Breaking Point by Pamela Clare
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
TBR Challenge 2011; General- Books that have been on my TBR list since before January 2011. Breaking Point has been on my list since September 2010.
It's been a while since I read the first four I-Teams books, but this installment definitely seemed grittier. That doesn't detract from the book, it was just a difference I noted early on. Pamela Clare does an excellent job with the grit, tension and angst in Breaking Point. As many other reviewers have noted, I was on the edge of my seat and didn't want to put the book down.
One of the several themes in the book was about dealing with survivor guilt. Both Natalie and Zach had traumatic experiences that had left them living half-lives, although Natalie was functioning better on the surface than Zach. This aspect of both characters was particularly well done by Clare. Too many romance novel characters are described as "tortured" but the authors aren't able to build a believable case for the readers. Clare weaves the past trauma into the present story in a way that comes through to the reader are real and believable.
The violence in the story was difficult to read, even more so because it is based on factual events. Knowing there have been dozens of women who have gone through this brutality is deeply troubling. In fact, there's a great deal of good, if troubling, information about US and Mexico, and their relationships past and present in this book. It is obvious Ms. Clare has done her research thoroughly.
For the most part I thought the love story was balanced and believable, with the tension coming from the characters troubled pasts, plus the dangerous situation they are in at present, and not from plot devices like "big misunderstandings.". I have only a few caveats and they are minor. One, the resolution of Zach's guilt with the dream sequence was moving but a little cheesy. Secondly, I thought there was too much sex. ;-) I know it's sacrilege of me to say so, but a couple of the sex scenes made me have to suspend disbelief too much. That's not to say they weren't scorching hot and well written, they were both.
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