In the Red

Elena Shapiro
In the Red
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Little Brown
Release Date
September 2014
Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance

A darkly erotic novel about a good girl gone bad.

When Irina--Romanian by birth but brought up by American parents who have never understood her-arrives at college she quickly abandons ordinary student life for an affair with an older, mysterious Romanian man named Andrei.

Andrei awakens a powerful sensuality in Irina. And he has money - lots of it. For the first time, Irina feels free. But the longer she stays with Andrei, the more she is certain that she can't leave, and that may be complicit in Andrei's work - whatever that "work" might be. Then an unexpected friendship with a young Russian bride opens the door to escape, and also revenge.

A tantalizing, edgy exploration of women and love, power and money-interwoven with potent, unusual, and nervy Romanian fairy tales-In the Red asks what the legacy of love is, and who will be left unscathed.

Book Review by BJ (reviewer)
Sep 24, 2014   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
184 people found the following review helpful
4 "How to Begin" stars.

This is unlike any other book I have ever read before. Please note that although this book has elements of a dark romance, it is labeled women's fiction, not romance. All that said, I do believe there is a love story embedded in this book, albeit not one with all the traditional elements typically included in a romance novel. So if you're looking for a story that will leave you warm and fuzzy, then this is not it. On the other hand, if you want a glimpse into what causes the oppressed to become evil, and the common to rebel against the order, then look no further.

When college student, Irina, a Romanian orphan who is adopted by Romanian parents, meets an older, mysterious Romanian man, Andrei, they are instantly attracted to one another. Before long she moves in with him and becomes his kept woman. Spending her days leisurely using his wealth to shop, her life becomes one mission to remain attractive to him. Soon she finds that even though she had a promising college career, she is willing to give it all up for Andrei. Even as Andrei's true nature becomes clear to her, including the illicit nature of his ventures, Irina is incapable of escaping.

When one of Andrei's two close business associates out of nowhere announces that he is getting married to a young Russian girl no one has previously met, Irina suspects that she is a mail order bride. Knowing that with his money, Andrei's associate could easily get any American bride he wanted, Irina suspects a more nefarious reason for his choice. Not wanting to pry, Irina and Elena become friends. Spending their days shopping and blissfully ignorant of the men's "business" activities, and their nights shrouded in privacy from one another as to their partners' passionate interests, Irina and Elena's friendship strengthens. Eventually it is this friendship that forces Irina to "escape", even when she feels as if she can't, and leads to her revenge.

I have to admit that I had a hard time getting into this book. The style employed of switching back and forth in time and between the main story and the Romanian tales was difficult to follow at first. Eventually it all comes together but it takes some determination to get to that point.

All in all, I found IN THE RED to be a thought-provoking read. In addition, on its general tale of the corrupting power of oppression, I think this book proves that not everything is black and white, and it is for the most part in these gray areas that we spend the most time trying to discern what is truly right and wrong.
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