I Will Never Leave You by S.M. Thayer – 2 of 5 Stars

I Will Never Leave You by [Thayer, S. M.]

I typically avoid Kindle First books, but this one had an interesting hook.

Banking heiress Trish and her husband, James, seem to have it all, from a lavish lifestyle to a historic mansion in the nation’s capital. The only thing that’s missing to make their family complete is a baby, so when Trish holds Anne Elise in her arms for the first time, it’s no surprise that she falls deeply in love. There’s just one problem: Trish isn’t the mother.

The baby belongs to Laurel, James’s young mistress. And more than that, James and Laurel want to start a new life together—despite an ironclad prenup standing in their way. When Trish becomes dangerously obsessed with making Laurel’s baby her own, the lovers’ plan to break James’s marriage quickly goes awry. How far is each of them willing to go for happiness?

Sounds twisted, right? It most definitely is.

I originally didn’t download the book, sticking by my theory that Kindle First books are a waste of time. I kept thinking about it, though, and wondering why a woman would 1) want to stay with a man who had an affair and fathered a child with his long term mistress and 2) would want to raise the child. I gave in and decided to give it a read.

From the start, it’s clear that we’re not dealing with typical characters. This is one screwed up bunch. Trish is a very rich, shallow woman who is obviously missing a few too many brain cells. Her husband, James, takes her to the hospital to meet his newborn daughter, but as far as he knows, Trish isn’t aware that he has a mistress yet alone a baby. Until they arrive at the hospital, Trish doesn’t even know where they’re going, yet as soon as she sees the baby she’s instantly in love. There is no screaming at her two-timing hubby, no argument, no nothing…except her desperation to keep her husband. This might be easier to buy if Trish had a strong history of abandonment, but the history she does have is brushed over and minimal.

James/Jimmy/Jim works in finance and seems to like spending money more than anything. He’s basically an in-over-his-head-with-debt thug who hides behind his wife’s money. Supposedly he’s charismatic, but I have difficulty seeing charisma in anyone who gives his wife such big news by way of show and tell. “Meet my kid. Oh yeah, and that’s my mistress. Could you divorce me so that I get half of your money?” Seriously? And, right in front of his wife he calls his mistress honey, darling, etc. Why didn’t someone give him a kick to the groin right then and there? But no one does. Instead he becomes the object of two women’s desperate attempts to win him over for keeps.

I do have to say that for James’ character, I did find it clever that the author referred to him as Jim in his own POV chapters (just plain old Jim, nothing special about him), James in Trish’s POV (making him sound better, more sophisticated than he is) and Jimmy (a directionless man-child) in Laurel’s POV. Each version of his name suited what each character thought/wanted him to be. I don’t know if this was intentional, but it worked very well.

Finally there is Laurel, who is about as dumb as they come. On the night of their daughter’s birth, Jimmy goes home to his wife even though he promised to stay with Laurel, yet she’s still convinced that he will divorce Trish and marry her. She’s been with him long enough to carry a baby, but has no idea where he lives. She believes this poor excuse for a man is going to fix her screwed up life, which includes paying off her huge student loan debt with money she doesn’t realize he doesn’t have. It just goes on and on.

I found myself irritated by Laurel calling the baby Zerena and James & Trish calling her Anne Elise. At first, it effectively showed that Laurel and Jimmy are nowhere near on the same page, but after that it got old. It was especially annoying near the end when all of a sudden Laurel starts referring to the baby as Anne Elise without acknowledgement of the switch. Enough was stated earlier in the book that I can surmise the reason for it, but I really felt like I wanted some explanation from Laurel at the time she shifted gears. I actually thought it was a mistake until the reference continued.

Messed up characters can be a good thing in a book. Often they’re interesting and fun. Even unlikeable characters work, as long as the reader can feel empathy. I felt that these characters were just plain unlikeable and was only able to feel something for the poor little baby.

I’m not going to get into the plot. With these three holding the reins, you can imagine it’s a train wreck. Again, not necessarily a bad thing…if it makes sense. There were just too many things that didn’t make sense to me and so many details that were inaccurate to the point where I caught myself saying “really?!” out loud. For example, a newborn baby does not giggle. Period. Expanding on it by saying how the baby giggles at the funny faces made at her only make it more ridiculous. Overall, I felt that the book lacked the tiny bits of realism it needed to ground the reader and make us believe that it could be real.

Despite some comments I’ve read, I do think the writing itself was good. There were times when it felt old fashioned to me, but that is a personal preference only.

I did finish the book and it did have entertainment value for me. I can’t in good conscious recommend it, but I did find enough enjoyment to make it worth the read.