A hard won happy ever after is the reward for reading Photograph and it’s worth experiencing Tara’s growing pains. It’s not often a heroine is the one having to navigate territory that usually is a male’s purview.
Ms. Davenport had quite the challenge facing her when dealing with Tara. A reader is first introduced to the heroine when she is at her most uptight, obsessive, illogical, controlling and nasty as well as stubborn beyond belief. In short, she’s not likeable. Her internal dialogue gives a reader a clear indication of her obsession. It’s not healthy. Who can reach a person that mentally closed off?
Her sister, Azure. I loved the name Azure; it’s so pretty. Tara’s sister is the one who orchestrates an unusual scenario that forces their issues to break open. It’s clever, elaborate and effective. It’s not without its downside but I admit to being pleasantly surprised at one of the twists. In fact, once one of the dramatic and suspenseful incidents happened, the book exhibited a tighter handling of plot focus and intensity. It’s when this book started to shine and I found myself completely engaged and totally enjoying myself.
The style of writing in the first half of the novel is split between Tara’s point of view and Azure’s POV. A reader gets to understand why Azure pushes so hard and what demons plague Tara. In the early stages of the plot, the head hopping hurt my brain. The little snippets of going back in time to relive some moments that lead up the current situation between the two sisters, although commendable in their inclusion, made me want to facepalm – it broke up the flow of the story and it didn’t work for me.
One thing the head hopping and switches of POV accomplished was to help me understand that Tara’s imagination created a picture of a person that had no bearing on reality. The object of her obsession was revealed through Azure as being a person totally and completely unsuited to Tara’s personality, yet that person fits Azure like a glove. And that is also where I saw the slow change and dawning awareness in Tara that nothing was as she believed. She couldn’t handle it so she did what guys normally do which is another clue to her personality. After that moment, the crack in Tara’s shield started to spread and I got to see some amazing shifts as told through internal dialogue and the heroine’s own actions. And readers need to pay attention to her choice of words, they’re very telling. Once that started happening, I was able to see the evidence as to why Azure did not want to give up on Tara, why she pushed so hard and I started to see glimpses of what made their relationship so special before it all went to pot. Tara is redeemable and worth saving.
As for the sex, readers will get their fix. It doesn’t happen only for Tara, Azure gets some too. And believe it or not, sex is important in this tale which was a pleasant surprise. I’m serious too. Usually sex is about titillation or a celebration of a couple coming together in a romance. In Photograph sex is a barometer of emotion and discovery and a key component to Tara’s redemption and I truly got the biggest kick out of that. Way cool.
Initially, Photograph is a hard book to get into because of Tara’s personality and some of the issues I mentioned above. Stick with it because it’s so very worth it. The heroine’s character growth is significant and powerful, the drama and excitement that the author infused at certain key points in the story were well written and gripping and set fire to the plot movement. The growing attraction between Ryan and Tara was a complex love dance that ultimately culminated in a soon to be HEA. I won’t clarify that statement; a reader will have to find out for one’s self. The intimate encounters were varied and always well placed, not to mention delightfully hot. The happily ever after is intricate and substantial and it tied up some loose ends making it a wonderful way to end the story. It’s not a fairy tale ending; it’s the perfect ending for both Tara and Azure. If readers like character driven plots then this book fits the bill. If readers like challenging and strong female protagonists, then this is the novel to choose. Photograph has a lot to offer; pick up your own copy and see for yourself.
Editor's note: This article was originally published at Long and Short Reviews. It has been republished with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.