on January 9, 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Second Chance Romance
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Sometimes your life is split by a single decision.
I’ve spent every day of the last seven years regretting mine: he left, and I didn’t follow. A thousand letters went unanswered, my words like petals in the wind, spinning away into nothing, taking me with them.
But now he’s back.
I barely recognize the man he’s become, but I can still see a glimmer of the boy who asked me to be his forever, the boy I walked away from when I was young and afraid.
Maybe if he’d come home under better circumstances, he could speak to me without anger in his voice. Maybe if I’d said yes all those years ago, he’d look at me without the weight of rejection in his eyes. Maybe if things were different, we would have had a chance.
One regretted decision sent him away. One painful journey brought him back to me. I only wish I could keep him.
*A contemporary romance inspired by Jane Austen’s Persuasion*
“For time cannot stop, But moments, Seconds, A fleeting smile, A kiss in the sunlight, Can live forever. -M. White”
I loved this book a lot. So beautiful, so angsty and so full of feels, ALL the FEELS! This is the first time I read a Staci Hart book and let me tell you that it won’t be my last. This author definitely has a way with words, simply beautiful. Is as if I was reading this book in slow motion, I just didn’t want it to end. I was so invested in the story and the characters, it was such a great experience. You know how much I love my second chance romances, and this one has definitely become an instant favorite.
“I’d loved him since the second I first saw him, and though time had passed, though I thought I’d buried that love, it sprang fresh the second I saw him again. The moments I kept locked away broke their chains and pressed themselves into my mind.”
This story is based on Jane Austen’s Persuasion so if you an Austen fan, you will be able to spot some similarities (and also differences) between them. This story is equal parts beautiful, equal parts heartbreaking. Elliot Marie and Wade met and fell in love when they were really young. They spend a few years together and have lots of plans for the future. An unexpected request by one of them and an unexpected answer by the other causes them to separate and go their separate ways. However, neither of them were ever the same. Omg, the angst is so much, the feels so great, you can’t help but feel for both of them from the get go!
“The first time I saw him, I was fifteen and he was sixteen, the boy with the dark shock of hair and broad shoulders, with eyes gray and cool as December and a smile as bright and warm as June.
The last time I saw him, I was seventeen, and he stood before me with tears in his eyes as he begged me to say yes. Begged me to go with him. Begged me to be his forever. Begged me to change my mind. But I couldn’t. Didn’t matter how much I wanted to, because I did. I would have given him the world. But in the end, it hadn’t been up to me.”
Elliot’s best friend Sophie happens to be Wade’s sister. When Wade and Sophie’s dad Rick becomes terminally ill, Wade is forced to return home. And since Elliot is an integral part of the family, as she’s Sophie’s best friend and also Rick has always been her mentor, Wade is forced to face Elliot after 7 years. Let me tell you, this was quite the experience. From the moment they see each other again, you can feel the connection between them and the love they once shared. At the same time, there’s so much pain and so much hurt between them. Staci did an amazing job making me feel all these emotions that her characters were feeling. My chest was super tight the entire time.
“The boy who I walked away from lived on in the wreckage of my heart, and I never stopped wishing things had been different.”
“Elliot was a shock to my nervous system, a bucket of ice water down my back, and the clarity it brought stung all the way to my bones.”
There’s a lot going on in the book. Wade’s father’s illness plays a huge part on the story and is also beautiful and heartbreaking. At the same time, Elliot has this horrible family that I guarantee you will love to slap a few times. Elliot feels like time has gone by and her life is in a standstill. And Wade is now a soldier that has been affected by war and all the things he experienced back there. So, the road to each other’s lives for Elliot and Wade is definitely a hard one full of bumps. I believe the story was perfectly paced to accomplish that. A lot of the issues had to be resolved before they could be back together. A lot of healing and self-improvement occurs as the story goes on.
“I’d become an expert at compartmentalizing my feelings. It was the only way I survived, by stacking up dusty boxes in my heart for every hurt, packing them away in the dark. But times like these blew the dust off the tops, opening them up to free the old pain so they could do more harm in new ways.”
