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The Temptation of Lila and Ethan (The Secret, #3)The Temptation of Lila and Ethan by Jessica Sorensen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Pub. date: May 6, 2014

Can true love ever survive in the brackish absence of light?

While superficially, The Temptation of Lila and Ethan is set in the seedy underbelly of Las Vegas, its true landscape lays within the treacherous darkness secreted within the title characters' separate pasts.

In the same meaningless way describing an ocean as being deep is factually correct, yet misses the point entirely, it would be simplistic and lacking to the point of irrelevance to limit Jessica Sorenson's work of fiction by depicting it as merely a romance novel.
The book's significance lays in the web of faulty thought-patterns established when abuse is present in the home during early childhood, and in the main character's dismantling their prior perceptions of how they fit into the world around them. Unsteady foundations make precarious footholds for both Lila and Ethan, as they fight to break free from their noxious families and pain, even as they continue to be their own worst antagonists. The brutal reality of how long-term consequences play out due to the dysfunctional choices of others is clearly portrayed as the two struggle to find coping mechanisms and ways to sedate the pain, years later.

It is in Lila and Ethan's conquering drug and sex addiction that, as the numbness they've been fostering for years begins to slowly fade, that they are forced to come to terms with the demons that lay within; and perhaps even more frightening, acknowledge their unsettling growing attraction.

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