Guest Review: Under Mr. Nolan’s Bed Trilogy by Selena Kitt

Posted June 23, 2013 by Judith in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review:  Under Mr. Nolan’s Bed Trilogy by Selena KittReviewer: Judith
Nolan Trilogy: Temptation, Confession, Grace by Selena Kitt
Published by Self-Published, Selena Kitt
Publication Date: May 15th 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 628
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four-half-stars

What happens when you fall in love with your best friend's father... in the 1950s... the perfect "innocent" backdrop for this wicked coming-of-age romance trilogy!

--------- FROM NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING & AWARD WINNING AUTHOR SELENA KITT --------- "It's like Flowers in the Attic meets Eyes Wide Shut..."

"Lead us not into temptation..." ~Matthew 6:13

NOLAN TRILOGY COMPLETE SET This series has over 100 Amazon Reviews and an average 4.5 rating! Fans say, "This is the BEST trilogy I ever read!"

TEMPTATION CONFESSION GRACE

This edgy, page-turning saga isn't just a trilogy, it's an enthralling reading experience, a non-stop roller coaster ride of emotion that will keep you on the edge of your seat, giving you cliffhanger after cliffhanger until the final, jaw-dropping climax.

The mystery and secrets revealed in this new Selena Kitt Classic will have you praying for forgiveness before it's all over, but in the end, will restore your faith in the triumph of the human spirit and the overwhelming power of love.

TEMPTATION

What happens when you fall in love with your best friend's father?

Leah is a good, Catholic girl, and she and Erica have been best friends since their first communion. Sure, Erica's father is handsome and charming, but Leah spends so much time at the Nolan's--just Erica and her famous, photographer father now, since Erica's mother died--that she's practically part of the family.

Both girls have led privileged, sheltered lives and are on the "good girl" track at St. Mary Magdalene's Preparatory College, Leah pursuing her love of dance and Erica sating her endless curiosity as editor of the newspaper. Neither of them could have ever imagined that one fateful discovery will not only push the boundaries of their strict, repressive upbringing, but the bonds of their friendship as well.

Leah certainly never could have imagined finding herself torn between her best friend and her best friend's father. Sure, Leah's mother had always talked about Mr. Nolan as "a catch," but Leah herself had never thought of him as anything other than just Erica's dad--until the girls discover something darkly erotic under Mr. Nolan's bed, a deep, shameful secret that will not only lead them into temptation, but will deliver them into a far greater revelation than any of them could ever have imagined.

If you read the original Under Mr. Nolan's Bed, you will find this retelling a richer experience with deeper secrets to reveal.

CONFESSION

The shocking discovery best friends Leah and Erica have made under Mr. Nolan's bed has them down the wicked path of temptation, both girls veering far from the narrow path dictated by their strict Catholic upbringing, and their sexual transgressions have had unintended consequences.

Erica finds her life turned upside down when Leah falls for Erica's father, but just as Erica is beginning to accept their love for each other, Leah disappears. Bewildered and abandoned, Erica and Mr. Nolan are faced with sadness and confusion at their loss, but while Mr. Nolan spirals into mourning, Erica is determined to find her friend.

Erica can't possibly know why Leah has vanished, but when she enlists the help of Father Michael, her search and the real reason for Leah's disappearance intersect to uncover a multitude of shocking confessions and a secret that will shake not only the foundation of their faith, but the entire institution of the Catholic Church itself.

GRACE

Childhood friends Leah and Erica have been sacrificial lambs at the altar of a scandalous corruption within the Catholic Church, violated by those who have, in their lust for power, turned the sacred profane.

The mystery of Leah's disappearance results in a long-awaited reunion, but it is tainted by both their loss of innocence and a deep, unfathomable sorrow, which only leads to more secrets.

OMG!! I say it again: OMG, what an amazing set of novels. Just to have read one would have been mind boggling, but I sat down and read all three from start to finish. I literally galloped through but know that I will be going back and re-reading this trilogy in the near future.