However, the love they have for each other is always very clear. Never for a moment did I doubt that they totally loved each other and that they deserved a second chance at happiness but they definitely had so much work to do. The exploration of what happens when couples separate and then find each other years later is one of the things I love the most second chance romances. In this story, they find out that even though they love each other and that’s undeniable, they are not the same people thy were years before, they have definitely changed. Whether that will make them stronger in the end is the real dilemma. But man is this book just full of feels.
“How could I explain that when he’d left, he’d taken me with him? How could I tell him he was all I wanted, and when he was lost to me, I lost all hope?”
“The only way I could have her was to beg for her forgiveness, apologize for pushing her, for leaving, for disappearing. But could we build on top of the wreckage of our past, or would it all fall apart, unstable and broken? There was only one way to know —I had to try.”
So let’s talk characters. My favorite character here was Elliot. I love her to pieces. I believe she was the center of the story and what made it a 5 star for me. Now, you know how I love my heroines to be strong and sassy, well Elliot is actually the opposite. She was a different kind of heroine, she was kind, silent and brave, really brave, but in a different way. In the beginning, I have to admit I was thrown off by this. She was extremely loyal to her family even when they were awful to her. A few characters throughout the story actually question her actions (or non-actions) and somehow she’s perceived as a doormat. Well, it’s her answers to those people that made me understand her and I immediately saw her in a different light.
“Braveness isn’t always loud. Sometimes it’s silent. There’s braveness in sacrifice and kindness. It’s in doing a thing that needs to be done, even though it’s hard, and even though it hurts.”
“It sounds like you’re saying that because I don’t stand up to them that I’m weak. But here’s the thing —there’s no point. Arguing will not change their behavior, and it helps no one, especially not me. I don’t suffer very often because I don’t let them hurt me. My being present is a choice. My enduring their judgment is a choice. My choice, and therein lies my power.”
Wade was a little harder for me to connect with. He was a little ambivalent and at times gave me whiplash. However, this is based on Persuasion and if you’re familiar with Austen’s heroes, they’re often infuriating! In the end, he comes through and it’s just precious. Plus, the love he has for Elliot is undeniable.
“I have been unfair and unjust. I’ve been resentful and angry. I’ve been so many things I’m ashamed of, but the one constant is that I’ve always been in love with you.”
The secondary characters were also great and extremely well develop. Wade’s family, his dad Rick, his sisters, and his best friend Ben were incredible. Charlie, Elliot’s brother in law is another character I simply loved.
There’s definitely a lot of heartbreak and a lot of angst in this book. But there’s also lots of beautiful moments, lots of love, lots of healing. Simply put, this book was perfection. I have so many highlights I wish I could put them all in my review. Having to choose is so hard!
“I’ve waited for a second chance to answer this question. I’ve dreamed of what it would be like to give the answer I wish I had so long ago. And now I can tell you that I will follow you. I will follow you to the ends of the earth, if you’ll give me your heart in exchange for mine.” “My heart has been yours as long as it’s been beating. It’ll be yours until it beats its last.”
I think Staci Hart delivered big with this book. I laughed, I smiled, I felt pain, and I also cried, tears of pain and tears of joy, and it takes a lot for a book to make me cry. Overall, although a heavy read at times, this was a fast read for me since I was totally hooked. I loved the writing, the pacing, the character development and the overall love story. If you’re in the mood for a romantic, yet heavy and full of feels second chance romance, this is definitely the book for you!
“Life is short, so short, so precious, every minute, every day. Don’t let the people you love, the people who make you happy, the people who bring you joy —don’t let them go. Hang on to them, even when it hurts. When it seems impossible. Hold on to the things that breathe life into you. Listen to your soul and honor what it tells you. Live. Fight for what you love. Because one day, you’ll be where I am, and in that moment I want you to look back gladly, with no regrets.”
**An ARC was generously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review**
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