank heavens, there is a sequel! I want to know what happens next IMMEDIATELY! And perhaps, book two will help me decide who to love.*I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.
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