You Can’t Force Love, (Locked Heart Series, Book One), by Marie Drake
In Marie Drake’s, You Can’t Force Love, Locked Heart Series, Book One, the title is a true testament to the story and a good piece of advice for life. The book starts with Jordan’s story. A wayward teen with a list of hardships in his world, he struggles with a desire he can’t understand or control. Abandoned by his mother, who has recently remarried, Jordan struggles to make a life with his grandfather in a remote cottage in the country. His time with grandpa reveals that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Torn between the revelations of his own sexual desire and the anger and repulsion he feels, he grapples with trying to fit in and not upsetting the older man. When he loses his battle for control, things go awry, and Jordan finds himself in a new living situation.
Kimberly is shuffled around in her mother’s toxic world, dragged from one abusive boyfriend’s home to another. Trying to stay safe and afloat, with desires for normalcy, she finally allows herself to fall for the man her mother is sleeping with. When life is turned upside down for her drug addicted mother and the man they live with, Kimberly finds herself living in foster care with a nice family who truly worries about her, but is it too late?
When Jorden arrives at the same foster home, the reader has to think they know what will happen, but don’t be so sure. This heart twisted tale of two troubled teens on a road to destruction or redemption without a place in-between is filled with trauma and passions only a professional can understand.
I have a degree in social work, so I recognized the writer as someone who either lived a similar experience, knew others who had, and/or was probably a professional somewhere in the mental health system. I think it is great that she has a story to tell and she didn’t make it PC or PG. In, You Can’t Force Love, the characters are good and bad, but the author offers redemption at a price. Empathy for a murderer, charmed by an abuser, seduction for a girl who doesn’t know love. This story addresses serious issues that are realistic, heartbreaking, and make the reader want to understand the psyche of the character’s choices. I look forward to reading the next book in the series.