Just As I Am by Mandi Blake

Just as I am - ebook Final (1)

Blurb

Adeline Rhodes has spent years locked away in a New Orleans apartment controlled by her criminal boyfriend. After a daring escape, she realizes just how far she has grown from the things in which she once believed.

Declan King has lived a life of solitude and duty for the U.S. Army. When the deaths of his grandparents bring him home to his family farm, he is forced into contact with people who know too much about his past to simply leave him alone.

When Adeline’s past catches up to her, the two strangers find themselves thrust into a fake relationship to protect Adeline from her vengeful ex. As their chance meeting begins a journey that heals old wounds, they struggle to stay ahead of the danger and deny their growing attraction to each other.

Declan will do anything to protect her, and failure isn’t an option when Adeline’s life is on the line.

My review

Adeline has escaped an abusive, controlling boyfriend and fled to Georgia to stay with her aunt and uncle. Declan is recently home from the military and struggles with being around people and crowded places. Both have walls like crazy to protect themselves. Addie’s aunt and uncle run into Declan at a store and ask him to keep an eye on her, check in on her occasionally at work because they worry about her ex boyfriend Jason finding her. He agrees, and meets her that afternoon for the first time. That night she is attacked by her ex and Declan saves her. They decide to spend a lot of time together publicly and draw Jason out so he can be arrested. Of course they fall in love and their fake relationship is very real.

This was a good book. Declan and Addie just work together. They seem to complete each other and they are just the sweetest together. This book does have a huge religious tone, with both characters praying and attending church together and talking about their faith. They also don’t do more than kiss. There is also a lot of action and some suspense with Jason on the run and after them. Again, bonus points for having an awesome German Shepherd in the book.

There is one part at the end of the book that REALLY didn’t sit well with me and bothered me for a long time. After everything is over, Addie’s narration takes a dangerous turn. She says she should have done more to help Jason, that she should have prayed for him harder and implied that would have stopped him from everything he did to her. Then she says she’ll visit him in prison and pass him evangelical materials to try to help him. That’s fine and all, but the part where she implies that she didn’t do enough to “save” her abuser who literally tried to kill her throws up all kinds of red flags to me. I grew up in the Bible Belt, I get where she is coming from, but NO. This just screams to young women that the abuse is partially their fault because they didn’t pray hard enough. That’s not how it works.

Except for those few sentences near the end, this was a better book than I was expecting.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

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About the author

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Mandi Blake was born and raised in Alabama where she lives with her husband and daughter, but her southern heart loves to travel. Reading has been her favorite hobby for as long as she can remember, but writing is her passion. She loves a good happily ever after in her sweet Christian romance books, and loves to see her characters’ relationships grow closer to God and each other.

 

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