Because We Belong
Berkeley / November 5, 2013 / $16.00 print, $7.99 digital
In Because We Belong Ian and Francesca return to reignite the exquisite passions that drew them together, and to finally face the intimate secrets that threatened to separate them forever. The secrets of an inescapable past that was one man’s darkest mystery—a darkness that seduced one woman and forever held her spellbound with forbidden desire. For both of them, the next step is total abandon.
This book wrecked me. It was stark, beautiful, and emotionally devastating. I found reading it to be exhausting, in a good way, if that even makes sense. It just makes you feel so much. I think it's important to read the first two installments in the Because You Are Mine series (both were serials, in fact), because it sets up the groundwork for Because We Belong. The book starts out in an unusual way, because for much of it, Ian and Francesca are “broken up.” In fact, the focus is on Francesca for probably the first half, and Beth Kery takes the reader through the emotional wringer, sparing nothing when describing Francesca's emotional state. Ms. Kery pulls no punches, and you can't help but feel how ruined yet determined Francesca is throughout.
One of my complaints about Because You Are Mine was that I felt it was almost more erotica than erotic romance. Not so with Because We Belong. All the emotion is there, and it is strong and true. The issues that they have to work through strengthens their relationship, and although Ian is absent for quite a bit, I think the reader really gets to know him. He's not so in control and in charge, and his uncertainty and journey clarifies his love for Francesca, and thus convinces the reader there are strong emotions there not just incredible lust. They're so perfect for each other, and perfect together. I like that they come to understand each other, that Francesca lets Ian know she's upset, but also realizes a part of it is her, and her internalization of anger. As for Ian, I appreciated knowing that he realized he hurt Francesca and that he cared. He's so steady but cut off, it was nice to “get to know him” in his book.
I don't know if it was just a “right book at the right time” thing, but I felt every part fit. I'm reluctant to use it generally, but the word “perfect” keeps floating through my head. The story is so realistic yet grandiose. The setting is an English estate, which is beautifully described, and central to the plot. They aren't there “just because” and Ian's family doesn't just “happen” to be nobility. The plot and secondary characters are carefully and seamlessly woven together. Inheritance, intrigue, and essentially a sexy ingenue in the form of a maid.
There was one thing that confused me, in that I was mistaken—I confused Gerard's actions with Ian's at some points, which I think is intentional in the book, so I don't want to spoil it, just make that note.
Even throwaway comments and scenes fit. Ian's grandparents ask Francesca to make a painting of their home, and it will go over a mantel, replacing a John Singer Sargant. I had to take a moment when I read that. I was impressed by the attention to detail, yet the almost negligent way these things were mentioned. It just made the setting that much more real. It also conveyed how foreign this was to Francesca, and while uncomfortable, I think the realism gave it so much more depth.
This is definitely not a happy bubbly romance, but it doesn't purport to be one. It reminded me of the older grandiose romances, with all the angst and complex plot and characters. I know I will re-read this book, and appreciate the others more because of this one. Because We Belong has the whole package. It's realistic, yet fantastic. Emotional and raw, but with touches of humor and softness. It was really nice to see Ian and Francesca cement their relationship and work through their issues (which had seemed insurmountable). Just be prepared to go to some dark places, because Ms. Kery rips your heart out in some places.
Don't worry, though—it has a happy, and perfect, ending.
Learn more or order a copy of Because We Belong by Beth Kery, available on November 5, 2013:
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