Fear of Heights

Fear of Heights - Mara White “I keep turning rebellion into reality. Then I wake up, lost, standing in the middle of the mess, clueless as to how to proceed.”

I would say that pretty much sums Kate, and this book up: lost into the middle of a mess, clueless as to how to proceed.

This is not the conclusion to a happy little love story. However if you've just finished reading Heights of Desire, it is a completely necessary installment.

Unfortunately, through most of this book, I wanted to strangle Kate. Has there ever been a heroine so completely inept at making good decisions?

First off, Jaylee is in jail for the majority of this book, so it’s not the tale of Kate and Jaylee round two. If that is what you are looking for, you’re going to be disappointed. As for me I didn’t know what to expect, so I went in with an open mind.

Until about 35% I had no idea where White was going with her story. Kate is totally off the rails at the start of book two. Jaylee is gone, Kate has charges pending against her for her involvement in the drug bust, and Robert is forcing her to choose between getting Jaylee out of jail and staying with him and keeping her baby, but him refusing to help Jaylee. She’s in a total crap position. And, as we quickly learn, if we didn’t already know from book 1, when backed into a corner Kate makes Really Bad Decisions. The first of which in this book is jetting off to the DR with Jaylee’s sister Janinie for a beach getaway, so she can ponder the mess she’s made of her life.

Their adventure does not go to plan. Drugs and gangs get involved. Bad things happen to Kate and to Janinie. When they finally get back to the US, Kate just keeps on going. She’s confused. She’s conflicted. She wants to help Jaylee and get him out of jail by not upsetting Robert further. She loves Jaylee, but she can’t help but sleep with another random Dominican street-thug—Jaylee’s arch-rival, Ideal—in a fit of grief.

At this point I got angry. I wasn’t even sure that I liked Jaylee in the last book. I understood him and I thought that White’s characterization was great, but I wasn’t 100% sold on him as a hero. But the way Kate treats her and Jaylee’s “love” in this book—I felt sorry for Jaylee, he gets a raw deal. He’s stuck in jail while Kate screws around on him and he gets the repercussions of her actions effecting him all the way inside.

Funnily enough, as I was super angry with Kate, I also understood why she was compelled to go looking for comfort in another man’s arms. White is a very good author. Her writing excellent and she cuts down to the heart of the emotion without being over-written or maudlin. Kate is rough edges and raw emotion and her actions though misguided in the extreme, make sense.

“I know all too well how infatuation makes you fall for everything around you. My love for Jaylee created enough overflow and runoff for me to fall newly in love with my husband. That was a mistake.

My heart belongs to Jaylee, but there is bounty in this lovemaking that gives a sweet compassion toward the world. I came to Ideal longing for escape through his touch. Instead, I’ve found meaning in his dusty apartment. In his well-worn bed that could use a change of sheets. In this unexpected lover, who can soothe everything that stings.”

However, Kate’s inner thoughts are straight up confusing at times. I know she is conflicted, but she waffles constantly. There is one particular instance when she has just : discovered that the Jaylee knew that Robert was the lawyer that got his father life in prison and everything has just become clear for both Kate and the reader. At that point Kate doesn’t know if her whole relationship with Jaylee is based only on his need for payback, or if he truly cares about her. One minute she is sure he was just using her. The next she feels like she has to protect him no matter what. The next she can’t live without him. Then back to her thinking he is using her. The thoughts felt authentic, but they were also jarring for the reader and confused the line of the narrative.

The shame-affair between Kate and Ideal while Jaylee is still in the big house rankles at first. And he helps her, it a lot of ways. I wanted to hate Ideal, because I felt that liking him would be disloyal to Jaylee, but I couldn’t help but love him. He’s Jaylee’s opposite: fun and carefree, affectionate and sweet. The little interlude between Kate and Ideal is a sort of burst of fresh-air in the middle of the wreckage of Kate’s life. The most poignant moments in the book are when the two of them are together.

So why such a high rating if this book bothered me in so many ways? Much like its’ predecessor this book made me feel a lot of things. It made me want desperately to know what was going to happen and I couldn’t stop reading. So it is not a perfect book, but it is well-written and provides closure for a compelling story.

I was dissatisfied with the ending. It is bittersweet and certainly not what you would call an HEA, but that wasn’t my problem. Mostly it bothered me because of what Kate doesn’t do, which is take charge of her life. I don’t mind when my books don’t have a happy ending, but I do mind when the characters don’t make choices at the end of a book that show they have truly grown as characters. For me, Kate staying with Robert, even though she felt as though that was the only way to keep her children, was a cop out. She should have filed for divorce and gotten joint custody. She and Robert were done. They didn’t even like each other by the end. We didn’t need an HEA with Kate and Jaylee for Kate to have shown the growth to stand her ground and become truly independent.

Note: This book was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.