Dec 2 2014 9:30am

First Look: Monica Murphy’s Owning Violet (December 2, 2014)

Owning Violet by Monica MurphyMonica Murphy
Owning Violet (Fowler Sisters)
Bantam / December 2, 2014 / $15.00 print, $4.99 digital

I’ve moved through life doing what’s expected of me. I’m the middle daughter, the dutiful daughter. The one who braved a vicious attack and survived. The one who devoted herself to her family’s business empire. The one who met an ambitious man and fell in love. We were going to run Fleur Cosmetics together, Zachary and I.

Until he got a promotion and left me in the dust. Maybe it’s for the best, between his disloyalty and his wandering eye. But another man was waiting for me. Wanting me. He too has an overwhelming thirst for success, just like Zachary—perhaps even more so. He’s also ruthless. And mysterious. I know nothing about Ryder McKay beyond that he makes me feel things I’ve never felt before.

One stolen moment, a kiss, a touch . . . and I’m hooked. Ryder’s like a powerful drug, and I’m an addict who doesn’t want to be cured. He tells me his intentions aren’t pure, and I believe him. For once, I don’t care. I’m willing to risk everything just to be with him. Including my heart. My soul.

My everything.

Sometimes neither the hero nor heroine are very likeable at the start of a novel. That’s the case in Monica Murphy’s Owning Violet; neither Violet, who lets her current boyfriend cheat on her, nor her potential hero Ryder, who sets out to use Violet to get ahead in the company, are likeable at first. But what’s so great about Murphy's Owning Violet is how the characters change over time. I admit I thought Ryder was going to be an unredemptive jerk. Yes, he’s got a sordid past that drags him down, but there wasn’t a lot going for him when he announces his plan to sleep his way to the top. Violet comes across as a wishy-washy heroine who lets herself go along for the ride, abut s the story progresses you want to cheer for her as she exhibits more and more of the backbone that she lost along the way.

Some writers introduce unlikeable characters and have a pivotal moment where suddenly everything changes and the reader is now in that character’s corner. Murphy draws out the process. I can’t think of a single moment where I suddenly went, “Ah-ha! Now I really like them both.” Instead, the pair grew together through their relationship which is not only deeply sexual, but also emotionally poignant. In addition to the chemistry between the hero and heroine, Murphy entrenches the reader in the highly corporate setting of Fleur Cosmetics. Besides some restaurants and the occasional apartment, most of the wheeling and dealing in the book takes place behind closed office doors. Not only does the office setting add a forbidden element to Ryder and Violet’s affair, but it also sets the tone for what is at stake. People aren’t just messing with other people’s lives for the fun of it. There’s an uncertainty in the air at Fleur, and Ryder too, as his past connection and villaness, Pilar, are planning to take full advantage in climbing their way to the top of the cosmetic food chain.

Violet isn’t entirely alone as she embarks on the affair with Ryder. She has her sisters, Rose and Lily, to help her as well as offer moral support. Of course the introduction of the other two Fowler sisters means more books in the series, but the sisters don’t stand out as one-off characters to be fleshed out at a later date. Instead Lily, the party girl and black sheep of the family along with Rose, the fun-loving, but hard working, sister want to help Violet break out of her self-imposed strictness. Both sisters know that Violet’s initial boyfriend, Zachery, is not good enough for her and have no problem telling her so. In addition, the sisters act as a sounding board for Violet though Violet doesn’t care to share too many of the dirty details with her siblings.

The office politics also give way to family politics. The Fowler family is sort of a house divided. Lily has estranged herself from the family, particularly their father. Rose is unhappy with personal decisions her father has made and Violet is in the middle trying to be the dutiful daughter as well as keep everything together. This family also has secrets, given that they are a high profile group in the fictional world of the novel. Even the sordid details of Violet’s past are swept under the rug to protect the family image. While Violet is less rebellious than her sisters, I expect when we get to Rose and hopefully Lily’s book, the storm that is brewing in Owning Violet will come to a head for the Fowler family.

Learn more about or order a copy of Owning Violet by Monica Murphy, available December 2, 2014:

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Sahara Hoshi reviews for Wicked Lil Pixie and is a lifelong reader of romance. Favorite genres include new adult, paranormal romance, contemporary romance and erotica.

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Jessica Moro
1. JessicaMoro
I didn't like Violet and Ryder at first as well, but as the story went there was such a big change. I also hated Pilar! I look forward to the next one. Great post!
Jessica Moro
2. JessicaMoro
I didn't like Violet and Ryder at first as well, but as the story went there was such a big change. I also hated Pilar! I look forward to the next one. Great post!
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