Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Salvatore Marriage

Two years ago, Luca Salvatore ended his engagement to Shannon Gilbraith after catching her cheating on him. They are reunited after his brother and her sister (who have been married for six years) die tragically, leaving a new-born daughter behind.

Since this is a category romance, it is clear from the start that Shannon was not unfaithful to Luca two years ago, but was wrongfully accused. It turns out that Luca came home unexpectedly one day to find Shannon cleaning up the bedroom, with the bed unmade, a pair of men's boxer shorts on the floor, and a packet of condoms on the table. He came to the obvious conclusion; unfortunately for Shannon, it was actually her sister who was guilty but Luca would not believe her. This whole scenario was pretty tacky and unbelievable... What kind of woman conducts an affair in her sister's home, and not only that but in her sister's bed? Ever heard of hotels? Anyway, I thought it was excusable for Luca to think what he did, but his pride caused him to completely cut Shannon out of his life without allowing her to tell her side of the story at all. In fact, he admits to himself that he regretted the fact that they were only engaged and not married, because his pride would have allowed him to try and reconcile with her if they had already been married. Not very admirable. As for Shannon, it's understandable that after a while she gave up trying to convince Luca of her innocence. He believes unequivocally that she was cheating on him and would not even entertain the possibility that her sister would cheat on his brother.

Anyway, after Luca and Shannon find themselves joint guardians of their baby niece, they agree to marry each other without actually resolving any of their past. Shannon agrees to the marriage on the priviso that Luca doesn't bring up the past. I found this pretty fatalistic. Does not mentioning it make it all right? Luca eventually discovers the truth that it was Shannon's sister who was guilty, and that his brother also knew about it and never told him. Finally everything comes out, Luca and Shannon forgive each other and everyone is happy. Everyone apart from me. Shannon seems to think that Luca's willingness to marry her means that he has forgiven her; if he has forgiven her for cheating on him, then he must love her. That reasoning would be fine except for the fact that he is marrying her for the sake of their niece, and not because he loves her. Luca's lack of trust in Shannon is never really addressed. Luca's family is another loose end. They all hate Shannon for being unfaithful to him. Looks like Shannon just has to continue living with their condemnation. Luca's brother and Shannon's sister were willing to let Luca believe Shannon cheated on him rather than tell him the truth; since they are dead, this can't really be resolved, but I still found it hard to stomach.

Overall this wasn't a bad book, but I was left feeling dissatisfied. I guess the whole conflict in the first place is so sordid and hard to stomach that I needed a more complete resolution. The guilty parties didn't really suffer. Luca himself was forgiven far too easily. Shannon just seemed to get short-changed and I don't think she deserved that.

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