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Posted February 22, 2014
I made a conscious decision a while back not to write any more reviews. I felt like it would be unfair to share my opinion as a reader when in the back of my mind I am also a writer. Nia Forrester just yanked me out of retirement.
I, like many others, checked Amazon for this release every single day. Ms. Forrester shared excerpts of Wife on her website, but the words could have led this story in any direction… so I waited for the entire story. Anxiously.
Here’s why… I loved Keisha after reading about her in Mistress. Please note: I couldn’t stand the girl when she was in Commitment… you have to be some kind of extra to like who she was back then. I guess I should explain that the Mistress trilogy (Mistress, Wife, and yet-to-be-released Mother) fast-forwards us several years into the life of a young woman that once falsely accused a celebrity of rape in another novel (Commitment).
Last night when I read Wife, I watched this woman-child grow a little more and I understood why Ms. Forrester decided to shine a spotlight on the character so many readers hated (more like despised… I mean hate mail inspired loathing). Ms. Forrester doesn’t want to simply redeem a flawed character, she wants to show us that no matter what mistakes people make – big or small – life must go on. Keisha in Wife is older (sort of) and trying to become wiser in all aspects of her life – career, finances, family and even love. She has also forgiven herself, but there are still remnants of her past lingering.
I feel like the scarlet letter branded on Keisha’s chest in Commitment was a part of who she allowed herself to be off stage until we happened to meet up with her again in Mistress. That’s when the color started to fade as we got to know Keisha a little more. It probably helped me see other related novels taking place after Commitment. Although Keisha’s character is not part of Unsuitable Men, Maybe Never and Afterwards, these novels all showed the progression of characters Keisha affected through her immature, spiteful, selfish and adolescent behavior in their own stories. Those characters weren’t pining away because of a girl’s false accusation that shook their lives off course. If anything, the event was the catalyst to make those characters stronger when they moved on and let it go.
This trilogy is now the other side of the coin, the moving on moment for Keisha. And now Keisha has far greater issues to face than something that happened between her and Shawn. Keisha has to reconcile with an emotion she never felt before and one she longs to feel from others.
Ironically in Mistress, Keisha meets Jayson, a man that was falsely imprisoned for a crime he did not commit. Their pairing grabbed my attention because there was so much depth to it. Jayson wasn’t the only one adapting to life after a ten-year stint in prison. Keisha was forced to face her own incarceration demons – the not so luxe life and emotional confinement from being a kept woman. Together, Jayson and Keisha learned to accept their pasts. They no longer allowed what once was to define them and a friendship of sorts between the two ensued.
At the end of Mistress I didn’t know what to expect from Wife, because just as Ms. Forrester’s stories are unpredictable, so is Keisha. Within the first few pages of Wife, I did realize that Keisha was still very immature. I started doing the math in my head and noticed the events/decisions of her past were not those of a grown woman, but a child masquerading as an adult. Then it all started to make even more sense and I became invested in seeing this young woman find her way.
But age isn’t a deciding factor to rank maturity in this one. Jayson is in his early thirties. Where he appeared mature in some ways, he showed very little experience and sensibility in others. He was not ashamed to acknowledge that, but it was enough to demonstrate why Jayson was reserved about having more with Keisha. Keisha feeling the need to open up was the only good to come from Jayson’s mistakes.
That’s what made their friendship/relationship worth reading about. I could tell Jayson really wanted to get it right. I also felt anxious right along with Keisha. I thought on a few occasions they were ready too… Ms. Forrester is that good where she keeps the reader believing until those little things are finally recognized. Then you realize the author had been showing us even more than we wanted to see all along – just like people do in real life.
Do they find their way home together? I refuse to say. But the steps kept me intrigued along the way.
Jayson and Keisha weren’t alone in this dance on paper. Ms. Forrester tossed in a few wild cards, including Fiona (Jayson’s old classmate) and Marcus (Keisha’s hot neighbor). I will not share my opinion of Fiona, but I will say that I liked Marcus. I didn’t at first, but he grew on me. Marcus voiced what I was thinking, the little things I observed that Keisha was too young to see. Where I always wondered Marcus’s intentions for sharing his thoughts, I still appreciated the voice of reason.
I wanted to like Chloe because she was… well family. You always want there to be at least one good, solid family in a book. Chloe continues to struggle with wanting a relationship with her idea of what her brother should be instead of the man Jayson really is. Chloe represents those women that want to change a man and pretend the bad never existed. I appreciated how the author navigated the relationship between Jayson and Chloe. It felt like a real struggle anyone could easily face.
Now… why just 4.50 stars instead of five? Probably because no other Nia Forrester book can outshine Afterwards. Yeah, I'm woman enough to admit that one left bias in its trail. But seriously I struggle with the deduction in points, believe me I do. My only issue is not with the story… it’s something the couple does. More specifically, it’s the angry sex. A couple of times, Jayson would engage in this aggressive, punishment act and it felt like his quiet smug reminder that Keisha was a whore no matter how long she kept her legs closed to other men. I could forgive him for his slips with Fiona (not confirming nor denying that these are sex-based slip ups), because those were well timed and made sense. However, the punishment sex chipped away at my feelings for him. It made me see more of the dysfunction between Jayson and Keisha as a couple. It also showed me how much Jayson struggles with managing his own emotions. We witnessed Keisha’s mismanagement through her impulsive behavior and outbursts, but this gave us a glimpse at something beneath the surface in Jayson and I did not want that for Keisha. Wife confirmed what Mistress hinted… I now care about her.
I think Ms. Forrester did a superb job of making this title stand by itself in this trilogy, but left enough to keep me anxious for the final installment in the trilogy - Mother. It also reminds us that "every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future." Great job once again, Nia Forrester! This one demonstrates yet again why you are one of my favorite modern-day storytellers.
Posted February 27, 2014
No text was provided for this review.