Thursday, 19 October 2017

These Violent Delights by Victoria Namkung

These Violent Delights by Victoria Namkung
Published November 7, 2017 by Griffith Moon
Source: Netgalley
Rating: 5 stars

From the blurb: At Windemere School for Girls, one of America’s elite private schools, Dr. Gregory Copeland is the beloved chair of the English Department. A married father with a penchant for romantic poetry—and impressionable teenage girls—he operates in plain sight for years, until one of his former students goes public with allegations of inappropriate conduct. With the help of an investigative journalist, and two additional Windemere alumnae who had relationships with Copeland as students, the unlikely quartet unites to take him down.
Set in modern-day Los Angeles, These Violent Delights is a literary exploration of the unyielding pressures and vulnerabilities that so many women and girls experience, and analyzes the ways in which our institutions and families fail to protect or defend us. A suspenseful and nuanced story told from multiple points of view, the novel examines themes of sexuality, trauma, revenge, and the American myth of liberty and justice for all.

These Violent Delights is the second novel by Korean American author, Victoria Namkung. Set in LA, the story revolves around four women: Jane, Caryn, Eva, and Sasha. Caryn Rodgers, a twenty-two-year-old intern approaches Jane March, a reporter, about an incident that occurred at her prestigious private girls school six year ago. At the time a male teacher made advances at her and when she told the school, nothing was done. Now Caryn wants to write about it and she and Jane deal with the issues that arise once the story is out.

If you know me, my attention is easily caught by a pretty cover. Just last week I was browsing Netgalley for a particular book when I saw the gorgeous cover of These Violent Delights. I clicked on it, read the blurb, and immediately requested it. I started reading it as soon as I was approved and I was completely hooked.

The story is compelling, I immediately wanted to know more about Caryn's life and what had happened to her. Caryn is part Korean and her family and upbringing have shaped her life and how she lives now. She's always been conscious of not wanting to bring shame to the family so it was admirable that she finally felt ready to speak out.

Jane was also a fantastic lead character. It was refreshing to see a working relationship between two women that was supportive rather than competitive or nasty. Jane backed Caryn's story from the beginning, standing up to male colleagues who wanted to question and victim-blame her.

The pacing was perfect, picking up speed and intensity as the plot progressed but never feeling rushed. As the story moved forward, more victims identify themselves and we learn about their pasts and how they're doing now. The three women had all dealt with the abuse in different ways, yet they were bonded by their experience and each of them wanted to stop it from ever happening again.

The story really highlights the problems we face now when dealing with accusations of abuse. There is victim blaming and questioning, and the fact that people always seem to want to protect the male perpetrator, worrying about his career/family/life rather than the victim. This book gives insight into how a case like this can be reported on and the sorts of reactions that arise from the public and media.

These Violent Delights is a captivating story of a heartbreaking issue that is all too common in real life. Written with expert knowledge and sensitivity, you'll find it hard to put down.

Available for pre-order from Griffith Moon.

Thank you to Griffith Moon for my Netgalley ARC.

1 comment:

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