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  • Caitlyn Lynch

Book Review: Hard Night by Jackie Ashenden

Hard Night follows two characters, Jacob Night and Faith Beasley, through an intense period of just a few days. The book begins six months before the present, as we discover that ‘Faith’ is actually an amnesiac with no idea of who she really is. The only thing Jacob knows about her is that she has some sort of connection to his long-lost brother, and on the strength of this he manages to get her released into his custody by claiming he’s her cousin.

What grinds my gears about this is that Faith knows pretty much right from the beginning that Jacob’s lied to her. She’s trying to build a life predicated on a lie. Her work, her name, everything; she knows it’s a lie and yet she doesn’t care.

When someone takes a potshot at Faith, Jacob whisks her off to a secret hideaway where surprise surprise, she recovers her memory and discovers she’s a former special forces soldier named Joanna. Now… I don’t know about you, but if I got my memory of who I really was back, there’s no way I’d keep using the temporary name someone else gave me. Especially when that person is known to have been lying all along. Yet for most of the rest of the book, Joanna keeps thinking of herself as Faith, and Jacob keeps gaslighting her by insisting that she IS Faith.

(Also he refuses to let her escape, practices BDSM on her without her explicit consent and other icky things).

If you were hoping for Jacob to get a resolution to his issues with his brother by the end of the book, you’ll be disappointed. The book turns away from resolving the suspense plot in favor of exploring Jacob’s endless angst, of which I was frankly really tired by that point. This is one of those books I waded through basically so that in order I can critique it with full knowledge, rather than DNFing when I realized the hero was a despicable liar using the heroine for his own purposes, and she’s so spineless she knew about it all along and went along with him anyway.

So much nope. One star.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review through NetGalley.

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