This review was originally posted on amazon on June 2, 2012:
Tammara Webber consistently writes and publishes books that are high quality. There is no need to qualify the review of this, or, frankly, any, of her self-published books with a tag along the lines of "excellent for a self-published book." I've read all four of the books that she has published. They have attractive covers, and the prose inside of them is well-written, grammatically correct and largely error free. Kudos.
So, with that introduction, there are a few things that I want to say about this book, both about the romance and then, in a moment, about her realistic and sensitive exploration of the subject of college acquaintance sexual assault.
So, first, the romance. This book has been compared to Beautiful Disaster by some of my reader friends. This comparison does a disservice to this book. Easy is better than Beautiful Disaster. So, so, so much better.
I love Jacqueline. She is strong and intelligent and exhibits more than a little bit of backbone. She has a great deal of self-confidence, but even more importantly, she treats herself as though she is a worthy person. She is saddened by the break up of a long term relationship, and is appropriately emotive, but never does she devolve into a caricature of a heroine who wallows in self-pity by collapsing into a mass of self-indulgent drama. Fiction could use a lot more Jacquelines.
The romance is sweet and unfolds naturally. Lucas is a genuinely likeable guy, who treats Jacqueline with respect as their relationship develops. He is the kind of guy that, if you are the mother of a teenaged girl, you hope your daughter will meet when she gets to college. Hardworking, intelligent, unentitled, compassionate, and strong.
This book is worth reading for the romance.
It is, however, the backstory where Ms. Webber really shines. I have no idea what her personal experience includes, but, as a sexual assault prosecutor, I felt that her treatment of college acquaintance sexual assault was beautifully done.
There are only three things required for a rape to occur. A victim, an opportunity, and a rapist. All too often, even in fiction, writers treat rape, especially acquaintance rape, as though, somehow, non-rapists sort of accidentally commit it. This book, thankfully, takes a much more realistic, appropriate, non-victim blaming approach. It is empowering to young women who may have been the victim of this crime, while acknowledging that society, often, treats rape victims in a disparaging, irresponsible, and cruel manner. It is not uncommon for the community to rally around the rapist - the Buck's of the world - while treating the victim as though she has committed some sort of a crime by reporting that she was sexually assaulted.
I don't want to allow this review to digress into a public service announcement, but there is a reason that rape, and especially rape committed by an acquaintance, is an extremely underreported crime. Ms. Webber's book provides an explanation of that phenomenon in a way that is sensitive and well-done. I very much admire her for her treatment of this subject.