Book Review for Blind Obsession by Ella Frank
3.5* overall (3* for the story, plus extra for the concept)
This was another book that was difficult to score. The story follows Gemma, a journalist, who has been summoned to the French chateau home of Philippe, a tortured artist who has been outcast from the public eye for his involvement in the death of his lover Chantel, a blind violinist. Gemma has been requested to stay for a few weeks because Philippe finally wants to tell his and Chantel’s side of the story.
Gemma arrives full of fear and not really sure what to expect. She finds a complex, compelling, charismatic and sometimes frightening man in Philippe. Very soon she’s overwhelmed by events, events that are sinister and obsessive in turns.
I found myself really wanting to like this book and, to be fair, I did read it in two sittings. I thought the way it was constructed was quite clever – Gemma’s POV is first person, Philippe’s is third person and then we have Chantel’s story as told in her own words through her journal. I found the language a little forced though…sometimes the dialogue didn’t sound natural. It was also a bit weird genre-wise. It was almost as though it couldn’t decide if it was some sort of horror story, with a ghostly watching presence that drives a wedge between Philippe and Gemma. I thought it would have been more effective to go one way or the other. There wasn’t any exploration of whether there really was a presence. There wasn’t any palpable sense of Gemma thinking she was losing her mind…she was just okay with the fact that there might be a ghost around.
Emotionally it’s a complex story to read. I didn’t feel the intense sadness that others have mentioned, but there were parts of it that spoke darkly to my heart. The sex scenes were incredibly steamy, with a little kink thrown in here and there. It was uncomfortable reading at times.
Where this book should take huge kudos is the music. It’s interactive and you can listen to the music as you read if you have a more modern kindle. I couldn’t on mine which was a shame, but, having been raised a classically trained musician, most of the pieces were familiar to me so I could imagine them as I was reading. You can go to the companion site for the book and listen to it there if your kindle doesn’t play music.