Review: Sinful Truths

Sinful Truths by Anne Mather
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I’ve read some silly HP plots in my time, but this one truly takes the cake, eats it whole, and shits it out for the world to enjoy. I read the whole thing in ninety minutes with my mouth half-hanging open, muttering to myself, “What the hell is this rubbish and why am I still reading it?” Talk about a wall-banger. If I could have reached in and strangled everyone in this book, I would have and probably would have been convicted of capital murder of five people and I wouldn’t have been sorry at all. They’d flip the switch on the electric chair and I’d yell “Worth it!” just before they fried my gleeful ass.

Let’s say you’re Jake McCabe and you’re a millionaire who runs on your own company and you bang hot models on the side and you’re famous enough that British rags write about it. Ten years ago, you found your beloved wife drunk and in bed with the guy you thought was your best friend and you loved her enough that you might have found it deep in yourself to forgive her, but then she tells you she’s pregnant and you refuse to believe it’s your baby because you’ve been married for three years and she’s just getting pregnant now?!? Never mind that she was on the Pill the whole time you were together because you both decided you weren’t ready to have kids, but maybe she’d missed a couple of time times because of the stress of you building up your business and your mother-in-law non-stop ragging on the both of you all the time. Let’s just say that she was already pregnant by the time you found her in bed with your supposed best friend, completely and uncharacteristically drunk, with no idea how she got in bed with him, nor could she logically retrace how she got into that situation. Do you give her a chance to explain or do you just walk out? Do you demand a paternity test or do you keep paying her spousal support, even though you think she is a liar and a cheater and doesn’t deserve jack-shit from you? That is the whole conceit of this book. The hero begrudges his estranged wife the pittance he sends her monthly, denying for eleven years that her daughter is biologically his, and doesn’t have the ballsack to tell her he’s getting ready to marry someone else, so he wants a divorce.

Which would be easier said than done if Isobelle’s situation weren’t completely pathetic. Jake McCabe thinks Isobelle and her daughter Emily should be quite comfortable with the money he gives them monthly, but he doesn’t know that Isobelle’s mother is dying, so she’s saddled with medical bills on top of the mortgage and the tuition fees for Emily’s school. Isobelle is running herself ragged just trying to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads, but now she has to worry about her daughter asking too many questions about what went wrong in her marriage and why Daddy doesn’t live with them. As if that’s not enough, her aristocrat mother is demanding to be taken back to the ramshackle estate where Isobelle grew up because that’s where she wants to die.

When Jake goes to Isobelle’s house to see her, he meets his daughter Emily, who calls him Daddy even though Jake denies he is the father and he tells her not to call him Daddy. When she dares to call him on his dating habits, he calls this ten-year-old girl a “little bitch” and says, “How dare you call me a womanizer!” But that’s exactly what Jake has been doing for the last decade, never mind that Isobelle was OBVIOUSLY framed and never cheated on him. Now he’s got demanding girlfriend named Marcie who hates that he’s still involved with his ex-wife and the ten-year-old daughter that Jake keeps denying is his. His friend Shane tells him to get a paternity test, so he can end this bullshit with Isobelle and just marry Marcie, if that’s what he really wants, but it doesn’t even occur to him. Not once in this entire book does he ask Isobelle for a paternity test to settle this Emily thing once and for all so he can move with his life.

It’s because he doesn’t want to. He says he loves Marcie and wants to marry her, but he still thinks about Isobelle all the time and worries about what’s going on with her. Mind you, he didn’t even know that Isobelle’s mother was in a bad way, so it’s obvious that at the beginning of the novel that there is very little communication going on between him and Isobelle, except for arguing about money and probably Isobelle harping on him to face up to his responsibilities as a father. He doesn’t even really encounter Emily until he goes over to Isobelle’s house with the express intention of telling her he’s marrying Marcie, so he wants a divorce, but instead he ends up spending a couple of hours playing video games with a girl he insists is not his daughter, because Isobelle was at the hospital with her dying mother. All of a sudden, Emily is showing up at his office, announcing to one and all that she is his daughter and though he initially suspects Isobelle of putting her daughter up to it in order to manipulate him, he decides that Isobelle didn’t know that Emily was going to show up at his office, having taken the bus there from her school. Jake admits to himself that Isobelle is going through a lot and she really could use the help, so he starts showing up and lending a hand here and there. After all, he couldn’t exactly allow her to move up to Yorkshire with her young daughter and ailing mother to live in a ramshackle estate, without lifting a hand to help them, right? What kind of bastard would he be, otherwise?

What about the kind of bastard who wouldn’t just sit down and listen to his soon-to-be ex-wife’s explanations that she never slept with anyone else and she never cheated on him and has suffered the last eleven years on her own, raising his daughter without any help from him? Seriously, this guy is in charge of a multi-million dollar company? I really couldn’t understand the logic of Jake McCabe. If he hated Isobelle so much because she supposedly betrayed him and he’d spent the last ten years drinking and banging models, why was he bothering to hang around her? Why has he been giving his mother-in-law money in order to sustain her estate, even though he knew she hated his guts and didn’t want him to marry Isobelle in the first place?

The answer of course, is DUH, he loves her and couldn’t cut off communications with her, but let’s think about this: EMILY IS ALMOST ELEVEN and Jake has been away from her and Isobelle for that long, thinking all this time that Isobelle was a cheating whore who ruined their marriage. But he could have just settled that with a paternity test. That was why I laughed out loud when Jake finally discovered the truth and Isobelle just… up and dumped him. She took his Porsche and zoomed off, leaving him with Emily, his mother-in-law, and the ramshackle estate. FOR THREE WEEKS. Hilarious!!

Isobelle, for her sins, has the patience of a saint. With a domineering mother, an all-too-precocious child, and her ex-husband hounding her left and right, she managed to keep it together without snapping and going Lizzie Borden on the whole lot of them. Talk about a martyr. Seriously, LADY, why would you take Jake McCabe back? Sure, he’s handsome, wealthy, the father of your child, the love of your life, and all of that… but THIS GUY ABANDONED YOU WHEN YOU WERE PREGNANT AND WAS BASICALLY BANGING HOT CHICKS FOR A DECADE while you barely scraped by with your daughter, who is his biological responsibility, by the way! I don’t think I could have forgiven the guy. But that’s Reason #426 that I’m not a Harlequin Presents Romance heroine and Isobelle, at the end of the day, is still married to Jake McCabe and not behind bars for murdering his stubborn, hard-headed ass.

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