Desert Isle Keeper
I’ve read my fair share of novels with tortured heroes and heroines. Sometimes it seems there’s nothing more romantic than a hero with a tragic backstory. Unfortunately, if those stories are well written—as Rock Redemption is—then they’re guaranteed to put you through the wringer (which Rock Redemption did).
Rock star Noah St. John and actress Kit Devigny used to be close friends headed toward more. Once upon a time they were each other’s closest confidantes, but while Kit was blissfully happy to be headed toward a relationship with the guitarist, Noah was much more upset about the turn their relationship was taking. He decided that rather than take that next step with Kit, he would let her find him with another woman, and in one fell swoop destroy everything they had together.
The thing is, doing that couldn’t quite kill all of Kit’s feelings for him. So when Noah calls her from a seedy hotel at 2:00 a.m. drunk, depressed, and ready to do something rash, Kit hops out of bed and runs across town to save him from himself. After reestablishing contact, they begin to do things together again—Kit understands from Noah’s poorly phrased explanations that he truly does want her as a friend, even though he’s not ready to have her as a girlfriend.
As the two are settling back into their relationship they attend a gala together, where the media incorrectly identifies them as a couple. When their publicist explains the extremely beneficial or extremely disastrous effects this could have on Kit’s film career, Noah jumps at the opportunity to help out and play her boyfriend for the next month or so, until the cast list for the movie she’s auditioning for is announced. But Noah’s inner demons are proving more and more difficult to manage, and during this month much of his past is revealed to Kit.
You may have inferred by now—correctly—that Noah suffered abuse as a child. I won’t go into the details, but suffice to say that it was extremely traumatizing, as well as a direct cause of his difficulty forming romantic relationships. Although he’s been with countless women, Noah doesn’t understand how to have a lover—he’s never even been kissed. As Kit comes to understand this, she tries to help Noah work through his problems and slowly build a real relationship with her.
One of the things I liked best about this book was the honest depiction of Noah’s path to a normal, healthy relationship. It’s not straightforward and it doesn’t end with the last chapter of the book. The trauma he experienced in childhood isn’t something that can be magically fixed as soon as he tries to have a real relationship with Kit. Noah’s demons, it is clear, will be with him every day—the difference is that by the end of the book he and Kit are a team, and he doesn’t have to face those demons alone.
Kit, too, is a remarkably strong character. She grew up with famous parents, and consequently has always prized the little bits of privacy and normalcy she can find in her life. She puts up with a lot—from the press, from Noah, from her stalker—and yet still she manages to be a calm, caring presence. Although she was very hurt by Noah’s constant rejection early in their relationship, Kit manages to stay supportive of him, and grows even more so when he opens up to her about his past. This book is largely about Noah’s struggle to truly heal from the trauma of his childhood and not let it dictate his adult life, and Kit fits perfectly as his ever-caring, supportive partner.
Generally my rule regarding DIKs is that in order to qualify I have to finish the book and immediately desire to read it again. Even though Rock Redemption packed a powerful emotional punch, I can’t say when I’ll be ready to put myself through that again – but I know that when I am I’ll love it just as much. Reading—and writing, I’m sure—stories about the survivors of abuse can be difficult, but Ms. Singh does justice to the topic in this case.