Book Review: My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

Uncomfortable and heartbreaking but a book you won’t be able to put down! 

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell
384 Pages
Out Now

Vanessa Wye was fifteen years old when she first had sex with her English teacher.

She is now thirty-two and in the storm of allegations against powerful men in 2017, the teacher, Jacob Strane, has just been accused of sexual abuse by another former student.

Vanessa is horrified by this news, because she is quite certain that the relationship she had with Strane wasn’t abuse. It was love. She’s sure of that.

Forced to rethink her past, to revisit everything that happened, Vanessa has to redefine the great love story of her life – her great sexual awakening – as rape. Now she must deal with the possibility that she might be a victim, and just one of many.

5 / 5

I will warn you now that this was extremely uncomfortable and difficult to read at times as details of the abuse Vanessa experienced was described in detail. It was harrowing and utterly heartbreaking.

That being said it was still an exceptional book and beautifully written. I had a continuous knot in my stomach whilst reading this. The way everything was built up, the comments Strane made, it was obvious to the reader what he was doing but seeing it from Vanessa’s point of view you start to really understand how this easily happens in real life and just how vulnerable she was.

I enjoyed how it flicked from the past and the present so you could understand and see how she was dealing with everything now she was an adult. Then it would go back to the past as Vanessa was trying to figure out whether it really was love.

This is such an important subject to be written about and I think the author did an incredible job of conveying just how manipulative these predators can be and how, even years later, the pain and emotional turmoil doesn’t end for the victims. I think Kate got it spot on, yes it was uncomfortable, but I just couldn’t put it down and my heart broke for Vanessa!

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