You Can't Force Love

Fiction - Realistic
215 Pages
Reviewed on 10/10/2018
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Award-winning author, Marie Drake lives in a small town near Lake Ontario with her husband, four sons, and three rescue pups. With many years of experience in the Foster Care community and advocating for other victims and survivors, she specializes in realistic and psychological fiction depicting the lives of abuse sufferers; their obstacles, their triumphs, and their downfalls.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite

Marie Drake’s You Can't Force Love is a realistic novel with multi-layered characters. We encounter two sophisticated characters, drawn from two different worlds and thrust together in the same foster home. The only thing that Jordan Fry and Kimberly Orvine have in common is the fact that they have both lost a parent. While Kimberly is bent on self-destructive behaviors and determined to punish herself, Jordan thinks he can change his past and he believes that by focusing on Kimberly, he can trump his past and set out on a better path. He couldn't be more wrong because Kimberly only sees in him the provocation to plunge deeper into the darkness that pulls her. Can Jordan change her or will she end up unleashing the fire in him?

You Can't Force Love is a tale filled with powerful lessons on love, tolerance, and personal development. It is entertaining while asking serious questions on love and conviviality — can two people who are egocentric and diametrically opposed to each other find common ground and nurture a relationship? The author does a wonderful job with the characters, building them up with care and exploring the backgrounds that determine what they are today. From the beginning of the narrative, the reader sees that life is a huge challenge for Jordan but the way the author builds the conflict is impeccable. The world building is great with vivid elements of the setting, but what had me turning from page to page is the author’s exploration of the inner worlds of the characters — where the conflict begins. The dialogues are exciting and they move the story forward steadily. Marie Drake creates characters that readers will love and hate at the same time and a story that they won't put down even for a moment.

Viga Boland

In You Can't Force Love by Marie Drake, two sad young teens are brought together in a foster home after suffering abuse and/or neglect by those whom they trusted. Both are bent but not broken; however, they are at differing stages in their understanding and acceptance of what has happened to them, with Jordan making better progress than Kimberly. Jordan desperately wants to turn his life around and come out on top. Kimberly has pretty much lost belief that she can ever be more than the image she projects: that of a slut. She feels she is to blame for what has happened to her and invites punishment. Jordan, on the other hand, sees her as a “battered butterfly” and, with his love, wants to help her fly again. Can Kimberly ever see herself as someone worth loving and full of potential? Jordan, and the good foster family in whose care they are placed, have their work cut out for them with Kimberly: her behaviour constantly invites trouble. That trouble comes to a head just as Jordan is graduating and about to begin a career…and that trouble could land them both in prison. How could things turn so bad when the future was finally looking bright?

You Can't Force Love by Marie Drake is haunting, touching and frightening. It’s also near impossible to put down, has a well-constructed plot, and characters one won’t easily forget, especially the protagonists, Jordan and Kimberly. What Marie Drake brings to You Can’t Force Love is a solid and compassionate understanding of the long-term effects of abuse. She also is clued in to how teens think and act: she knows what’s important to them, like status, image and friendship. Through an excellent handling of dialogue and reflection, and only a necessary amount of narration, Drake allows readers to draw their own conclusions about each character in this realistic story that deals with important social issues. You Can’t Force Love is most deserving of five stars.

Divine Zape

You Can't Force Love by Marie Drake is a beautiful story that explores themes of brokenness, love, and redemption. Jordan Fry and Kimberly Orvine are two kids who have suffered the loss of a parent and who have been abused in ways that have hurt them deeply. They both find themselves in the same foster home, but they have two diametrically different personalities. While Kimberly thinks she deserves to suffer for her past and embarks on a path that creates more pain for her, Jordan sees in her an opportunity to right the wrongs of his past. He thinks that by developing a meaningful connection with Kimberly and positively influencing her, he’ll make amends for his past behaviors and bad deeds. But can he make her listen to him or will her stubborn hotheadedness only provoke the beast in him? It will be interesting to find out.

This is a well-imagined story, realistic, and thought-provoking. The author creates characters that are both psychologically and emotionally rich, reinforcing the conflict by exploring their backgrounds and highlighting their differences. The humanity of the characters comes out perfectly through the narrative. The emotional conflict is strong and, as the story moves forward, it is strengthened by the psychological depth of the story. This is one of those stories that will arouse diverse and powerful emotions in readers as they watch the protagonist, Jordan, struggle to contain himself. One keeps wondering if he can hold on for long. You Can't Force Love features strong writing, filled with vivid descriptions and images that will stay in the minds of readers. Themes of love and freedom, of pain and redemption, of trust and self-acceptance are expertly written into a tale that is as entertaining as it is thought-provoking.

Faridah Nassozi

Being raised by abusive and neglectful parents often has a lifelong impact on the victim. In You Can't Force Love by Marie Drake, this is something Kimberly and Jordan had in common. Jordan grew up battling demons on multiple fronts - the demons that lived in his stepfather's fists and even darker demons that lived inside his own body. When his mother chose her new husband over him, Jordan was sent to live with a grandfather who was a total stranger. However, even with a new home, a new life and new friends, the dark passion inside him could not be contained, eventually erupting and resulting in great tragedy that landed him in a foster home, where he eventually met Kimberly. Kimberly might just be the key to Jordan's salvation but only if he can hold his demons at bay. If he gives in to the temptation, he knows only too well what might happen, but Kimberly's rebellious spirit does not help his cause.

You Can't Force Love by Marie Drake is a compelling read that will leave you with mixed emotions of love, anger and empathy about its main characters. At times you might want to hug Jordan and take away all his troubles and then at other times you will just want to stay as far away from him as possible. The book captures the turmoil inside him, leaving you unsure whether to love him or hate him, but one thing for sure is that you will be rooting for him to win his battles. The story captures the essence of what it means to grow up under a dark cloud of domestic abuse, both physical and emotional, and how its effects stay with the victims for a very long time, often spiraling into every aspect of their lives.

Kristy Vee

In the most tender years of their lives, they’d been overworked to exhaustion, exploited, abandoned, and cast aside. Dominated by thoughts of dangerously uncontrolled lust and painful secrets, each is searching for one thing; happiness. In their efforts to find peace, process the past abuse, and wrangle with their individual demons, the pair struggles to make sense of what they really want from the other and why. Eventually, there comes a time when they must face the reality of who they’ve been and who they want to be in this world. Will Kimberly and Jordan learn that when they begin to make decisions that aren’t coming from a place of pain, longing, and desperation, they just may find what they’re searching for? One thing’s for sure… It won’t be easy deciding which path to take, who with, and what to do with the shameful secrets they carry.

You Can’t Force Love (Locked Hearts Book 1) by Marie Drake is a touching story about Kimberly Orvine and Jordan Fry, and their desire to find love and healing after years of trauma. I found You Can’t Force Love to be an easy-flowing, interesting read full of realistic situations and characters. The powerlessness and naivety of those who’ve been damaged by people who should’ve loved and cared for them is spot on. The author does an amazing job at expressing the inner thoughts of traumatized children and their efforts to cope with confusion, self-hate, repressed anger and sadness, as they’ve never been shown the tools to manage those emotions in a healthy way. A five-star read all the way.