5 Star Review: Cruel Water (Portland ME, #2) by Freya Barker

Thursday, 11 February 2016
Cruel Water (Portland ME, #2)Cruel Water by Freya Barker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a breathtaking story of a damaged heroine supported by an strong man who is still recovering from his own emotional wounds. It takes you on journey towards happiness, forgiveness and above all a hope for a future lived free of a painful past.

I really enjoyed Freya’s writing style and storytelling in From Dust and couldn’t wait to read Cruel Waters. Set around The Skipper once again but this time telling Viv’s story and her “silver-eyed” stranger.


Viv’s story was as gruelling to experience as Syd’s and in some ways, more emotive. Her past was hinted at in From Dust, as well as her connection to Pam and Florence House, but after reading this story, in harrowing detail, we see Viv as a person outwardly strong but inwardly brittle, almost to the point of fracturing. Thankfully though, the stranger who she forms a bond with after a one night stand is on hand to offer her support and guidance. Ike is also living with a painful memory but is able to offer what remains of himself to Viv, unreservedly.

With two contrasting but equally painful backgrounds, Viv and Ike try to build a relationship together but with Viv almost at the point of no return, emotionally and physically, Ike and Pam can only hope that she pulls back before it’s too late.

I found this story quite draining to read. I didn’t cry but it still left me reeling. Viv’s family and their treatment of her was particularly brutal but at the same time I understood their confusion given that their world had been turned upside down by the events in their past that they were, outwardly, unaware of. Dorian’s character and story was a sweet add on but even he unwittingly hurt Viv after the way his family reacted to his own shocking announcement.

Ike was a special man throughout this story, despite carrying loss on his broad shoulders. He saw something in Viv which was immediately apparent and readers will definitely physically feel his connection to her. He was able to relate to the pain Viv was experiencing without reacting in a negative way. For me he was the perfect hero to complement Viv’s heroism.

I highly recommend these books to readers who love to read about emotive subjects. They are captivating and rewarding but most of all, they really demonstrate hope through strength in the eyes of adversity.

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1T7tedP
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1LohY4D

Personal recommendation: Fans of Sawyer Bennett's Off Series will love this new series by Freya Barker.

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