HUSH is the third and final book of the TAINTED LOVE series by RC Christiansen, a husband and wife author team (more about them see below). I have read this book before reading the first two and although I recommend you to read Tainted Love (The Complete Trilogy), Whisper and Hush in their proper order, I had no problems following the plot or enjoying the superb storytelling.
It was strange. I saw the post announcing the future release of Hush on social media and fell in love with the main character Cliffy upon reading the blurb. It wasn’t just the normal feeling of “Oh, this sounds like a great book, I should pre-order it.” No, it was way more than that. Something called to me, deep down in the deepest recesses of my soul. I cannot explain it, I had no idea why but I’ve learned the hard way to better follow my intuition.
So I went with it, even though I was scared of the trigger warnings like the mention of child abuse. That’s why I didn’t read the first two books in this series, even though I loved the snippets the author posted and the reviews Tainted Love and Whisper received were full of praise. I was simply too scared of my anxiety spiking.
Throwing caution to the wind when it came to Cliffy Dodd, the mute younger brother of Ken Dodd, male MC of the first book, Tainted Love, I had just hit a dry spell in work between projects and because my daughter had fallen asleep in my bed it meant, I couldn’t listen to an audiobook as my phone fell down once too often and earbuds don’t work so well anymore and my current read being a paperback so putting on the light was out of the question as well, I reverted to my Kindle app where I found Hush had just been delivered.
I started to read and was enthralled. My heart was into the story from the first page. I felt with Cliffy, looked into his mind, saw what he saw and suffered along with him. The characters leapt off the page and it was as if I was standing in the middle of them, watching, observing, but not only their actions, their thoughts and feelings, too.
The author has a way of writing that makes you feel, you are living what the characters are living. And I would also like to add that as someone who listens to audiobooks in multiple genres, mainly from trade pub bestselling authors as the indie author community often doesn’t have their works published in audio format yet, I have to honestly say that to me, RC Christiansen can sure hold her own with the NY Time and USA Today bestsellers when it comes to storytelling.
Even though I had not read the first two books in the series, it didn’t take away the pleasure and understanding of reading the third instalment first, although I would still recommend you read them in their proper order. I plan to remedy this in the future. Because I am so in love with this author’s style of writing, the heartbreaking story that had me in tears, at other times, I wanted to punch my pillows, then again, my heart was flowing over with love for these beautifully broken souls that you feel you just want to hug and protect and tell them it’ll all be better. All this is worth facing my own trigger fears about the mention of child abuse and deeply tormented characters.
The way the author handled these issues were as sensitive as they were beautiful. There is a thin line between being horrifying and glossing over the horrors victims of child abuse have lived through. The author is as sure-footed as a circus artist balancing virtuously on a tightrope. The whole book with its myriad of details and occasional excursions into the past is a masterpiece of dark romance that hasn’t got a happily ever after but somehow, by the end of it, as you sit there and cry your eyes out, you will understand that the beauty of this story lies in its brokenness and the many things that these now adult abuse victims have in their behavioural patterns that are not what non-traumatised people have and why they ultimately don’t seem to fit into a reality that is judging and condemning them as harshly as if they were the culprits.
What moved me the most overall in these characters was the deep sense of loyalty they feel towards each other. Cliffy Dodd’s actions are all led by his unerring devotion to his older brother Ken and Ken’s wife Verna whom he is also in love with. Life deals them blow after blow and things happen because most people don’t understand the mute Cliff who cannot sign and misinterpret his intentions and actions. But although it bothers him and sometimes he wants to scream when he can’t, he finds his voice of expression in the tragic end of not only this book but the entire trilogy.
I cannot put into words all the varying emotions this book has taken me through on a rollercoaster ride. But I don’t hesitate to say, RC Christiansen has deserved her place with the great names right on top.
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About RC Christiansen
R&C Christiansen is a proud Canadian husband and wife team, although Mrs. Christiansen does the majority of the authoring and Mr. C does the mentoring & proofreading. Together they write dark/erotic romance novels and enjoy reading the same genres when they have time. When the Mrs. is not busy authoring, mothering, or wife-ing, she likes to indulge in a glass of wine, kick back, and think dirty thoughts hoping to inspire the next story within.