Natasha's Prison

Healing From Your Prison I Never Knew I Was In

Romance - Contemporary
155 Pages
Reviewed on 04/10/2022
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

I often find myself in a world of fantasy moments before I am supposed to fall asleep. During these moments, I wander through valleys and alleys. These locations have formed the foundation of most of my creative writing over the years.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite

Natasha's Prison: Healing From Your Prison I Never Knew I Was In by Stefan Stevens portrays the rise and cataclysmic crash of a relationship, told from the point of view of the narrator named Harry. How Harry and Natasha originally connect is unclear, but when Harry picks Natasha up from the airport he assures his friends he knows what she looks like from photographs. The romantic relationship happens very soon after her arrival. They live in East Asia and Harry, who speaks in the first person and narrates from what resembles journal entries, is clearly head-over-heels for his fiancée. Natasha is conveyed as the same, at first, but a way into the book we are told she is not. Natasha is a sexually repressed bisexual woman in a family where same-sex relationships are unacceptable, and Harry is a broken man when Natasha decides she is going to live her life on her own terms.

I really did not see the surprising twist that Stefan Stevens provides within Natasha's Prison and the layer of doubt it places on Harry by the reader is one of the best shifts to proving that the narrator is unreliable. Harry is oblivious to his controlling, smothering selfishness and it is surreal when Stevens shines a light on it in part two, a feat he accomplishes by bathing a reader in the glow of Harry's “love” in part one. Part two magnifies Harry's attempts to isolate Natasha, ever-present when she gets her nails done or wants Harry-free time. His love is the type that will threaten to out the woman he loves to her family to shame her into staying with him when she is clearly happy and in love with another woman. He is open about how shocking it is that Natasha visits him in the hospital holding hands with her new partner and cannot recognize that she has no obligation to visit or speak to him ever again. Nor should she. Harry is a person with nothing to lose and that is why he is so dangerous. He has every right to be heartbroken over Natasha using him as the proverbial beard, but where Stevens' skill as a writer is most visible is in making us feel like Harry might be right—until it is so wrong that it is downright scary. Excellent storytelling!

Asher Syed

Natasha's Prison: Healing From Your Prison I Never Knew I Was In by Stefan Stevens is about a man named Harry who deeply loved a woman named Natasha, but it was not meant to be. The stories of Harry and Natasha's time together in a relationship are provided in two parts, and within them the memories Harry narrates are told in slice-of-life vignettes. Part one is something of a rose-colored version of the relationship where Harry speaks of an intense, consuming love they shared, and when and how this began to change. It ends with poems and writing that read like veiled suicide notes. Part two is written after the break-up and is not as flattering, dissecting how it all fell apart and describing Natasha in a far less favorable light. It also reveals Harry's genuine misconceptions about what love is, and the difficulty of reconciling acceptance and understanding with pain when the true sexual identity of a former partner comes to light.

Natasha's Prison by Stefan Stevens is going to split readers into two camps, with almost no middle ground. Team Harry are the readers who view love as meaning to fight for what you want and the person you want, no matter what. Harry is a man who sees all he ever desired in Natasha and believes himself incapable of life without her. He is so desperately attached to the idea of having only her that even when Natasha has moved on and is practically married to another woman, he cannot accept that she is gone for good. More importantly, although she is gay, he still tries to get her back. Team Natasha are the readers who view love as a well that is shared but still drifts freely. They will agree that a relationship is between two individuals who are together, relishing time shared without losing respect for personal boundaries, while recognizing that the relationship is stronger and healthier when individual identities remain intact. From a technical literary standpoint, the writing takes a while to piece together the plot, but for readers looking for a raw account from the point of view of a male lover left by his partner, this will likely fit the bill.

Miche Arendse

Natasha’s Prison by Stefan Stevens follows Harry’s account of his relationship with Natasha and the bond that the two shared. As soon as they met, they were practically inseparable, doing everything together and facing the world head-on by each other’s side. The duo spent the first couple of years travelling in China before moving to Thailand. In the end they decide to move back to China and settle down there for good. Everything seemed to be going perfectly between them until a text message changed the course of their relationship. In the wake of severe depression Harry decides to tell his story for any person who may be going through the same thing or something similar.

Natasha’s Prison by Stefan Stevens was a heartwrenching and emotionally provocative story. Starting out very light-hearted, we see the progression of Harry and Natasha’s relationship from the first time they meet. The story is told from Harry’s perspective, making it that much more personal and emotionally driven. We see the ups and downs, the fights, and the moments of pure love between the two and it truly allows you to become immersed in the story. It’s like having a close friend tell you their life story. I truly enjoyed reading this book and was left in quite a state at various moments throughout. It takes true talent to write a book that can evoke such deep emotion within the reader and that’s why I would highly recommend this book to anyone.