Reviewed by me for Reader’s Favorite.
Wow! What a journey Athena Daniels has taken her readers on! The Scream Behind Her Smile by Athena Daniels is nothing less than a rollercoaster of intense emotions. Claire and Derk have been together for ten years. However, three years back, the loss of their five years old daughter has got them on a very tragic and weird place. While fighting the pain of this tremendous loss, Claire had to seek professional help, and Derek drowned himself into alcohol. Their marriage is at a standstill, where they are together, yet very far apart.
In this already confusing situation, Jasmine — a friend of Derek’s — moves into their apartment for a few days. Claire had no knowledge of this arrangement and was caught off guard. When the closeness of Derek and Jasmine began bothering Claire, she talked to him about it, but he brushed it off as the side-effect of Claire not taking her medication. The more Derek threw insensitive remarks on Claire, the more she started doubting the logic of staying in this relationship. Things became even more complicated when she found herself attracted to a man named Zach, whom she met at a wedding. This attraction was so intense that she found all her senses lost at the mere sight of this man.
While most of us consider violence to be physical, emotional abuse also exists. The problem with emotional abuse is that you cannot show the signs of violence to your friends; as a result, you find yourself standing alone and confused. Leaving a marriage is a difficult decision, but justifying the decision to end a marriage is even more difficult when you are not sure whether there actually is a problem. This issue reflects deeply in Claire’s situation. She knows there is nothing left in her marriage to save, yet she doesn’t wish to overreact. She reminisces the good times and struggles to make a decision. If your partner is feeling insecure, should you stand by their side or demean their feelings?
Apart from the emotional struggles, Zach’s mysterious appearance intrigued me a lot. I, as a reader, found myself interested in getting to know all about his past that he hides with so much passion. Raising this kind of intrigue in the readers is definitely the author’s biggest victory. The chain of actions that followed after Claire made up her mind to end the relationship that wasn’t working is explosive and fascinating. I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy drama, romance, and suspense.Readers’ Favorite Book Award Contest – Enter Today!