Review: Monster Among the Roses by Linda Kage

Reviewed by Shelly

Shaw Hollander and Isobel Nash are a fairy tale made for a happily ever after. I’ve been a fan of Linda Kage for a while now. She’s one of a handful of authors from whom I’ll read YA/NA stories from. Her ‘Forbidden Men’ series is quite good. But I’ll admit that A Fallow Heart is one of my favorite stories – ever.

Told from the hero’s POV, Monster Among the Roses was a refreshing change from the everyday retelling of the Beauty and the Beast tale. It’s actually a whole lot better than the recent movie with the same name that I couldn’t even get 1/2 way through. Shaw and Isobel are imperfect but they’re perfect for each other. Kage makes you believe that even with all of their faults – from the physical to the emotional – these two couldn’t find this level of happiness with anyone else.

Isobel’s father, Henry, is a man whose goal is to make his Izzy live again. Eight years ago, Izzy, her mom, Annalise, and Mrs. Pan’s (the Nash family cook) husband were involved in a fire. The fire not only took the lives of Annalise and Mr. Pan, it almost took Izzy. Since then Izzy’s life has become very isolated. She’s kept herself away from most things public and her ventures out of the home have only been to go for doctors appointments and surgical procedures. She’s lonely but won’t admit it.

Henry Nash in all his father-wisdom tries his best to get Izzy to interact with someone… anyone, even if he has to pay them. Shaw’s between a rock and a hard place. He’s out of options in getting money to pay for his mother’s debts. His last option is to go to his mother biggest lender and plead his case. Henry Nash takes Shaw up on his proposal. Shaw will do whatever job(s) Mr. Nash requires of him in exchange for forgiveness on his mother’s loan. Shaw’s job is Isobel.

I though the idea of Shaw’s quick admission to Isobel about the deal he struck with her father was perfect. It allowed trust to build between Shaw and Isobel rather quickly and we, the audience, didn’t have to worry about that rearing its ugly head to be used as a ‘oh, my goodness I can’t trust you’ moment.

Because this is in Shaw’s only POV, I really enjoyed the story from the ‘male’ beauty. A couple of the lines were cheesy and too descriptive, to come from a guy, I thought but Kage has a knack for keeping her heroes true to form. Shaw’s life pretty much sucks but he’s a good son who, if he could, would move heaven and earth to make his mom happy. As he’s a loyal person when it comes to those he loves, once his friendship with Isobel grows she becomes a reason for him to be a good man.

Isobel is a tortured soul. Her feelings of guilt haven’t left her as yet. It might not ever do but even after seven/eight years she’s still in a place where her guilt is burdensome and prevents her from living. It’s not until Shaw’s friendship and conversations allow her to see another side of the tragedy, from the fire, and she’s able to let go of some of her guilt. Then there’re the burn scars from the fire. They’re bad. Isobel is rightfully self conscious because people are mean. They tend to ‘loud’ whisper about appearances such as hers. There’re a couple of scenes where Kage paints a bright picture. Very bright. But Shaw grows to see past the scars and what he sees is a beautiful soul. I would tell you more but I don’t want to spoil it.

Was there anything about this I didn’t like? Sure there was. Was there anything about this I did like? Yes! A lot more to like than not. The supporting cast was great – fun, sweet, mean, absolutely reprehensible, and each had their role to keep the pace going. Especially Kit and Ezra. The chemistry between Isobel and Shaw was *fingers to lips* – bellisimo. Even if I could I wouldn’t change anything about this because for the last 20% my eyes were sweating – a lot.

Happy reading folks!

Rating: B+/A-

*Book provided by author

Click to purchase: Amazon

Monster Among the Roses
by Linda Kage
Release Date: July 25, 2017

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