I have been wanting to reading Marie Drake’s ‘Three Rules’ for quite some time. It is a remarkable read that will reach out to most readers either because of the mystery, the emotional and physical effects of abuse and the beautiful romance/love story. During this past year, Three Rules made it as a semi-finalist for The Kindle Book Review’s Best Kindle Book Awards 2014! Definitely not one to be missed!!
Extremely powerful narrative, beautifully written – will have you reduced to tears!
Author: Marie Drake
Genre: Dark fiction, mystery, romance
Release date: September 24, 2013
Released by: Marie Drake
Length: 296 pages
Blurb: Hope Wellman has a childhood full of horrific memories, a bone chilling recurring nightmare, and a persistent paranoid sense of being followed that she would rather keep repressed. Is evil reaching from beyond the grave to capture the tattered remnants of her soul once and for all, is it only a machination of her disturbed mind, or is there something happening more sinister than even she can imagine?
Attending the funeral of her abuser is the first step in putting her life back together. She struggles with the fact she never told anyone what happened to her, and that the grave they are mourning over is empty. She’d find it a lot easier to move on and believe in the future if he were in the box, ready to be covered with dirt. She fears the last thread of her sanity has snapped when she sees Lucas everywhere she turns, and can’t escape a recurring nightmare. Is her tormentor alive, or is she imagining it? Is her dream triggered by past fears or is it a prediction of the future?
Quoted from Three Rules:
“I have learned three rules in my life: 1.) The most dangerous people in the world are not always strangers. 2.) The scariest things imaginable are not those that can kill you, but those you can live through. And probably the most prominent: 3.) The most horrible possibility is not what could happen to you, but what you could become – I became a killer.”
Three Rules is an extremely powerful narrative and beautifully written, with a great deal of emotion running through it, that will reduce you to tears. Despite the dark subject matter of abuse, and the mystery of the storyline, it also holds one of the most romantic stories I have ever read!
Hope Wellman (20) having lived through sexual abuse as a young girl, by her step-uncle, Lucas, has never said a word about her ordeal to anyone. And now at Lucas’ funeral she feels an inner-relief that he cannot harm her again. The only doubt that she does have is that his body is not in the coffin as it was never recovered from his boat accident. Without his body, there is a fraction of her that wonders if he is still alive, and when she has moments of feeling that somebody is watching her, she instantly thinks it could be him.
There are a string of events that come to light early in the story that keep reminding Hope of her past and begin to create the mystery for the remainder of the story. One of the main questions you’ll be asking is whether or not Lucas is still alive?
Hope is having terrible nightmares about being chased by someone, and then when she is out she feels like someone is following her, watching her at times. This makes her question her own sanity – she may be paranoid, unless she does have a stalker, or maybe it really is Lucas? There are some brilliant twists in the story to keep the reader wondering and guessing.
The reader is aware of how Hope feels about Lucas’ death as it opens her mind up to those moments of abuse again. She puts on a brave face for her parents, to offer support and to keep her ordeals to herself. However, remaining strong and trying to forget is becoming increasingly difficult when she finds out that one of her childhood friends, Karen Bishop, is pregnant with Lucas’ child. Not only does it hurt to know that he had his hands on her, but it also creates some guilt within Hope that maybe if she had spoken about what had happened to her, then Karen wouldn’t have gotten herself into this situation.
As if dealing with all of this wasn’t enough, there is also the very lovely Joey Bishop to face. Joey is Karen’s brother who was always Hope’s best friend growing up. They did everything together during their childhood and he always had time for her. He was the only boy she ever felt close to. But, after what should have been Hope’s magical and memorable first kiss, her parents encouraged her and Joey to keep their distance after Lucas had seen their innocent moment and reported it back.
A few years on and the attraction is still clearly there. And yet, Hope struggles with her feelings. Anything physical is out of the question, leaving Joey believing that they are just friends. After certain events take place, Hope spends more time with Joey and this really brings them closer together on many levels. But every time she feels she can tell him, something prevents her from doing so. And, will he change his opinion of her if he knew her secret?
The further into the story we go the more Hope’s feelings and past are brought to the fore. Hope’s character is very strong, despite all that she has been through. She still feels like she can’t tell anyone and when her family notice something isn’t right they assume she is depressed (just as she tended to be when she was younger). She begins to feel trapped – she wants to tell Joey on many occasions (and sometimes her mum) but she just can’t face it. At this point the reader feels trapped with her – wanting to encourage her to speak and finally let it out, but at the same time realising it is a delicate subject for her. The fact that she is thinking about telling someone is a step in the right direction.
Three Rules is a work of fiction and yet based on the abuse suffered by the author, making it a very real read but written without lengthy graphic details – it is more focused on the state of mind, the emotions, as it is written with the intent to help others in similar situations. Marie Drake has written the story with so much care that it is a sensitive read but with some powerful heart-warming moments – two of which had me in tears.
This is a story of inner-strength, of coming through abuse and it’s effects, and then reaching the other side. It is a story of courage, will-power and love that carries it’s own message to all those in need – don’t push those feelings down, don’t ignore them. The power to speak to someone, anyone, can be all that you need to begin your journey to the light, where you can find security, love and be at peace with yourself and your loved ones.
A copy of Three Rules was provided by the author in return for an honest and fair review.
To read the prologue and first chapter, along with info on the author, Marie Drake, please check out our spotlight.
Reviewed by Caroline Barker