3 out of 4 stars
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"Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned,
Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned."
- Zara [paraphrased] in The Mourning Bride by William Congreve, 1697
Zara may have been talking about herself, but she also could have been referring to Medeia Moore from Katie Blanchard's book, Dear Anna. In this gripping tale of revenge, the missus stumbles upon her husband, John, having a romantic dinner with his secretary, Anna Trayor. Unlike some of today's Real Housewives of [insert city], the scorned woman can't just take her husband for half of his money because she signed an ironclad prenuptial agreement that would leave her broke should she divorce her worse half. Shortly after Medeia spots the twosome on their date, she visits an attorney, who tells her that even if she gathers proof of the indiscretion, she likely won't prevail in court. Medeia then decides to go with Plan D ("D" for "dead"). What follows is an entertaining romp through an angered woman's mind as she plans the duo's demise.
As soon as I saw Mrs. Moore's first name, I knew I was in for something, as I assumed that she'd been named in honor of the mythological Medea, who didn't take too kindly to Jason spurning her love. Up until the time we meet her, though, she was actually a submissive wife who kowtowed to her husband's orders on how the rich live, including that she couldn't work, lest it look like he wasn't providing for her, and that she couldn't have friends without his approval of the candidates. However, once she uncovered his secret, the mitts came off. She still pretended to be the fawning wife while she prepared to put her plan into motion, but the thoughts she had were hilarious and very similar to what I imagine I'd think in such a situation. One such gem was, "I hope you die in a plane crash, darling." I also really liked the line, "I give you class and sophistication, and you take this toddler nonsense over me?" Medeia eventually found out her husband's sick plan that would leave him free to be with Anna, and it increased her ire. When she wasn’t plotting or stalking trollop Anna, she was writing journal entries to her - hence the title of the book - which populated the book as short chapter commentaries. I absolutely adored following along with Medeia's thoughts as she processed things and went through every emotion known to woman. The author did a superb job in that arena, as I too felt like I was on a roller coaster of feelings.
John was sufficiently douchey, which made me wonder what Medeia ever saw in him, even with the flashbacks that showed him to be romantic and kind. Likewise, Anna could be the poster child for whoredom; I'll leave the details up to the reader to discover, but Anna's promiscuous ways were truly jaw dropping. Fortunately, Medeia did make a friend, so the story wasn't completely overrun with scum. Jane was funny and a solid rock for Medeia, and I'm glad that she had her in her time of need. There were a few other minor characters that had important roles, and I truly applaud Katie for not wasting space on anyone who wasn't really necessary.
As to the actual story, it hit the ground running, and I was glad to put on my track shoes and race alongside it. There were a lot of twists and turns while the disgruntled spouse settled on, then finalized, her plans. Dear Anna was so full of suspenseful moments that I had to keep checking my skin for holes because I was on pins and needles so much. In addition, just when I had recovered from one eye-opener, another revelation came along and knocked me down. I truly cannot say enough about this tome's ability to hold my attention, for it was the epitome of "unputdownable." I will note that I was not emotionally prepared for the ending, and I still feel like I haven’t fully processed it yet.
As much as I laud Ms. Blanchard for this story, I have to decry the editing of the book, for it didn't seem to be professionally done. There were a number of error types, ranging from punctuation missteps to missing and extra words to mistakes with homophones. There were also compound word issues in addition to gaffes with awkward phrasing, occasional inconsistencies, and a few unnecessary changes in verb tense.
Even though I feel that Dear Anna is an A+ story ("A" for "Anna!"), I am rating the tome 3 out of 4 stars because of the mechanical issues. However, the typographical problems do not dissuade me from recommending the yarn to fans of revenge tales (especially those involving wronged women) and readers who enjoy psychological thrillers. I do have to warn any would-be readers that there is some violence, including domestic; profanity; and sexual activity, so be wary if you have a weak constitution or don't like those things.
- Medeia Moore, Dear AnnaDear Anna...I want revenge. I want freedom. I want what I'm owed for ten years of marriage to that prick.
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