Just looking at the cover of Tear You Apart by Megan Hart reminds one of the iconic Fifty Shades of Grey covers. Flipping through it at the library, I came across a section involving red-hot pokers and beds of broken glass. I was concerned. And I knew I must read it.
I was pleasantly surprised that it was not, in fact, a sadistic kind of love story. The story follows Elisabeth Amblin, a forty-five year old woman bored and unhappy in her role as wife to inattentive workaholic and mother to two out-of-town college kids. She meets Will, an artist and photographer, at a gallery event, and the story snowballs from there in an expected trajectory of passion and cover-up.
Though we are dealing with an extramarital affair here, in itself an unlikable act, Elisabeth herself is not unlikeable (neither is Will for that matter). She doesn’t make excuses, blame others or even try to say that her feelings for Will are just too powerful to resist. She accepts her choices and tries to find a way to not hurt the people around her, all the while feeling as though she deserves the pleasure and happiness that she desperately desires.
The prose does lean on some trite phrases now and again, but Elisabeth is a unique narrator; she has synesthesia, a condition that allows her to smell and taste certain sounds, like voices. She does not invite us to judge her but allows us to experience what she experiences, the frustration, passion, confusion, despair, love, all filtered through her exceptional world of vivid impressions and senses.