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Reviewed by Hilary Hawkes for Readers' Favorite
Malice Intent: Is Love Worth Dying For? is Alba Castillo’s true account of her life and harrowing experiences of successive involvements with abusive partners. Alba’s father treated her mother badly and this experience became the root cause of her later unconscious tendency to choose men who turned out to be manipulative, belittling and cruel. Always capable and independent, Alba rejected her mother’s wishes for her to marry locally and devote herself to being a wife and mother. Determined to find her own way and make her own decisions, Alba moved away and worked hard to support herself – particularly once she became a mother to three children by three different fathers. The strain of enduring the abuse led her to alcoholism and drug addiction at one point. Her husband’s lies led to the court order that removed their daughter from her care. But Alba’s love and concern for the safety of her children and her determination to beat the cancer that tormented her physically and mentally drives her onwards with faith, a remarkable resourcefulness and willingness to overcome the chains of her past.
Alba Castillo’s story is an admirably brave and honest account that draws attention to the plight of the abused and the incredibly difficult task they may have in breaking patterns of behavior that unconsciously draw them to yet more abusive relationships. Malice Intent is an eye-opener for many as it reveals the pain and frustration that accompanies the author’s reflections and regrets. Castillo states that she has written this book in order to help other victims to help themselves, and to realize that staying in an abusive relationship will harm and pass on effects to children with the danger that the cycle will be repeated again. The story shows that developing self-insight is so often not enough to escape such relationships; the author describes the co-dependency so well.
Malice Intent is a well-written book that moves with detail, but at the same time a good pace, through the author’s life to date. People and situations are described with clarity - I began to feel I knew the various real life characters mentioned - and readers will be rooting for Alba and her children from the start. More than autobiographical, this book has an honesty, courage, empathy and vulnerability that make it an enlightenment and inspiration to others. Alba Castillo eventually learns to put herself and her loved ones first, to forgive herself for her mistakes and to never give up on making life better.