Review: Healing the Wounds by M.Q. Barber

healing the woundsReviewed by Shelly

I miss Henry, Alice and Jay already. This is by far the best in the Neighborly Affection series – there was nothing else I could ask for. It’s unquestionably going into the re-read pile so maybe after I read it a few more times, the traumatic (yes, I said it) separation anxiety that I’m having will somehow subside. Dear readers, if you’ve not read any of the others in the series I can’t express to you how much I think that you should. You’re missing Barber’s fresh take on the dynamics of creating and maintaining a triad relationship. Keep in mind that this isn’t a stand-alone and if you’re not familiar with Henry, Alice and Jay’s history you’re most likely going to become frustrated and I do not want that, so go get the first 2 in the series.

Barber outdid herself with this one. The writing is by far some of the best I’ve read and I’m not talking about just in this genre. I was completely caught up the lives of these three; I was sucked in within the first chapter. The dialogue was plenty and that’s always good because it brings us out of the mind of whose POV we’re getting and lets the reader get a better touch and feel for the others. We all know story arcs where the main character(s) can get – redundant, sluggish, and even formulaic. And don’t get me wrong, I had my doubts because the direction of Book 2 didn’t suggest to me that this story could remain different from other stories I’ve read in the past. I’m thrilled I was wrong.

Henry, Alice and Jay were well represented; we get a lot of background on them – mainly Jay and Henry, as we’re pretty familiar with Alice’s from the prior books. Picking up directly after the last book, the triad is trying to deal with the fallout from Alice’s first visit to the BDSM club that Henry and Jay frequent. Cal and his cruelty are proving to be difficult for both Alice and Jay to manage and it’s up to Henry to figure out how to get his subs back on the road to recovery.

One of the things that made a lot of sense to me and I was happy to see was the way that Henry handled that situation. He doesn’t jump right back into the Dom/sub thing because he’s not in this for the short haul. Henry’s in it to win it and I loved that Barber chose the uncommon response and not have us be privy to a gazillion sex scenes and brush everything under the rug with a spanking and the horizontal (or vertical) mambo. Thank you! These three talked, cried, and hashed out how they were going to move on – you know, like a in a real relationship. We even get to see them forming relationship outside of their own – that was actually pretty interesting because, as the new kid on the block, Alice has some adjusting to do because Henry’s closest friends are part of the BDSM community. I enjoyed learning the dynamics of how that would work: Is Alice supposed to just suck it up and accept these people or does she still have free will when it comes to the inner workings of the triad?

And then there’s Jay. He’s never going to get old – at least not mentally. I think of Jay as the innocence in both Henry and Alice. They’re completely and totally heads over heels for this person who in all essence shouldn’t have a place in that relationship but without Jay those other two couldn’t be together either; you can’t have two people that headstrong coexisting peacefully. There must be balance somewhere and Jay continues to bring out the best in both Alice and Jay.

Henry’s past comes up frequently because Alice just will not stop asking questions (I loved her for that) and we get not just glimpses but whole chapters of Henry’s life prior to either Jay or Alice. A lot of the way Henry presents himself in that almost old-fashioned speech is explained. Like I said earlier – a lot is revealed about him. I’ll say no more about that.

Even without car chases, bullets flying, men with six-packs (I’m not talking about you Jay) and all the other distracting plot directions, I was firmly riveted to these three – I read this in one sitting. The pace was quick; the sex was good. Jay, Henry and Alice were still very likable, and the secondary characters helped make the reading fun. Now, I will gladly plea for more in the series. Well done, Barber!

Happy Reading Folks!

Rating: A+

*ARC provided by author

Click to purchase: Amazon

Want to go back to the beginning? Read Shelly’s review of book 1 in the series:
Playing the Game

Healing the Wound
by MQ Baber
Release Date: June 2, 2014
Publisher: Lyrical Press

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