Pinnacle Lust by Michelle Dim-St. Pierre is a story of love, romance, conflict, and finding oneself. In this book the readers lost themselves, as our narrator seemed to do the same. We watched her struggle at understanding who she is with and without the men in her life.
This book is gritty and sensual. It’s real. Everything that plays out before us in this novel seems so real-to-life, so painful, so exciting, and so true. It’s not your happily ever after romance tale. It reads like a memoir; very gripping.
I was engaged with this story from the start. The writer has a wonderful and strong voice, and she hooked me into the world of Sharon; a nurse in Israel in the early 90’s falling head over heels for a married man.
The setting was eye opening, the characters were well developed, the pace flowed organically, and the dialogue was pristine and fun and witty. I was captivated the entire time. This is a very raw story. Nothing is hidden from the reader and I think that is one of the best things Michelle Dim-St. Pierre does with this book. She doesn’t hide the thoughts, feelings, and desperations of a woman in love with a man she shouldn’t be. I also loved how well the narrator’s friends and job were wrapped into this story. Because that is real life – the little bits and pieces of life affect all aspects of our world. Her affair affected work and friends, and vice versa.
There were a few things about the book that left me slightly unfulfilled; the ending, the main character’s independence, and the introduction of the daughter in the beginning of the book.
This story didn’t actually end. No one received closure, in my opinion. I think the author did this on purpose, because such is in real life. But when I read fiction I want closure. I was disappointed I didn’t receive it.
Our main character is supposed to be a strong and independent woman who can handle her own, and yet…she can’t. She struggles to live in a world without a man; specifically, without one man. Sharon, the main character is in love and having an affair with a married man for most of this story. We know she is smart; smarter than she acts for many years of her life, and that frustrates me. Sharon knows how this will end, no matter how much hope she has for her future, but she can never leave without him. She struggles to make the first – and ultimately only – move in life. She lets others make the life moves for her. She is a pawn. Why? To show the control love has over a life? To show how weak we are when our heart is involved? When lust is involved?
The final piece of this novel that I wish had been more developed is the beginning and ending. Pinnacle Lust begins in Leigh, an 18 year old girl’s, perspective. She is Sharon’s daughter. Leigh receives a note from her mother with years of journaling/letters and learns the story that came before she was born, and about the man who is truly her father. This is how Sharon’s story is introduced and then we dive into Sharon’s story. But then we don’t see Leigh again until the very end of the book. And she doesn’t receive closure either. The reason I’m not sure about this choice is because if a character is introduced in that way (starting a story), then the story of her mother (which is actually the focus of the book) needs to also change the first character, Leigh. Both are the protagonists and both need to grow and change. The daughter needs to change from start to finish because this story changes her life, and the mother needs to change because her life changes and she needs to change with it. We need to see character growth. But we don’t get that with the daughter and that bugs me because it makes the choice to insert her into the novel feel superficial and undeveloped. What about her story? What about her life after this knowledge? Why introduce her to the reader and flip her world upside down to not actually show the reader her growth and ending? If there plans to be another book in the series, I guess I could see this work. But I don’t think there is, and even though as I mentioned before I know real life is this way -without closure- I don’t usually want my fiction to read that way.
However, those are my only caveats. I thought this was a gripping and well-written tale of love, lust, and the decisions we make when those two things are involved.
I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well-written story of love and the struggles in reality. Keep in mind this is a story of an affair, from the perspective of “the other woman”. I liked reading that side of the story because it was eye-opening and engaging. It makes you wonder how you’d handle certain choices if your soul mate was already taken.
*UPDATE as of 3/9: This book is intended to be the first of a three-book series. This definitely pleases me to know!
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
About Michelle Dim-St. Pierre
Born in Tel-Aviv, Michelle lived through four wars and served in the Israel Defense Forces for two years. She practiced for 32 years in the surgical field and health care administration. A full-time writer, she is a world traveler who enjoys cooking epicurean food.
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