You know the often quoted saying, especially in movies, where people say that a follow-up or sequel can never match the original?
That's true. But authors wouldn't write a follow up unless they could beat it. In Mine 2, I believe author J. Kahele has achieved this improbable feat.
Mine 1 was a brutal read, about a woman suffering severe emotional and physical abuse at the hands of her Senator husband, Ben Kramer.
Jenna Kramer is a character I could feel great sympathy for. A common riposte from people about women who stay with the men who hit them is 'why doesn't she leave him?'
And whilst I agree with that, unless I was in the horrific situation Jenna finds herself in, how could I know what I would say, how I would react, what would I do?
It's clear Ben Kramer is a brutal man with few, if any, redeeming qualities. Does this make him sound one-dimensional? No, because if he was, you could predict his next move. You can't. This is masterful story telling.
That said, like Mine 1, this is not an easy read. It is not a book to make you smile. It is not for the faint of heart, because the violence is graphic, very hard-hitting, and relentless.
With so many horrors happening in the world, why read this book?
Well..if you want an utterly compelling story with a thrilling narrative and a woman who you really feel for and want her to come through this....read Mine, then read Mine 2.
The antagonist, Ben Kramer, doesn't love Jenna. He controls her. As I reviewed in Mine 1, she cannot even wear blue jeans because it displeases Ben.
And when Ben is displeased, boy, does he show it.
Fortunately, Jenna is not alone, and she has a new love, Andrew Carington, who really does love Jenna, but when I was reading some of his actions, I found myself shocked.
Can I, as a male, tell you honestly that a woman I have been in love with has never annoyed me, to the point that her words and actions have enraged me?
Of course I cannot say that. But I can say that my discipline means there is a line I would not cross. But there are many men that do, and the women on the end of their cruelty stay with them.
I have taught women martial arts who have previously suffered from abuse from men in their lives. I have heard real horror stories from them, the details of which turned my stomach and made me ashamed that I was the same gender as these torturers.
There is no circumstance in which a man should hit a woman. I don't care what it is. There is nothing that can justify that.
With reference to the book, this is a book everyone should read and they will enjoy it. The author, J. Kahele, is a truly talented writer and I believe she is going to go far.
Here is a lady author who has not gone down the route of 'sex for sex' sake' in her writing. That may be the hot topic right now, but for my own part, I want to read intelligent writing. And it is here in abundance.
Does Jenna find happiness? Is Andrew the answer? Does Ben mend his ways and win Jenna back, or does he get his comeuppance?
The last line of Mine 2 is automatically one of my all-time favourites!
So many haunting lines that just hit you where it hurts, such as:-
"Abusers are not merely low-paid, uneducated alcoholics, like society would like us to believe. They are from all different positions in society; an abuser can be just about anyone, from a factory worker to a senator."
All true. Wearing a suit does not necessarily make me more civilised!
The answers to the questions above are within this fantastic book, arguably my favourite book of 2014. This is such a hard thing to say, amongst so many great titles, but I love this book. I felt all of Jenna's pain, all of Andrew's rage, and I understood his position too (for the most part!) - and I could not stop reading.
The last book I read this fast was the superlative Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. That's how good this is.
Take a bow, J. Kahele. You have won a new fan.