Title: The Righteous and the Wicked
Author: April Emerson
Publication Date: April 10, 2014
Summary (from Goodreads): Small moments can seem insignificant until they change the course of a life forever. The sound of a bulldozer. A chance meeting at a gas station. A gust of wind through a chime. Benign events become something more when viewed through the lens of fate.
Emma Santori is a prisoner of tragic memories. Locked in a spiral of depression, she leads a desolate and empty life, trapped in her decrepit home. Rooted in routine, she’s numb and vacant. As a lonely Catholic school teacher, her only joy comes from her young students. One Saturday morning, her isolation is infiltrated by a mysterious architect building a home beside hers.
That man is Eric Wilder and he’s keeping a secret—a secret that’s destroying his life. Filled with guilt and self-loathing, he’s forced to move often. He chooses the small northeastern town of Pine Lake as his latest refuge, and hopes to make a successful attempt at starting his life over. As always, he’s unable to make that happen.
That all changes when he meets Emma.
She finds herself drawn to Eric when she accidentally bumps into him, but Eric’s unfazed by their first meeting. When a gust of wind brings these two people together once again, Emma discovers Eric’s secret. She’s forced to battle between her Catholic faith and her desire for this stranger.
Their attraction is intense and they soon discover they’re each lonely and longing for what the other has to offer. As their friendship blossoms, Emma realizes her passion and lust for Eric are the remedy to her depression. Eric discovers his feelings for Emma are the only antidote to his secret burden.
They begin an erotic journey, which leads these beautifully broken people to discover that love can be both righteous and wicked.
I’m not sure where to start with this review. It was the title that caught my attention, and then the cover and the summary sealed the deal. I had to read this book. And now as I sit here trying to put my feelings about it into words I just feel…confused.
The story was good—great even. I liked the characters; I especially liked how dark Eric could be. I could have lived without all the religious stuff, but I get that it needed to be in the story because of Emma and how she views the world. I just do not for the life of me understand Catholic beliefs—but that’s something totally different and something I am not getting into.
It was the writing style that threw me. While the author is a great story teller and weaves a tale that will definitely pull you in, I just felt like the way it was written was…choppy? That’s really the only word I can think of that describes it. Bits and pieces are thorn at you, it was like we are just given flashes and the story is never fully told. It read almost like diary entries… I don’t know how to put into words! It just didn’t flow right for me, I guess.
If it wasn’t for such interesting characters and great writing (yes, let’s make that clear: I loved the writing just not the style) I probably would have given up on this one because the flow of the book just threw me. Maybe it would have been better if each chapter had been dedicated to one POV at a time instead of jumping around…
Anyway, I loved the idea behind the story, the bad boy and the good little Catholic girl. I loved how they balanced each other out. He was so lost in his darkness and she was so lost in her sorrow. They were both broken, each needing what the other had to offer. Eric brought out a side of Emma she never knew existed and really needed to get in touch with, and Emma tamed the beast that haunted Eric for as long as he could remember. The balance between these characters was amazing.
I did think it was odd though, given that Emma was trying to help Eric overcome his addiction, that she would encourage him to flirt with the Carnival Whore because it sexually benefited her (Emma). Yes, it gave Eric some kind of clarity that he was looking for when it came to women and sex, but she was supposed to help him abstain from the darkness that was eating him, not ask him to indulge in it. It was not only counterproductive but also almost cruel on her part.
I just don’t know how to feel about this book. I liked it, but at the same time the writing style unnerved me. But if asked, I would recommend you read it. It really is a great story—if you can get passed the choppiness of it.