Reviewed by me for Reader’s Favorite.
The Annealing of Aliza Bennett is the most accurate title for this romantic tale of the author, Emma Hartley. Aliza Bennett had a troubled childhood and a horrible experience with her abusive ex-boyfriend. To say that both these factor scarred her would not be an exaggeration. Her heart suffered deeply, and, as a result, she built huge walls around her heart. She didn’t even know how much of a terrible hold her past still had on her. That’s why, when Jesse Black entered into her life with an open expression of his affection towards her, she remained unmoved. Her trust issues ensured that she would stay far away from experiencing what a real love feels like. Aliza Bennett and Jesse Black met for the first time in a very small town named Twin Falls. As both of them had been LA people, the idea of spending their time in such a small town seemed very unreal and bizarre to them, mostly for Jesse. Nevertheless, their project, a new tv series, had to be shot in Twin Falls, so, willingly or otherwise, they had to be there for as long as the shooting would last. Unaware of Aliza’s past, Jesse fell head over heels for her and was determined to be a part of her life. Aliza, on the other hand, could not ignore Jesse’s good looks but was almost stubborn to stay away from him.
The Annealing of Aliza Bennett by Emma Hartley is more than just a romantic book. It has an abundance of life wisdom and lessons. The author’s passion for jewelry making is evident throughout the read. The correlation of the jewelry-making process and life’s various aspects is beautifully established at the beginning of each chapter. The metaphor of annealing the metal with the transformation of Aliza’s personality is almost poetic. The author’s take on an abusive relationship is absolutely hard to miss. It has been observed that the victims of such cases tend to blame themselves for being mistreated by their partner, which is not just wrong, it’s demeaning. Aliza is no exception to this tendency. She blames herself for being abused by her ex-boyfriend. The in-depth portrayal of her emotions is extremely touching.
The book lost its pace after a few chapters and seemed a little slow for my taste; nonetheless, the experience of reading The Annealing of Aliza Bennett remained beautiful. I would recommend this book to romance lovers, abusive-relationship survivors, and jewelry makers.