Love, Desire, and Betrayal by Margaret Lynette Sharp


Love, Desire, and Betrayal by Margaret Lynette Sharp
Publisher: Self-published
Genre: Young Adult, Historical, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (167 pages)
Age Recommendation: 16+
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3 Stars
Review by: Astilbe

Four young women: Michaela, Sally, Amelia and Lauren. All Australian. All destined to find that the course of real love is not smooth sailing.

Four separate tales touching on a universal goal.

Will career ambitions jeopardize their futures?

The path to true love doesn’t always follow a straight line.

“Michaela Betrayed” had a fascinating protagonist. She was an incredibly talented young woman who doesn’t quite seem to realize it. Michaela’s humble approach to her musical abilities was refreshing. The plot stumbled a little in describing her romance with Thomas, though, due to how quickly she fell for him. It would have been helpful to have a few more scenes describing what she saw in him and why she was so attracted to him.

“The Sting of Life” started off so sweetly. Nathan and Sally’s relationship experienced a lot of changes after he went to college, and their reactions to these adjustments were amazingly realistic. What I really enjoyed about this novella, though, was how it ended. The final scene wasn’t something I predicted until right before it happened.

The opening scene in “Amelia’s Call” was beautiful. Weddings can be stressful for the bride and groom. The plot showed why and how the happiest day of someone’s life can also be the most exhausting in great detail. While I would have preferred to know why Amelia and Steven didn’t predict the biggest source of their stress ahead of time, I liked how honest the narrative was was about what happens when a couple disagrees about how to handle them.

It was surprising to see “Lauren Played” begin with Lauren reacting to the end of a relationship. This wasn’t how I was expecting her story to unfold, so I was quite curious to see what happened next. Her response was understandable, but it was also something I would have preferred to see more time spent developing given how often it is used in the romance genre. Lauren’s choices relied on so many tropes that I sometimes had trouble seeing her as a three-dimensional character.

These tales often mixed the technology of today with social mores about relationships, gender roles, and sex that were much more common 50 years ago. I’m still not entirely sure if they were supposed to be set in the present day or in the past. It would have been really helpful to have more hints about which time period the author was thinking of when she wrote them.

With that being said, I enjoyed getting to know these young women. All of them had backstories and personalities that I found charming, and I would be interested in reading sequels from any or all of them if the author ever decides to write one.

I’d recommend Love, Desire, and Betrayal to anyone in the mood for something bittersweet.


  1. I think this is a well-considered and very fair review in virtually all respects. Your cavil with what seemed to you to be anachronistic “social mores” was, I believe (albeit unintentionally), somewhat off-base, though.

    The author is Australian, I know her to some extent through goodreads, and I can only affirm that those *are* her social mores and those of many of her generation in that country. More important, though, is that part of her art is to evoke a gentler time in a contemporary context, and in any case, to write stories in which the decade really isn’t an essential element. She infuses her characters with some of her own (not contemporary American) sensibilities, and that *is* both an essential element and part of what is distinctive about her storytelling.

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