The Torch Bearer's Exorcism
by Linda Luisa Varela Tychsen
Author Reputation Press LLC

"I no longer had any will of my own apart from the fervent desire he not stop or let go."

Cherie, a sophomore in college, is head over heels for David. Young and naïve in the ways of love and sex, Cherie begins a relationship of sorts with him, only to have her heart broken and her worldview become more jaded than before. Yet as life moves forward, Cherie can’t seem to escape David’s magnetic charm, finding herself drawn to him every time their paths cross.

The intensity of one’s first love is a story readers can relate to, and Cherie’s sharp mind and understanding of her feelings and shortcomings emphasize the thrill and confusion of a first relationship. When Cherie goes to college, it’s an escape from the sheltered, abusive household she grew up in. But because she has no frame of reference for a healthy relationship, she falls into the trap of being used by David.

Juxtaposed against Cherie’s recounts of college and her early life are stories of car accidents and dangerous situations. In almost all incidents, a man with no regard or care for her safety is present, and it points to an unsettling truth about how women are sometimes regarded in everyday life. While the author or narrator writes that this story is not autobiographical or biographical, she does mention that many of the stories are true. Even though this novel is set against the backdrop of the mid-90s and later, the story itself is timeless, echoing women’s experiences. A heartbreaking tale of one-sided love, this story is one woman’s narrative of navigating love and relationships, finding the strength to leave toxic situations, and learning to love herself.

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