“Seared” is an intense psychological thriller by Sandra Gustafsson. Born to parents who showed her betrayal instead of unconditional love, Helena is a broken person. When she falls in love with a married man, she continues to live a life full of secrets and pain. As her story emerges, the reader sees that she is currently incarcerated because of something that happened to her boyfriend. Attending weekly appointments with a psychologist, the events that led up to this point are revealed. Helena’s mind takes her back to different events that happened in her life. These abusive and neglectful events taught her how to shut down and close herself off from others, both physically and emotionally, to protect herself.
When Helena meets her lover, she lets her guard down. Feeling sure that he truly loves only her, she tries to ignore his marital status. This becomes impossible when his wife becomes pregnant. In spite of the circumstances, Helena is certain that he truly wants to be with her. When she is forced to realize that this is not the case, she really begins to fall apart. The darkness and despair, which she has carried inside her for her whole life, completely engulfs her until she acts out in desperation. Her actions become her undoing.
“Seared” by Sandra Gustafsson really is appropriately titled, because Helena’s story stayed with me long after I finished the novel. The author truly brings the pain this character experienced to life when she tells her story. It is easy to see how she became the person that she did. It was also difficult to watch her suffer, as it felt so real to me. This is definitely a novel that should be read by people who enjoy intense psychological stories. It is not a light read.