Review "Tainted Love"


Tainted Love by Eva Márquez

“My name is Isabel Cruz, and I’m nineteen years old, almost twenty. I go to Lincoln University where I’m majoring in English. I’m a straight-A student, and I know what I’m doing with my life, but things weren’t always that way. Or rather, I’ve always known what I wanted, and it just hasn’t always gone along with society’s views. In high school, I had an affair with my swim coach. I wanted him, and I took what I wanted. We were together until I graduated, but he had a wife and kids, and I left him behind to come here. I left everything behind to come here. At least that’s what I thought.”
Isabel was never like the other girls at her school in the sleepy town of Hillside, California. At sixteen she fell in love with Tom, a married swim coach at Royal Oaks High School; their exhilarating and sultry affair continuing in secret for several years. Finally, Isabel realized that her own future had to come first, but even after relocating to Washington, D.C. to study at Lincoln University, she finds herself still wracked by guilt over jeopardizing the happiness and security of Tom’s young family. Now almost in her twenties and desperate to start a new chapter in her life, free from past controversies, Isabel will once again find that her beauty and precociousness will captivate another older man, this time a professor at her university. Confronted by this burgeoning affair, Isabel realizes just how deeply she still loves Tom and, in spite of the disapproval of her hometown community, her feelings become too strong to deny.
When Isabel returns to Hillside, reunited with Tom, she feels herself falling for him all over again, only this time with the tantalizing promise that things could really work out for them, especially since she is no longer the naive teen she used to be. But all is not as it seems; Isabel begins to hear rumors about Tom’s involvement with other girls at Royal Oaks High. Quickly this salacious gossip leaks to the local media and the authorities begin to investigate the claims. Only then does the true gravity of Isabel’s misguided choices begin to profoundly affect those around her and threaten to derail her life completely.
Tainted Love is the thrilling follow up to Sweetest Taboo by Eva Marquez, and rejoins Isabel Cruz as she tries to put her complex and forbidden romance with Tom behind her. Written from the perspectives of both Isabel and Tom, the irrational and desperate love they share is brought to vivid life by Marquez. Inspired by the conviction of one of her former high school teachers for sexual misconduct with a minor, it addresses a poignant modern taboo, one that is becoming increasingly common in the US, with unnerving insight and precision. Tainted Love is a must read for young adults, their parents and all fans of romantic fiction.


My rating: 

*Spoilers!* 
After Sweetest taboo I didn't really trust Tom after "the thing" with Christine, the blond who Isabel saw in Tom's truck. However, he did leave his wife and now says that he wants to be with her (Isabel), and did it it for her so that they can create a life together. 
Anyways, Isabel and Tom resume their relationship going to a bed & breakfast to spend some time together just the two of them, and rekindle their their love. 

Although my mind had many, many questions, my heart was steadfast and I held on to the belief that fate, destiny, kismet, or whatever you want to call it, was in charge of our future. In spite of the doubts in my mind, my heart was convinced that Tom and I were meant to be, that he loved me and only me, and that he had remained faithful throughout simply because he couldn’t imagine being with
anyone else. Was I being far too naïve, or was I being too hard on him? Was my mind really allowing my heart to take over so easily?

While on the B&B though Tom takes these phonecalls in the bathroom, very suspicious. Isabel also takes a call which we don't hear about because the POV changes to Tom. So yeah, this second book is a bit different as we not only read from Isabel's POV, but also gets Tom's POV.  He even tells us about the first time he saw Isabel and how it made him feel, how he shook her to the core. How he felt from the moment he saw her, like he already knew her and how no matter what he did he could not get her out of his mind.  

I didn’t know her yet,
but I was certain that life would bring us together. There was a connection
there, I was sure of it.

Another thing Tom also tell us about in more detail is how him and his wife got together. How they worked together and after due to a office christmas party where he had to bring a date asked her and that was that. After a couple of months they moved in together and that eventually led to them getting married. Later on when he get his teaching job and Danielle, his wife, continue their advertising business with a new man named Matthew. Tom suspects them to be having an affair, and at some point they go away together to a conference and only a month or so after Danielle tells him she is pregnant, even though they hadn't slept together for months - so Tom's suspsicions about her and Matthew are only intesified, but he doesn't do anything about it, just turns the other cheek and goes with it. They both ignore the obvious. 
So basically both his kids aren't even his. They're both Matthew's. Big shock there! Tom continued to stick with his wife and kids though, doing what he felt was right. 
It is so sweet to hear Tom speak of all this and say how despite them not being his real children he still loved them like they were. 

