CC’s Review ~ Birds of Paradise by Anne Malcom

Elizabeth Hades didn’t have a normal childhood and experienced severe trauma as an adult. As a result, she suffers with conditions that keep her caged in her own miserable world until one night when her fears are realized. Coming to terms with the person who holds her own demise in his hands, Elizabeth is given a choice though the options aren’t viable. 

“Life was my penance, my sentence. The price I was paying. And I deserved to live through every second of misery. I needed more of it to pay for my sins.”

Oliver is a solitary man who knows the darkness that resides in people. Adhering to his own beliefs, he is taken by surprise by a damaged creature. Though Oliver doesn’t offer humanity, he is willing to push boundaries for his own curiosities. 

“Humans don’t have enough self-preservation to spend time getting to know themselves. Otherwise they’ll see themselves for the monsters they really are. Not many people are strong enough to survive after meeting their monsters.”

Told in dual POV, Elizabeth’s fragile emotional state is underscored by the inclusion of shifting past and present sequences. Understanding her background reinforces how difficult it is for her to move forward. While Oliver makes it clear that others have had to overcome less and more, he wants her to feel rather than stay numb. Elizabeth is a strong character and Oliver recognizes how close she is to the truth. Though, Oliver seems to be a beacon for Elizabeth, their intense connection is grounded in the darkness they share and it percolates into hot and turbulent scenes 

“His entire body strained against the handcuffs, tensing as he let out a feral growl. His eyes glowed with desire so dark it melted into the walls behind us. I rode him. Hard.”

Anne Malcom is a new author to me and from the beginning this unique story with complex psychological layers captivated me. With both being damaged, they had their own way of dealing with trauma and the blackness that resides in all of us. As they evolved, nothing was straightforward or conventional and I liked how challenged each other in spite of their vulnerabilities. The ending is also very fitting for these characters and it made more of an impact on their journey. 

Birds of Paradise is a dark and psychological romance with emotion. With some twists and a steady plot, these characters will leave a lasting impression. 

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