NOTE: This is a new review, based on my notes and recollection. Kept holding out hope but seems that the original review is lost forever. Either GR gobbled it up (possible) or I screwed up when writing/saving it (more likely).“… Erica looked up at her father, placing the last piece of the puzzle, finally seeing the full picture, but it was no bed of roses, no garden, no beautiful beach, this was a clear, dark depiction of hell, and she was living in it. …”THE SHORT:
The above quote sums up CONFESSION quite neatly. Continuing from where the first book, “[b:Temptation|17563753|Temptation (Under Mr. Nolan's Bed, #1)|Selena Kitt|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1362705450s/17563753.jpg|6155616]”, ended, it has a much darker and twisted storyline, delving into grittier and unpleasant topics ranging from date rape to incomprehensible acts by a parent to religious hypocrisy. But the common theme underlying everything is the shameless and systematic exploitation of vulnerable girls.
My rating reflects the fact that CONFESSION was an unusually emotional read for me. Yes, it was satisfying to finally get the “more” in the Under Mr. Nolan’s Bed (“UMNB”) saga, but there were parts to this book that hit some of my personal triggers rather hard and elicited a visceral response, especially the sexual perversion re: concepts of the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene. So I advise caution to anyone who is devout or sensitive to misconduct by religious figures. Because the Catholic Church is not
portrayed in a good light.THE LONG:
As the second (or “bridge”) book in the UMNB trilogy, CONFESSION is not a standalone book. Failure to first read “[b:Temptation|17563753|Temptation (Under Mr. Nolan's Bed, #1)|Selena Kitt|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1362705450s/17563753.jpg|6155616]” almost guarantees being immediately lost as to the storyline and closure only comes with the third and final book, [b:Grace|17563766|Grace (Under Mr. Nolan's Bed, #3)|Selena Kitt|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1362705848s/17563766.jpg|24496731]. In addition, this is not an erotic read, even though there are more than a few scenes of sexual activities, including some “light” f/f. (And TBT, some sexual content may be very off-putting for some readers.)
One could argue that CONFESSION jumped the rails by not resembling UMNB and/or not being erotica. But given that this was a bridge book, I personally liked how Selena Kitt put a fresh spin on CONFESSION. I also liked how it was structured with concurrent yet distinctly separate substories, as told from POVs of Erica and Leah. Both substories are tough to read at times for different reasons and can arouse very strong emotions. But they ring true when considered within the social context of the US in the late 1950s, as well as the fact that, at that time untouched by more recent sex scandals, the Catholic Church and its representatives were generally highly respected and above suspicion.
Erica’s curious journalist side takes her deeper and deeper into long-held secrets involving both the Catholic Church and local populace. She also begins her own taboo relationship with a person deemed off-limits. Meanwhile, Leah has to deal with the consequences of her affair with Rob Nolan but without resources, she is at the mercy of her mother’s decisions. How the two substories and both girls’ experiences slowly wind closer and closer together and ultimately merge towards the end makes for a “can’t put this book down” read, even as I cringed and/or fumed at certain point.
I guessed much of the reveals fairly early on, so I read CONFESSION with alternating feelings of dread and vindication. All in all, a very different book from “[b:Temptation|17563753|Temptation (Under Mr. Nolan's Bed, #1)|Selena Kitt|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1362705450s/17563753.jpg|6155616]” and very satisfying in that this bridge book was not mere filler but its own book with its own story that also advanced the overall arc of the trilogy.
Now, I need to take a breather before I can move on to “[b:Grace|17563766|Grace (Under Mr. Nolan's Bed, #3)|Selena Kitt|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1362705848s/17563766.jpg|24496731]”. TBT, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it will be more like #1. :)
* ARC provided by the author