Hi guys and welcome to another book review!! Today’s review is of Against Their Will by Carolyn Courtney Lauman. This is my first book review with Reedsy Discovery and I’m super excited!! Against Their Will is a captivating thriller with amazing writing, compelling characters, and an intriguing plot.
Book: Against Their Will
Author: Carolyn Courtney Lauman
Summary: A holiday drive to Florida ends tragically for Izzy and Maria when their car breaks down outside a rural North Carolina bar. Kidnapped by two brutally sadistic men, the sisters are held captive in a remote fishing cabin. As the men become increasingly unhinged, their savagery intensifies, propelling the young women into a desperate fight for their lives.
Decades and distance have healed their physical injuries, but Izzy and Maria’s once-close relationship has failed to survive in the aftermath of their nightmare. Estranged and living on opposite coasts, they rarely see or speak to each other.
Now, one of the kidnappers has been released from prison, vowing to exact his revenge on Izzy and Maria. As a hurricane rages around them, the sisters endeavor to repair their bond, confronting many hard truths in the process. Can they reconcile in time to defeat the demons from their past?
Many thanks to Reedsy Discovery for giving me a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
Quote: I’m not sure if I’m just punishing myself by pushing away everything I used to love.
Izzy and Maria are best friends as well as sisters who are travelling from their home in Pennsylvania for a holiday with friends in Florida. On the way, their car breaks down, sending the girls to a dodgy bar in hopes of finding a mechanic to help them. What happens though, destroys their once close bond, and leaves the girls fighting for their lives.
I really liked Maria. She’s a fighter, someone determined to survive no matter what’s thrown at her. I didn’t really connect to Izzy, but the story doesn’t follow her life so we don’t really get to know her. However, both sisters fiercely love one another and are determined to survive the horror that they’ve been through. I also understood why they drifted apart, and was really hoping that they reconciled in the end.
Quote: I am angry with everyone and no one at the same time.
Billy and Frank were horrible monsters, and I was shocked by their crimes. However, they were real people, with terrible pasts that may have driven them to do what they did to Maria and Izzy. That doesn’t justify what they did at all, but it makes them real, and not just characters who are evil just for the sake of the story.
One thing that could be changed, maybe, was seeing their interactions with Frank’s sister or maybe some of their friends. The only reason Frank’s sister had any role in the story was to testify, but it would have been interesting to see how Billy and Frank acted with her or their friends when they were sober. Their past was interesting, but it would help make them more believable characters if we had an idea of what they were like on a normal day.
I loved how thrilling the story was. I couldn’t put the book down until I finished Part I, and even then, I was still wondering and very excited to know what happened next. I’m a big fan of criminal trials, and the legal aspect of the story made me love it even more. The second half was just as good as the first, and I really enjoyed it. The ending was great; sad, but still very good, and I liked how Izzy and Maria were strong despite everything. The writing was also amazing!
In the end, this was an incredible fast-paced debut, with great characters, and a captivating plot.
Content Warnings: sexual assault, abuse, kidnapping, and explicit content
I’m so excited to have finally reviewed a book with Reedsy! I definitely recommend you give this book a try, and I really hope you enjoy it!