Bone Deep by Bonnie Dee had a couple of things going for it that drew me to the story 1) the post-WWII period and 2) featured a tortured hero. Unfortunately, the author didn’t quite pull this story off for me for several reasons which shall be discussed later.
Here is the synopsis:
In the fall of 1946, grieving war widow Sarah goes to the carnival with her friends and is riveted by the tattooed man in the freak show, sporting head to toe body art. Later she discovers him hiding in her hayloft, escaped from virtual imprisonment since childhood by the carnival’s evil owner. She shelters him on her farm, fighting a powerful sexual attraction while learning about his mysterious past and gentle nature.
Tom is a sympathetic character. His abuse is written all over his skin; from head to toe. The chemistry between them was never really established for me despite their connection. I kept picturing Tom as this wounded soul who needed some serious therapy. Thus lies one of the biggest problems for me that hindered my total enjoyment of this book.
As I was reading this story, I kinda knew how things would eventually fall into place. The sexual relationship, the towns people and their bigotry and general acceptance of him at the end. I guess my problem is that not all hurts can be healed with love alone. Tom had been abused since he was a child and carnival life was all he knew. So while I did read almost half the story; I read/skim the rest.
I did read Bam’s review (great review that would have sold me too) and it’s interesting how each of us came away from the story and viewed the relationship between Sarah and Tom differently. I did have a problem with Sarah being the protector, the lover, the mother, the teacher. You can’t heal someone completely by giving them shelter and love. It can be the start of the healing process but Tom was just too damaged for me to believe that his life prior to Sarah would be easy to forget and wouldn’t impede on their journey to happiness.
Sarah is self-resilient and self-sufficient. She runs the farm, she changes her own oil, tries to learn how to fix her own plumbing. I liked Sarah. She did come off to me as being a little too needy. However, Tom was damaged and naive. He could have easily been taken advantaged of but he wasn’t. Here lies another problem in that there wasn’t an even balance to this relationship. Ah, such is life.
Anyway, the writing was fine. Characterization was pretty decent. I did like the author’s style/voice so I wouldn’t mind reading more of her work. However, this book just didn’t work for me. It wasn’t bad or anything. I just couldn’t separate fiction from reality in dealing with this type of story and I don’t like reading about people being ostracized. I can see many readers probably enjoying this story but I can’t recommend it.