This beautifully written set of novels is, by the author’s own statement, on its third re-write, and now the story has been moved into the sexually oppressed 50’s with all it’s hiddenness about the human body, when school boards were at the core of community fights over sex education in the public schools, and when social mores and the influence of church and family was far stronger than it is today. I think it must be difficult for younger contemporary readers to even conceive of some of the worries teens had in those days, but as one who was a high school student during the 50’s, I well remember the was sex was discussed formally as well as the whispers and gossip in cloak rooms (they still existed in schools), beside hall lockers, and in gym locker rooms. (I don’t think athletic locker rooms, even in public clubs as well as connected to professional sports have changed all that much.) In this story there are two teenage girls who are on a journey of discovery. They have been best friends, sort of like the joined-at-the-hip kind of best friends, with one girl being the “educator” of the other as they discover and savor the sexual photographic treasures found under the bed and in locked caches of one girl’s father, the titular Mr. Nolan. He is a widower, a middle aged man who has made his fame and fortune as a photographic genius, world-reknown and the artist that many young photographic wannabees look to. Few if any individuals know that Mr. Nolan has a world-class cache of erotica, home-grown porn films and such that he thinks are safe from his daughter but said daughter is viewing said erotica freely and greatly adding to the information archives of her best friend. If that were all this story was about, it would be interesting. What has made it riveting is that as these girls grow in their awareness of sexuality in themselves and others, they are also gradually becoming aware that something is very “off” about this whole collection.

Be prepared: this story gets ugly and it is emotional and draining and the kind of shocker that is set in historical reality. That’s probably what makes it so raw and unyielding in its content as well as the way all that is going on in the context affects the lives of these girls and those around them. You have Leah’s mom, a single mom who has managed to make her way in the world, who is executive secretary to a prominent attorney who may or may not be her lover, and who is deeply committed to her Roman Catholic faith as are all the players in this story. She was best friends with Mr. Nolan’s now-dead wife, a woman who absolutely insisted that her daughter be given the best of a Catholic education as did Leah’s mom. You have two Catholic priests, one is the Monsignor and the other a parish priest, both of whom are highly visible in the story and who waft in and out of the lives of these two girls. The younger priest becomes focus of an infatuation by Mr. Nolan’s daughter, a longing that she knows can never be fulfilled but which brings this young girl and this frustrated priest into a very suspect relationship. This story may very well offend those who have been made very uncomfortable by the contemporary church sexual scandals, but this author has been bold to write about stuff that was deeply hidden and carefully protected until the ripple effect brought down the house of cards, so to speak. However, lives were terribly damaged and relationships ruined because of secrets–the dark and evil kind of secrets that gave power to the wrong kind of people.

I guess my sense with this trilogy was that we all need to visit the dark side from time to time. We all need to be reminded that none of us can ever allow ourselves to lose sight of the fact that there is a perverse and potentially hurtful part of all of us and that capacity to hurt can do unthinkable things when it is “let out to play.” That there is redemption for some of the people in this story is the “light at the end of the tunnel.” Be prepared, however, to be shocked and stunned at the way it all plays out because I really don’t think any reader will be able to predict what happens nor can anyone truly be prepared for how lives are changed because of the evil that is turned loose over several generations.

Let me emphasize again, that there is indeed redemption here. There are moments when the reader will be overwhelmed with the long-term effects of one individual’s actions; there will also be portions of the story that will restore the reader’s faith in the goodness of people. There is deep hurt here that the author has exposed with a sure hand, raw and open wounds that have not healed after many hears, deep sadness that just won’t go away. But all that is part of the mess these characters endure, some of which have been years in the making. There are some relationships that will be unwieldy to many readers, and Leah’s relationship with Mr. Nolan will both others. All in all, I just found it to be all of a piece, a look at lives that had been thrown out of whack long before these two girls had ever been born and which played out in very different ways.

Kudos to Ms Kitt for a gutsy piece of writing. I don’t know if I would have preferred to read these novels with distance and time between each one, or if I am glad to have been able to process them all together. Suffice it to say, they are overwhelming in their scope and in the emotional punch they deliver. Lots of sex–raw and sometimes dirty sex–but I never felt it was gratuitous outside the scope and dimensions of the story. Somehow it all fit.

So if you are up to a trilogy that will be some very serious, thought-provoking reading, then have at these three novels. They certainly gave me something to think about initially and the thoughts and feelings have continued on for many days.

I give this trilogy a rating of 4.75 out of 5.

You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.

This book  is available from CreateSpace in print or Excessica in eformat.  You can buy it here or here in e-format.

four-half-stars


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