Monday, August 22, 2016

Book Review for The Anatomy of Jane by Amelia LeFay

I’ve always been on my own. My life used to consist of nothing but work, keeping Allen out of trouble, and if I had time, sleep. Then I became their maid.
Every day more than half a million people tune in to watch my show. They trust me. I know it’s because I’m the only son of the prominent Emerson family. However, I like to believe it because I’m honest no matter what story I report on. I’m honest about everything but the man I’ve been f**king for the last four years… and now her.
First I want three things: First Maxwell Emerson and Jane Chapman both in my bed. Second, to be the best bloody chef in the country. Third, to figure out how to simultaneously get the first and second things I want without any of us getting hurt.


From the moment I read the synopsis for this book I found myself captivated by its emotionally intense and compelling storyline.  With the interactions of its three main characters, each with unique and memorable personalities, it's a storyline seeped in eroticism and dealing with societal judgments and familial pressures.  It's a quick read, super steamy with elements of bdsm, but hampered by numerous typos and missing and misspelled words which I normally wouldn't comment on but it made for difficult reading at times and I hope it will be addressed.  Despite this, it's a read that consumed me and had me voraciously turning the pages.

Jane Chapman's a strong-willed woman who started off life as a drug addicted baby found abandoned and who grew up in the foster care system.  It hardened her a bit, dimmed her smile, and left her doubtful of HEA.  It also left her with very few people to count on.  The only "family" she has is Allen, another foster care survivor, who owns the strip club she helps manage along with ex-stripper Mary who now owns a maid service.  Jane's an immensely likable character, hard working, champion of those who are weaker or who are judged by society. She's very kind hearted too which leads to problems when Allen accepts money from the wrong people who attack Jane to get repayed.  The only safe place she can think of going to is the home of wealthy newsman Max and his partner of four years, Chef Wesley.  Their relationship started off as strictly business but slowly morphed into more as pressure from Max's mother led to him proposing to Jane.  Spending more time with the both of them leads to decadent delights and happiness she's always denied herself, but it also leads to heartache as outside forces conspire to pull apart the foundation that Max and Wes have built over the last four years.  She only feels fulfilled when they're a trio which has her fighting to have Wes acknowledged when Max needs them the most and had me cheering for her spunky attitude throughout the story to make each member of their relationship feel important.

Maxwell Emerson came from a family of money but it's a family hiding behind a facade.  With a mother more concerned with appearances than affection and a father who constantly cheats on his wife and hides his crimes behind his name, Max is left lonely.  When finding love with another young man as a teen led to tragedy, Max realized he would have to hide his desires as his family wouldn't allow him to live the truth.  Meeting Wes four years ago was instantaneously combustible though and made living a lie worthwhile as he couldn't live without him.  Since then Max has been juggling being a popular and mysterious newsman with no time for dating with hidden and sexually intense moments at home with Wes.  Max is a difficult man to like sometimes as he's a bit cold, courtesy of his upbringing, and a bit tactless.  He doesn't censor himself easily which makes him appear uncaring and makes his rare romantic comments more valuable and makes him endearing...if exasperating.  Meeting Jane shows him another side of life as he's never had to work as hard as her, never had to struggle to make ends meet and it softens him a bit.  He's not attracted to her at first but the dynamic she adds to his and Wes' relationship draws him ever closer to her and leads to his unexpected proposal that changes their lives forever.

Wesley Uhler is the perfect balance between Jane's sweetness and Max's coldness.  He's immensely appealing with a sexy and commanding side that has him frequently taking the lead in this menage that ends with scorching results. He may be wealthy now but came from an unconventional family of having two moms which led to bullying and the desire to find his place in the world.  His brother's death, and a rainy night, became the catalyst to him becoming a world-renowned chef and that fateful first glance at Max that keeps him content to remain a secret.  Wes is a bit cocky and arrogant, easily dominant yet playful, but I loved him.  It's clear he loves Max too, is willing to be his dirty little secret, but it's becoming harder with each sweet gesture Max does leaving Wes wanting a bit more.  Wes is immediately drawn to Jane and she's the only other person besides Max to make his heart race and think of the future.  Their connection is crackling and quick to form but being the third wheel in a public relationship leads to harsh words and regrettable actions that put everyone through the emotional wringer.

This was a quick and erotically-charged read full of scorching encounters and a few predictable moments.  Jane's a wonderful heroine with a heart of gold who comes to everyone's aid and is often the mediator in Wes and Max's increasingly complicated relationship.  Wes and Max have a sizzling and supportive connection that works beautifully, if outside forces would stop trying to break them apart, and it's made even better by the addition of Jane.  The issues battering at this unconventional relationship come from familial and societal prejudices and are vividly, and a bit melodramatically, depicted to keep readers on edge and HEA in doubt.  Along with compelling main characters comes a small and equally entertaining cast of secondary characters, the most memorable being rich girl Irene who's trying to regain her place in society after a past indiscretion.  As the first installment in the WJM series the author's laid some compelling groundwork for the next book.  Readers who hate cliffhangers will be compelled to throw their book after a tragic event tests these three lovers and leaves two of them with lives forever altered.  After tearing this trio down, leaving readers frustrated and on edge, here's to what comes next as these three characters deserve a HEA after this emotionally intense beginning.

My rating for this is a B.

*I got this book from NetGalley for review in exchange for my honest opinion.

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