As a teacher, and as an adult, I’d always done what was right. I
was even taking care of my wife and her daughters, though I knew they
weren’t actually mine, simply because it was the right thing to do. Looking at
a student the way I was looking at Isabel was definitely not the right thing to
do. But the simple fact was that I couldn’t keep my eyes off of her. I tried, boy
did I try, but it was futile.

It's weird.. I started the book being very suspicious about Tom, but then it shifts to his POV and it's all 'isn't he sweet' hearing him talk about his first sighting of Isabel, how he got closer to her etc. Also more and more I understand  what it is between them. 
It's almost like the roles change from Isabel being suspicious about his phonecalls to the other way around when she takes a phonecall and won't tell him about it. 
I found myself breathing a sigh of relief when Tom finally confirms that there was nothing going on with him and Christine, that he's her godfather, even and would not even think about starting anything with her.  

Another person's POV we also get it Isabel's brother, Tony. This happens after he spots Isabel and Tom in a town. It gives a clear point of how he sees the relationship between the two. Tony believes that Tom is using Isabel and she's a victim. Tony gives himself a mission, to break Tom and Isabel up. 

Once you get to read the story from both POV you see that Isabel and Tom have a lot of doubt regarding their relationship, neither never fully trusting the other. I don't blame them for this because of the relationship they have, and after all they've been through it must be hard. 

So, Isabel....Professor Wellings?! Who is he Isabel... what the... 
- apparently it's Isabel's philosophy professor. She developed a crush on him the first day of school. 

I hate how first she sleept with her professor and then Tom finally gets a hold of her and tells he can't do it anymore and then she just lies to him! Tells him that it's college taking all her time so she hasn't been able to return his calls... Got me very mad at Isabel. 

It's so awful to read how the people make up stories about the teacher and that it went so far that one of the teachers actually shot himself.. 

I can't believe how Isabel can say that her heart still belongs to Tom meanwhile still continue to have a "relationhip" and sex with her professor. 
She keeps making all these accusations against Tom, how she doesn't trust him and how she might believe him guilty of all the rumors going on and again she's not looking at herself! I mean she's with her professor, ignoring Tom's calls and I just... ugh it makes me so mad how she can say those things about him without looking at herself and what she's doing! 
She feels like he's making excuses when it's what she is doing everytime she talks or writes to him.. 

So back home, Tom is once again accused of sleeping with students, three cheerleaders this time and it's looking bad. Tony even writes Isabel telling her to stay away during christmas because of everything going on. 
I feel so bad for Tom, his house is getting egged, his picture on the front page of the newspaper saying he's guilty in all these things.. And he has to go through it all by himself. 

I'm glad to see that later on Isabel is actually not doubting Tom as much as before. Before she would jump to the wrong conclusions and say stuff like now he did this and this, but later she's thinking more about how other people might be using him instead. 
Isabel actually believes that he is not involved with the cheerleaders. She doesn't just jump to conclusions and suspect him of being guilty but believe and trust in him. 
She even wants to rescue him and goes home to see him. When she gets there though, someone is going into his house and she hurries to take off instead of letting him explain, or rather if she stayed she would have seen who it was, bit of course not. Where would the fun be in that ;) 

Overall, Isabel just really annoyed me in this book.. The things she does, says and thinks..she's such a hyprocrite all how can Tom do this and that when he says he loves me.. take a look at yourself Isabel! When it started I was like this is nice, she's a bit more mature now so she should make the same mistakes as when she was younger, but she does. She comits to a releationship with Tom and yet when she goes back to College she avoids him and starts sleeping with her professor. I prefered the book when it was in Tom's POV. I thought it good to see into his mind and see what he struggles with and how it all really is for him. 
So, Isabel being annoying didn't ruin the book for me. I just hope that in the next one this mess can be sorted out. 


About the author


Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, daughter of European immigrants, Eva Márquez has spent most of her life outside of her home country. At the age of five, Eva accompanied her parents to the United States, where the family settled permanently. After graduating from college, she went on to complete graduate studies in International Relations in Spain. Eva received her Master of International Studies degree from the University of Sydney and went on to work in the global health field in Sub Saharan Africa and South East Asia. Eva currently resides in Southern Africa with her young daughter.

You can get the books here:
Get Sweetest Taboo from amazon!
Get Tainted Love from amazon!

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