THORNS AND ROSES
BlurbIfeoma and her sisters escaped an emotionally abusive father to start a new life in Lagos. She is determined to never let another man have control over her, even if that means never falling in love. That is until she meets Chuma, a wealthy and domineering man who is exactly the kind of man she is determined to stay away from but somehow can’t seem to keep away from. An unlikely relationship develops, taking them from joy to a devastating loss and finally to betrayal. Ifeoma must decide, but she is torn between her painful past and a chance at a future with Chuma… Chuma is a cutthroat obsessive financial mogul whose sole purpose in life is to make his family name great. And he is determined to let nothing distract him from achieving his goal. But when he meets Ifeoma, an elusive, hardworking chef, he finds himself irresistibly drawn to her. They embark on a turbulent journey of friendship and love, which is eventually shattered by tragedy. Chuma wants to heal the rift that has grown between them and will go to any lengths to do so. However, he encounters secrets from her past...
Thorns and Roses is two stories in one; the first part introduces us to the heroine, Ifeoma (Iffy), and the hero, Chuma, in a Cinderella-ish themed story. Iffy comes from a poor and troubled background to start a new life in a big city with her sisters. Coming from a culture where sons are valued more than daughters, Iffy and her sisters have always grown up being reminded they are not good enough. Life's hardships have enabled Iffy to become a strong, independent woman, but no one survives such issues without a few scars and Iffy is no different. Chuma on the other hand comes from a wealthy family and has always had a life of privilege. They meet at Iffy's restaurant and attraction brews between them. Chuma's uncompromising nature helps him to draw Iffy out of her shell and accept herself and love. A couple of scenes got me teary-eyed. This part ends with a the couple getting married.
The second part of the story, jumps five years into the future at a time where a tragic event and past demons have brought the couple to the verge of divorce. This part sees Iffy having to confront her past in order to move forward with her life, and Chuma having to swallow the humble pill as he tries hard to win his wife's heart back.
I enjoyed the story in general. Iffy and Chuma are well-matched in personality and their romance is spicy. The story takes place in Nigeria, and I feel it is true to the African culture, highlighting both the positive and negative in a realistic way.
My biggest problem with the story was getting the HEA about halfway through the story, and then turning the page and finding myself five years in the future. I felt like I had to trudge through backstories just to get to the real end of the story, and this took away all the magic from the beginning. I would have enjoyed the story a lot more if the author had found a way of working the heavy-duty post-HEA stuff into the pre-HEA part. I get that some of the issues may have had to be cut out in my proposed scenario, but IMO the tension is always higher when the hero and heroine aren't already married and either party can just walk away from the relationship.
I give 3.5 out of 5 stars!