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Cruel Beautiful World: A Novel - Caroline Leavitt

What a great story. It begins with an older woman taking care of two teenagers that were related to her that she started taking care of when they were very young. They were very young when she took over their care, but the reason why comes later in the book. The background of this woman, Iris, is really heartbreaking, but she takes it all in stride. She ends up being an incredible woman, strong and just an unbelievable woman.

Then there are the girls that she takes on to raise. One is 6 1/2 years old and the other is 5 year old. For Iris, they come out of nowhere. She takes them in and considers them her own children, not an easy job. Especially when the two girls have just lost both their parents. It's a rough ride for a while, but they begin to accept and love her.

As teenagers, they come into their own and that's when the trouble begin. I won't go any further, because I don't want to spoil anything. However, I will tell you that one of the girls believe their teacher who is in his 30's believes he's in love with him and leave with him and go to Pennsylvania to start a new life. I totally expected him to tie her up in the basement and feed her once a week and abuse her. However, he uses a psychological way to keep her from leaving.

I really, really loved this book. Although I had some projects going on, I seriously did not want to put this book down. There were so many things going on and I just had to know the answers.

The author did a great job in writing this book and I commend her on a great job. I would recommend this book to everyone. There were a lot of emotional moments and I really felt for the characters. I did not like Lucy's ending and I wanted more hurt and pain for William. I could name the punishments, but I will refrain from them. I will just say, they would not be comfortable or fun,

Huge thanks for Algonquin Books and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest review.