Monday, October 15, 2012

"Against My Will" by Benjamin Berkley Book Tour and Review

Be sure to check out the guest post and giveaway from yesterday.

Publisher: Frederick Fell Publishers, Inc., September 1, 2012
Category: Fiction- Relationships, Abuse, Romance, Holocaust, Suspense
Tour Dates: October, 2012
Available in: Print and PDF, 247 pages
AGAINST MY WILL is the life changing novel about Danielle, a victim of marital abuse, who finds the strength to leave her husband and pursue a career in law.
Danielle Landau knows she should feel lucky, but she can’t feel anything but dread. Not only did she pass the New York Bar, but she married the man her father says is just right for her and lives in a fashionable new loft in Queens. But the man who seems like the perfect catch is a perfect nightmare at home. Jacob tries to control her career, her daily routine, and even what she eats. He ignores her desires and belittles her every chance he gets. Soon, Danielle doesn’t recognize her husband or herself, and she struggles to find a way out.
Danielle tries to talk to her father but he dismisses her marital problems.  But she can confide in her Nana Rose, a Holocaust survivor who lost her entire family at the hands of the Nazis. Rose helped raise Danielle and her brother when their mother died when Danielle was only three.  Having faced death, Rose is Danielle’s source of security.  But while Danielle holds on to the fragile belief that her father’s prince charming will change, she is raped by her husband on the night of their one year wedding anniversary.
Now, Danielle has to escape.  And with the help of her beloved Nana, Danielle moves across the country and starts to rebuild her life. But will she be able to escape her past? And when one of her clients finds herself in the same terrible situation, will Danielle have the strength to help her?
As we follow Danielle on her journey of terror and recovery, we see her story intersect with the diary entries of her Nana as a young girl held captive in a concentration camp.  The entries begin with Rose waking up in a hospital after the liberation of the Mauthausen Concentration Camp.    Graphically she recounts the train ride to the camp and the emotional separation of her from her family upon arrival.    And the full weight of the family’s secrets becomes clear. This is a story of survival, self-discovery, justice, and ultimately, it’s about love.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
So how do you rate a book that almost mirrors your life?  Okay, not really, but trust me, there are similarities--I will get to that.  Let's get the "negatives" out of the way.  There is some profanity in the book, and the sex scenes are rather descriptive.  The profanity wasn't too prevalent, and the sex scenes were necessary--due to the entire message of the book.  But do approach this book with the knowledge that this is an adult book.

The cover alone is hauntingly beautiful.  Even my students today found it pretty and commented on it.  And my response was that I agreed, but it was sad.  And it is.  I had no idea until I read this book that marital rape was even considered a crime.  I guess that is a piece of information that I will tuck away for a later time.

As I read about Danielle's marriage, I understood.  It was hard to read.  I was married for ten years to a controlling husband, and I divorced him before he became violent.  Let me blunt here.  He raped me once, and I let it happen.  I remember it very clearly even to this date.  I submitted so that I could go see a movie--talk about feeling like a prostitute.  And I remained in the marriage for several years after that and even brought my beautiful daughter into the world.  I was glad that my ex was nicer than Jacob, but there were still enough similarities that portions of the book were rather emotionally charged for me.

This book is expertly written, and it is hard to believe that it is written by a man.  I am always amazed when men can create convincing female protagonists in books, and even in first person!  This is Benjamin Berkley's first novel, but I hope it won't be his last.  I think I need to look up his non-fiction based on this book alone.  It is clear that he is quite an expert on this topic.

I found it absolutely genius on the author's part to tie a Holocaust survivor's story to the current story of the book.  This added just the right amount of intrigue, and of course, the ending of the book is quite powerful in this "side story."  I would have even liked this portion of the book to be developed in more detail.

I believe that any woman who feels they can handle the subject and content of this book should read this book.  I can also recommend it to men, too, as it is not some "chick book."  Oh, and by the way, there is some romance in this book--for all those romance lovers out there!

I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.  I was not financially compensated, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.

“Against My Will” is Benjamin Berkley’s fifth book and debut novel.  He is also the author of four self-help books:       “My Wishes, Your Plan for Organizing Your Family’s Needs” (Sourcebooks, June, 2006)   “The Complete Executor’s Guide” (Sourcebooks, June 2007)   “Winning Your Social Security Disability Case” (Sourcebooks, February, 2008) and “Before You Say I Do Again, A Buyer’s Beware Guide to Remarriage.” (Frederick Fell Publishers, September, 2009).
And though writing is his passion, for over 34 years he has conducted a busy law practice in which he has seen many interesting clients come through his door.  One in particular, an older woman with white hair, the kindest smile, and an amazing story became the inspiration for one of his characters for “Against My Will.”   Berkley lives in southern California with his wife Phyllis and their cat Riley.   He has two grown children and is always bragging about his most beautiful grandson and granddaughter.
Follow the entire tour here


  1. I would totally read this book. It sounds like it is going to be really good.

  2. Thanks for taking part in the tour. I'm so glad you loved the book!


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