Review: Pretty Scars by C.D. Reiss

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☆☆➹⁀☆ 5 stars ☆➹⁀☆☆

What It’s About:

In Carrie Drazen’s diamond-studded world, beauty is everything: a blessing, a commodity, and a curse. Her beauty got her past the velvet ropes and into high society, but it ripped her away from the man she loved and chained her to an unbearable life.

Then, in a single night, a song played by a mysterious and secretive musician carries her back to a past ripe with possibilities, when love could open any door.

Who is this anonymous performer?
How can a man she’s never met tell such a precise story of a boy she loved?

She needs to know. But sometimes masks exist for a reason, and this unveiling could scar them both.

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My Thoughts:

Wow! This book. It’s like a chocolate truffle that you want to swirl around on your tongue as you savor each rich, dark, nuance.

It’s romantic, it’s suspenseful, and it is thrilling. Author C.D. Reiss beautifully tells the story of the elusive Drazen sibling, Carrie, in her latest novel, Pretty Scars.

The story is cleverly told in two time periods, the not so distant past of 1993 and the present, 1995. The story is broken up into two parts to allow both Carrie and Gabriel to tell their respective stories. There is some overlap, but once the critical fulcrum point is reached, their stories diverge dramatically. Through both their views, readers are forced to ask, “Is Declan Drazen a loving father or the devil incarnate?” Fans of the Submission series and the Drazen sibling spin-offs, already know the answer to that question!

I loved the reference to Hitchcock’s The Birds as well as the professor’s explanation of the movie being about a smart, beautiful woman upsetting the balance of nature as if a woman could only be smart or beautiful. However, it is really a nod to our heroine as the professor acknowledges that she is both smart and beautiful. Not only does The Birds get a mention, but also Romeo and Juliette, which seems to be the inspiration for the story premise.

Both Carrie and Gabriel are highly empathetic characters. The forbidden love and longing, the naïve acceptance of parents’ lies and prejudices, and the tragic struggles make it easy to become embroiled in their love story. Equally delicious are the subtle tie-ins to the author’s prior Drazen clan stories.

I greatly appreciated that the author did not incorporate the scandal du jour—college application bribes. This beautiful story did not need a sensational current event. Ms. Reiss, has instead, given her readers a dramatic tale of second-chance love.



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