Limerence

Limerence - Claire C. Riley Mia’s life is going well. She has a job she enjoys, she’s madly in love with her fiancé, Oliver; he’s just found a new job that promises to pay well and be both intriguing and challenging. She has her family, she has her friends, everything is looking bright Until Robert Breckt, Oliver’s new employer comes to tow. Rich, powerful – and a vampire. A vampire who quickly becomes utterly obsessed with Mia in a way that defies all reason or restraint. Breckts obsession consumes him in his pursuit of Mia, just as his powers slowly batter at her life, drying to draw her to him.Mia has to fight to hold on to what she wants – what she truly wants – and walk a difficult maze between love and obsession.This is a review that is going to be a difficult one for me. Because it’s exactly what it says on the tin, we know exactly what it is and it does that extremely well. But what it does isn’t something I’m a big fan of. While at the same time I am very impressed with the cleverness of what it does do.The book is called “Limerence.” For those unfamiliar with the term, Limerence is a sexual obsession – it’s being romantically attracted to someone and having a complete and utter obsessive need to have that romance reciprocated beyond all reason.And that is exactly what is portrayed. Actually, it’s a little disturbing that what this book very accurately labelled as “Limerence” in so many paranormal romances is portrayed as “true love”. It makes me wonder if the author is trying to make a commentary on the truly horrendous behaviour that is excused in the name of romance in the genre in general. Even if they haven’t, it does an excellent job.When Breckt arrives in town he sees Mia and becomes utterly and completely obsessed with her. I don’t know if it’s supposed to be part of the woo-woo of being a vampire or whether it’s his own personal obsession – and I like that it isn’t made clear either way what it is. Because whether it was woo-woo or just him, this outright obsession is still as debilitating regardless of its cause. And it is debilitating to him. It’s not romantic and sweet and “awww look how in love he is”. It’s distracting. He becomes distracted from his tasks, he becomes ineffective at his mission, his obsession intrudes on his thoughts all the time, leaving him unable to focus on anything else, unable to achieve anything. He even stops looking after himself properly.Obsession isn’t romantic and shiny – it’s toxic and consumingAnd so it goes to Mia, the target of his “affections.” At no point does she consider it romantic – and his using his powers on her causer the same level of obsession in her and to the same effect. And so often we see protagonists in this genre isolated – and in Paranormal Romance they leave the few ties they have behind to be with their true love; well Mia has a family. She has parents, she has friends, she has colleagues, she has a fiancé, Olvier. Being taken from these people isn’t a sign of her entering into a new life, nor is their loss inconsequential: the obsession and his use of his powers cause her to be isolated, to lose her life and everything she values.At every point Mia fights desperately against the magical attraction even as it draws her in. No matter how much the book spends describing just how much she wants Breckt, that description never overwhelms the fact the attraction is entirely non-consensual and her actions are being coerced. There’s even a terrifying sexual assault scene which, even with vampire woo-woo making her want him and need him etc etc she still thinks of AS terrifying and an assault.Even her friend Rachael has her mind altered and – well, rather becomes a stereotype of so many hostile female characters in the genre. She becomes aggressive, she grows to hate and resent Mia; she attacks Mia for no reason and feels unreasoning and excessive jealousy beyond any common sense. But it is manipulated from her and, when snapped out of it in a glorious rejection of domestic violence, she is there and supportive of Mia.Read More