Title: Heart On A Chain
Author: Cindy C. Bennett
Published: December 22nd 2010, Createspace
Edition: ebook, 322 pages
Genre: Romance, Drama
Age group: Young Adult
Rating: ★ ★ ★
17-year-old Kate is the school’s biggest loser and the constant object of abuse and ridicule. She doesn’t have any friends or simply someone to talk to. Expecting everyone to play a joke on her or punch her she mostly stays aside and hides from people’s eyes. And she can’t actually have any solace at home, as it’s no better. In fact, this is where it all started, this is the reason why Kate considers herself unworthy of anything good.
Her parents are really mean, her mother is a drug addict and her father is an alcoholic. But if only they could leave her alone. On the opposite, it’s a daily routine for Kate’s mother to command her to clean the house, to cook dinner (which she’s not aloud to eat, and so Kate may go days without eating anything) and then to physically abuse her. So badly that Kate is used to constant bruises on her body and face. But she can’t do anything to stop it, as she blames herself for the way her family became.
When Kate was 9 years old, her mother had a miscarriage following one of her constant fights with Kate’s dad. And when she came from the hospital without a baby, she made Kate her target. Being too young to understand why this was happening, Kate was made to think this was all her fault.
So when the new year at school starts, Kate has learned how to deal with her life. She tries to spend as less time at home as possible to avoid her mother’s anger. And at school she tries not to get in anyone’s way or to catch anybody’s attention.
But this year there’s a new boy at school and he won’t let her get away. He would try to be nice to her, which is something Kate is not used too. She expects him to play a joke on her and it really makes her sad as Henry was her friend 6 years ago, but he had to move away.
Now that he’s back again Henry’s really surprised with what has happened to the girl that was once not only his best friend but also his first love. He is determined to make her trust him again and to maybe become something more to her than just a friend. But Kate can’t reciprocate his feelings, though she wants to so much. She knows that Henry is too good for her and it’s only a matter of time that he will find out how undeserving of him she really is.
This books was a tough read for me, very emotional. There were some moments that I really liked, but some parts were really disturbing.
I liked Kate for her unselfishness and inner-strength, because she didn’t just fall apart after everything that happened to her. In the end she took her life in her own hands and made it the way she really wanted it to be. Henry was great too, but just seemed too ideal and unrealistic, especially for an 18-year-old. He was like a knight in shiny armor, always there to save Kate. Their love story seemed very intense and too romanticized with all these love professions from Henry. And the proposal? Well it just was way over the top, but I won’t deny it, it was really romantic and I liked to read every scene of Kate and Henry together.
If Henry was too knight-y, than his family was even more ideal. It’s the typical kind of family you would only see in a movie or read in a book, with a big beautiful house, plenty of kids of different ages, all loving each other, hugs and kisses. Oh, and they are very rich, so it’s no problem for them to add Kate into their circle, let her live at their house and take her to Florida with them for Christmas. There wasn’t any bad trait about them, so of course I liked them, but they were just too sugary, especially in comparison to Kate’s family.
There was given an explanation to why Kate’s mom and dad were the way they became, but what bothered me the most were the excessive rage her mother felt toward Kate. The scene where she would constantly beat Kate almost to death were very hard to read, and it was the thing that I didn’t like about the story. Yes, I know there does exist abuse in families, but I just couldn’t understand the amount of this fury or why Kate didn’t try to defend herself even instinctively through all these years. Or considering that everyone at school including teachers could see Kate come and go with bruises all over her face and not wonder who did this to her. She couldn’t have been that invisible.
As for the general course of the story, I think the second half of it was very tough, and I just felt that there were too much sufferings inflicted on Kate. It was like I would read about her fight with her mother and think that’s probably it, but then I turn the page and there’s something more. Well I just think it was too much, as I already had my eyes filled with tears for Kate.
But the ending turned out very rational and believable. I liked that despite Kate and Henry’s romance being too vanilla in the beginning, in the end they became normal, and their love no longer seemed forced and actually then the proposal wasn’t so out-of-place.
So I can say the story was OK, but not too impressive. But I generally liked Cindy C. Bennett’s writing and will check more of her books any time soon.