May 30, 2015

Review: ADDICTED (Addicted, #1) by Charlotte Featherstone


Friends since childhood, Anais Darnby and Lindsay Markham have long harbored a secret passion for one another. When they finally confess their love, their future together seems assured, sealed with their searing embrace.

But when a debauched Lindsay is seduced by a scheming socialite, a devastated Anais seeks refuge in another man's bed while Lindsay retreats to the exotic East. There, he is seduced again—this time by the alluring red smoke and sinister beauty of opium.

Back home, Lindsay's addiction is fed by the vogue for all things Oriental—especially its sensual pleasures—in fashionable London society. In his lucid moments, Lindsay still lusts after Anais, who can neither allow him near nor forget his smoldering touch. Tortured by two obsessions—opium and Anais—Lindsay must ultimately decide which is the one he truly cannot live without.

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My review:

What a terribly sad book! That's the first thought about Addicted that pops into my mind right after finishing it. The main characters, Lindsay and Anais, put each other through hell on earth, most of which could have been avoided which makes it even more tragic. Even the HEA ending they got, even though they appeared to be happy and content, left me feeling sad.
The second concerns Sinful , book two in this series, that is about Wallingford, a supporting character in this book. As I liked the author's writing style, I am more than interested in reading his book. I think--I hope--he and whoever his love interest turns out to be won't make the stupid decisions Lindsay and Anais made, that they won't make me want to slap some sense into them, and yell Why, why did you do that?! That would be my loudest thought throughout the book: WHY?! I wanted to shout that at the characters for their behavior was often one I'm failing to find acceptable.

As any other reader, I have a few plot devices that don't sit well with me. Unfortunately, I found them in Addicted. The first is misunderstanding. Even the simplest of misunderstandings can lead to awful consequences, which is why I get all mad and anxious when I find it in books. The fact that it all could have been avoided just by talking doesn't help. Misunderstandings in historical novels I find even worse. With no phones, cellphones, internet and whatnot communication relies heavily on actually talking in person. When you can't call, text or email someone if you forgot to say something, or to explain or really get anything off your chest, it's crucial not to mince words when so much is depending on them. And for God's sake, do not avoid seeing someone you love and who loves you, after they did something wrong denying them a chance to explain! Especially not when that person had been your best friend for almost your entire lives! No, just no! And, yet, that's exactly what happened setting off a series of unfortunate events with tragic consequences, if you ask me.

It is that beginning of the book that puzzles me the most. Lindsay and Anais were friends for many, many years, and for many years they were in love with each other. For Lindsay it was 14 years he'd been craving for Anais, and why he hadn't made his move before is a bit confusing to me. Why wait until he was 30. How quickly everything happened between him and Anais when he did make his move is also not entirely clear to me. Talking would have been preferable before jumping into haystack. Then, of course came the real doozy when Anais ran away from Lindsay, and kept on refusing to see him, then even went as far as to lead him to believe she left the country. Behavior of a smart, mature, good 28-year-old woman that was not. Even if they had only been lovers, he deserved to be heard, but to do that to the person you called your best friend for the better part of your life, left me flabbergasted. To make matters worse, she wasn't alone--one of Lindsay's closest friends was helping her. One adult behaving like a petulant child, and the other supposedly levelheaded adult encouraging her. My advice to Lindsay would be to get new friends, which is why when he made peace with Garrett so easily, I wanted to kick him. As far as I'm concerned, Garrett was a weasel, acting all hing and mighty, who only wanted Anais for himself, and did everything to make that happen.

That said, I could've, and probably would've overlooked all that, had there not been another plot device that I can't stomach no matter how much I try. I'd rather not say which exactly as it would be a spoiler. I've read some reviews of Addicted saying it's a quite common plot device, but to me it wasn't, and I hope that I won't find it in a romance book ever again. I can get over a lot of transgressions fictional characters commit, by which I mean I root for them to be forgiven for it. I always try to find reasons they should be redeemed. I tried here, too. I failed. To a point I can understand Anais' actions and decisions, but no matter what, I find it unforgivable. That is why that stupid misunderstanding from the beginning of the book pains me. It makes me furious because all of it could have been avoided, but still what was done was done, and it was done by Anais. The hurt she caused Lindsay was so big I could barely stand it. I contemplated just abandoning the book because it was too much, but I soldiered on hoping against hope it could be fixed. It couldn't. It wasn't. Today such decisions can be revoked, but this was a different time, and there was no turning back, which just fueled the rage I felt towards those characters that were involved. Lindsay may have been able to forgive and move on, Anais may have been able to forgive herself and move on, they may have been able to move on together, and be okay with everything, but I still can't. I found another hard limit. Whenever I put myself in the shoes of either of them, I find if unbearable.

Needless to say, Addicted turned out to a very different reading experience from what I expected. From what I'd gathered from the title, the blurb, and some reviews, I thought the major focus would be on Lindsay coming to terms with how serious his opium addiction was, and trying to save himself from its clutches, with the help of his one true love. Even that appeared challenging, but this was brutal. His addiction was fought against in the last part, and it was a constant part of Lindsay's life throughout the book. His dependency may have made him vulnerable to that viper at the beginning (and the viper was Anais' friend, and Garrett's fiancé, which just shows how bright they were) which made Anais to act stupidly in the first place, but when all is said and done, Lindsay was drugged, and instead of helping him, his best friends turned their backs on him. Afterwards, they made his life a living hell, completely sober and of sound mind. I think it's obvious by now I took Lindsay's side in this story. Anais was perfect in his mind, but I could see no reason for putting her on a pedestal like that. I actually started wishing he would get over her, and find someone else. What I could see, though, was that she was an addiction, perhaps a bigger addiction than opium. She won, after all.

“Loving you is the same feeling the opium gives me. [...] Lust, passion, salvation.”

Addicted, despite everything that happened in it, is still an erotic novel, exceedingly emotional erotic novel. That's not written on the cover just for show. There were quite a few erotic scenes, maybe even more than I would've preferred. Given their situation, even those scenes were heartbreaking and depressing, and the fact Anais was keeping her secret made it all worse. Plus, I wish those pages gave way to them actually talking, and resolving their issues as they had so many, but talking wasn't their strong suit from the start.

It goes without saying, reading this book was stressful. Reviewing it was, too. However, no matter how much I found heroine's decisions regretful, I don't regret reading this story. It's been calling my name for a very long time. It made a lot of cracks on my heart, but at least the main characters had a semblance to a happy ever after.

The rating, as it usually is with books I like/hate, is 3,5 stars.
Wallingford's book won't put me through this, I hope, and I trust that will earn it more stars from me.
Until next time, happy reading!



  1. Sometimes, misunderstandings can be so annoying. Especially if it's used as a plot device. So stupid, sometimes. Ugh. Anyway, I don't know about this book...

    1. I know, they're the worst! And here it was worse than worst because of what it led to. :/
      I really don't know whether to recommend this book or not -- it's left me feeling very conflicted. :/

  2. I have a hard time with a story that is for the most part sad even if they do eventually get a HEA. I don't like to suffer through the whole read. Also, characters that continue to make me want to slap some sense into them are just plain frustrating. I don't think this would work for me. Great honest review, Danija. :)

    1. Thank you, Rachel. If sad stories aren't your thing, then this probably isn't a book for you. I usually don't mind if they're sad if they have a happy ending, but this was a bit more than I could handle. Even the HEA didn't feel all that happy. I do have high hopes for book two. I just don't know when I'll get to read it.


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