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Eden makes characters relatable

Good Reads

staff writer

Published: Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Updated: Wednesday, February 26, 2014 23:02

If you are a romance junkie like me, then you’ll like “As You Are,” by Sarah M. Eden.

Now, I’ve read all of her books that are out there, and this one is just as good as the others. The book is titled accurately, because “As You Are” is the theme of the book. Eden seems to be saying that no matter your past or your present, you can still be loved just as you are. There’s no need to be someone you’re not.

It’s a great theme, is it not? I mean, who doesn’t have a past? We all have skeletons in our closet, and some are worse than others. We all have regrets and past mistakes we would rather not dwell on. Even though those things may be a part of us or our past, it doesn’t mean we can’t be loved or respected. I once saw a meme that said, “Don’t judge me by my past. I don’t live there anymore.” Even though Clara Bentford hadn’t done anything wrong without justification, she still had a horrible past which she would rather forget. That meme definitely speaks to her.

Just as we have our pasts we try to run from, we also have our faults. Poor Corbin is shy. With every word he tries to say, it becomes fumbled and is hardly ever eloquent. This is taken the wrong way by Clara — like that never happens. I can’t tell you how many times I have misinterpreted something someone said, did, or even their look and expression they gave. It’s part of the human experience, I suppose, to take things the wrong way, and this book is full of that.

In defense of Corbin though, I believe we live in the age of awkwardness. That word is overused and people like Corbin — and me — who are shy and fumble over our own tongues are definitely awkward. The spelling of the word itself is awkward. It just looks weird. However, Eden has a talent to make you sympathetic to Corbin’s weakness. There were only a few instances when “awkward” popped into my head while reading, or rather, “that would have been so awkward if that was me,” but others may be saying it more than I.

However, despite pasts and human faults, the true character comes out for both characters. They come to have respect for each other and to understand each other. Besides the goodness of these characters, there are two villains whose characters are revealed. They are horrible. They are bad enough to give anyone the heebie-jeebies. I must admit, one of my favorite parts included someone being punched in the face. There was another time when I was chanting “Punch his face, punch his face.” Though that didn’t happen, you may be rest assured they deserved it.

And the frying pan; remember “Tangled?” There is definitely a “Tangled” moment in the book, which was quite spectacular and hilarious. I guess the message here is this: Don’t mess with a woman with a tree branch or a frying pan. Alternatively, don’t mess with the woman that a man really, really likes. He will threaten you, ruin your reputation and probably do you bodily harm. So just don’t.

Especially don’t do this when there are children involved. There’s this little girl named Alice. She is spunky and cute. She reminds me of my neighbors down the street back at home. They have a 3-year-old named Alice. The similarities between real Alice and fictional Alice is quite scary, actually. Fictional Alice likes to play peek-a-boo at church. Real Alice likes to run around during church, making her parents chase her. They both say the darndest things. All children do it, but whenever fictional Alice said something, I could always imagine real Alice with her mouth full of pretzels saying the exact same thing.

Oh, man. The way the conflict is resolved is very satisfying indeed. I love it when all the aristocracy pull rank and exact revenge in the finest fashion. You can’t help smirking or smiling at the jerks’ reactions to such treatment. Sigh.

If you have a soft spot for animals, particularly four-legged equestrian animals, then you’ll also love this book. There’s some good old-fashioned humor and everything you could possibly want in a good book. Though some would argue this is no literary masterpiece, I think it depends what you get out of it. Books are amazing with the power that they bestow. They can whisk you away from the world and troubles that you are living through. They can offer perspective. They make you laugh or cry, thinking deeply or dumbly — if that is a word. Most important of all, they can offer enjoyment. I definitely enjoyed this book, though I am tired from staying up to read it. But it was worth it.

Marissa Neeley is a freshman majoring in history with an emphasis in history teaching. She is an avid reader, reading anything from historical fiction and fantasy to romance and nonfiction. Send any comments to marissa.neeley@aggiemail.usu.edu. 

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