Once Tomas and Annalise meet, they are forever intertwined and repeatedly ripped apart by fate, self-doubt and blackmail. Her husband, Jens, is a brilliant, jealous and manipulative scoundrel who keeps her psychologically under lock and key, until her passion for Tomas sets her free.
In Loving Annalise by Gabriel Constans, we are afforded an exploration of love in all its permutations through the relationships of its titular character, Annalise. At the outset, I offer this disclaimer: Erotic romance is not my cup of tea. I don't become so mesmerized by sensual scenes that I abandon my focus on characterization and plot. If anything, I much prefer things left to the imagination rather than across the page. That being said, I'm a fan of books that showcase the strength of women to rise above seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Loving Annalise foots this bill.
The book is written in the first person narrative allowing the reader to become privy to Annalise's memories and musings. We first meet her as a child. Constans writes vividly about the community and family that bred the determined and strong willed Annalise. We learn of the secret surrounding her birth. Whereas another author might have used that secret as a plot device to pity Annalise, her badge of shame as it were, I applaud Constans for enabling the secret to highlight the parallels between Annalise and her mother's lives. In some respects, Annalise proves to be her mother's daughter when it comes to her life choices. However, there is a striking difference in the personal and professional directions in which Annalise's life takes.
The other central character in this book, the man who is "Loving Annalise" throughout the circumstances waged against them is Tomas. If the path to Hell is said to be paved with good intentions, I would submit (in this instance) that the path to enduring love with one's soul mate is paved by the sinister machinations of a brother, misunderstandings and the passage of time.
One might argue, when reading this book, that Annalise doesn't qualify as a strong woman. How could she be when we see her trapped in a toxic relationship? Annalise is flawed, no question. Yet, where her strength lies is in her love and commitment to family, especially her love and commitment to her children.
Because the bulk of the story gravitated towards Annalise and her choices, I felt that Tomas wasn't as nearly fleshed out as a character as I would have liked. In some instances, his sole purpose seemed to passively react to events around him rather than to be the instrument of active change. This might have been intentional on Constans' part instead of any fallacy with writing. Even when Tomas wasn't in the story, the reader could root for him and Annalise to find their way together. Constans is both a stellar writer of emotion and description.
In addition to being very well-written, Loving Annalise kept me interested and invested in the characters and plot as well as curious about how the various suspense hooks would play out. I give Loving Annalise a Gold Book Review rating.
I had either missed information or hadn't been fully aware while reading the first time.
The second time through was much better. I think Annalise's story, and her journey to Thomas is a relatable one, while maybe not in the exact sense.
I feel like the moral of the story, or the theme, was to persevere through the terrible, and eventually you'll be lead to the wonderful.
I think the ending was cute, in a cheeky kind of way. It was overall a good book, and earns a blue bookworm from me.
This is a richly descriptive story crossing the ocean, cultures, and time. From her insular youth in the town of Krumjagen to the United States, Annalise faces a multitude of changes. It’s a book about a woman who is loved as a child, grows to be an independent young woman, and finds herself in a marriage with a man who tries to possess her. Annalise is both courageous and frightened, passionate and cold. In many ways she is “Everywoman” as she matures. She travels her life’s journey from innocence and uncertainty until she finds her career calling as a nurse. This in itself defines Annalise; she is a caretaker. Annalise was raised to take care of others, putting herself second.
When she marries Jens, much to her grandmother’s dismay, she becomes the unwitting caretaker of him and their marriage. In spite of Jens infidelities she remains faithful. Even when she meets his family in the United States and falls in love with his brother Tomas, she cannot allow herself to leave Jens. Instead she puts her feelings aside and avoids a relationship with Tomas, depriving both of them of a loving and fulfilling relationship. Although her feelings for Tomas remain strong, she resists her desire and dedicates herself to Jens and their children.
It s only as Annalise matures and begins to recognize her own value as a contributing person, that she finds the strength to press forward toward independence. However she must separate herself from a total commitment in love before she is ready to accept the love of a man, Tomas, completely. After years when both have been married and divorced, Tomas reappears in her life. Her heart opens like a flower in bloom when she is finally able to engage in a totally loving relationship. The lovers realize they have never stopped loving one another and their climactic reunion is both tender and passionate.
The characters are very well developed, from Annalise and Tomas, to her family, her children, and even the town priest. It’s impossible not to be drawn into this story which is almost like reading a woman’s diary. Her most private thoughts and emotions are revealed.
I highly recommend this book, not only as a romance but as an in depth exploration of a woman’s life. Be prepared to share her experiences of joy, sorrow, love, and loss.
But before starting, my mind began to ramble and certain questions arose, but the most pertinent was: would I like it or not?
Gabriel Constans was, like I said initially, a new author for me, and so the expectation was very high. His writing is simple, soft, and inviting.
Loving Annalise explores Annalise’s life. Being the eldest child, it was her mission to protect and help her younger brothers as well as help in daily tasks at home. Life was not easy and Annalise was forced to fight against overwhelming odds to finally be happy. When we love someone we are so amazed that we don't realize what is right in front of us.
This story kept me on the edge of my seat, wondering what would happen next.
Honestly I wasn't expecting what I read; I guess it's a myth that men don't have a sensitive side because this story was full of emotion. I found myself anxious but at the same time curious and cheerful.
The whole plot unfolds in a soft and cozy way, and I love the German language references.
I'll be curious waiting for another book from this author.