There's an old adage that the rainbows aren't as bright and the sun shining on your face isn't as warm, if you didn't have clouds and rain to sometimes ruin your day. That a weed in the flower garden makes the surrounding flowers that much more beautiful.
This story is that weed, that cloud. Not because it isn't a well written story, but because the pain and humiliation that Charlotte experiences in it, and by loving her, Robert's suffering, make it a very dark story. There is no happy ending, nothing to really make you smile, or laugh, or think of the joy that is love. This story touches on the dark underbelly of society. And as a man, it is actually painful to read, because every day, this story is being played out by some ugly man and some poor woman.
There is sex in this story, and most of it is sensually loving. There is also the brutal rape that signifies all that is wrong with abusive spouses. I can honestly say that it should be impossible to finish this story and feel any arousal at all. In fact, this may be the least arousing story on this site, for me.
The plot itself is nicely done. In fact, it is almost too nicely done. Getting the hope that Charlotte has turned her life around with Robert, and then reading what happens to their happiness, is a brutal reminder of the world we live in. I get the shivers reading it, and will have this story on my mind for days. It happens every time I read it.
Technically, the story is very well done, with one minor missing word, and one medical fact problem. I won't bother to explain it here, but if you email me, I will explain it when I respond.
Everyone on SO should read this story at least once, if for no other reason than to make those rainbows more colorful, and that sunshine on your face feel warmer. That weed in the garden that makes the flowers appear even prettier has a beauty all its own. A terrible beauty, yes, but beauty in all forms should be appreciated.
Yes, this story is that weed. It has a terrible beauty that makes my skin crawl that men like the one that Charlotte was with exist. I for one, am thankful for this weed's presence.
The goal of any author is to make the reader feel something. This one does that, in spades. Well done, Alexis Siefert.