on January 1st 1970
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There were two brothers—identical twins—and though I loved them both, my soul belonged to only one.
Annalia DelValle has loved Preston Sawyer all her life. The daughter of an impoverished migrant farmworker, she grew up as an outcast in what was no more than a tiny, cooped up shack in California’s Central Valley. But her heart found freedom in the land, in the wide-open spaces of Sawyer Farm, and in the boys who were her only friends.
Preston has yearned for Annalia since he was a boy. But a sense of honor kept him from pursuing her until he’s unable to hold back any longer and their worlds—and bodies—collide one hot summer night. A night that sets off a chain of events that will alter their lives forever.
Now Annalia is back in town after disappearing without a trace for six long months. Determined to reclaim her heart, her life, and the baby she left behind—the son who was created in a moment of lust and love and pent-up yearning.
Preston has survived grief, a ravaging drought, and the despair of heartache, but he’s not sure he can survive Annalia again. And he might be unwilling to try. Will pride and bitterness keep him from the one thing he’s always longed for?
How do you heal what is irreparably broken? How do you forgive that which is unforgivable? How do you discover that real honor comes not from circumstance, but from the place deep in our hearts where truth resides? And how do you move beyond the wounds of the past to discover that some loves are as solid as the ground beneath your feet, and as enduring as the earth itself?
THIS IS A STAND-ALONE SIGN OF LOVE NOVEL, INSPIRED BY GEMINI. New Adult Contemporary Romance: Due to strong language and sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18.
5 Huge “Back to the Beginning” Stars
“ I’m coming to see that sometimes the most damaging borders are inside us.”
Back to the beginning is the thing I loved the most about this book. Can you do everything backwards and then go back to the beginning? Can you go back and do things right? Go back and fix everything? I totally believe you can. I think if there’s enough love, there’s always a chance to get things right. Maybe the timing wasn’t right the first time, maybe it wasn’t your moment, maybe you were holding on to the past too tight or maybe you were just not mature enough to see it clearly. This book wrecked me, and then took me back to the beginning and put me back together, and I loved every second of it.
I love Mia Sheridan’s books. I’ve read the majority of the books in this series and have loved them, some more than others. At this point is well established that she’s just immensely talented and that her books bring all the feels. What doesn’t seize to amaze me is that every book is so different, the themes and plot lines are so different, yet they all seem to have the same effect on me. Once I start, I can’t put them down, the story just consumes me. At this point, I don’t even read the blurb anymore when it comes to her, this is an insta tour-sign-up, insta-one-click, insta-paperback author for me. But this book, I truly, truly love, this one is right there with Kyland, Midnight Lilly and Archer’s Voice, which are my top Mia Sheridan books.
So, what is this book about you ask? Well, I went into it blind, lol. I didn’t even read the blurb, so I had zero idea what it was about until I started, and I will not go into details about the plot, the blurb reveals quite a bit. The book is extremely angsty, which I love. My chest was tight most of the book. The prologue shocked me, you honestly don’t know what to think, where can this story possibly go, but then Mia takes you on a journey. A journey that spans many years. She takes you back to the beginning, to where everything started, and then again, where every re-starts. It’s quite a journey but I ask you to just trust the process, trust that even if your heart breaks, it will be put back together.
These main characters certainly go through a lot, and they also keep their feeling hidden for quite some time, what you also have to understand is that these characters are also basically teenagers for most of the book. And teenagers often don’t speak out, they often hide their pain, they often make assumptions and they not always make the more rational decisions. And how can you show any love if you have never been shown love? Then there’s also all these other relationships in your life that shape the person you become. The relationship between two brothers that love each other above all. The relationship between a mother and a daughter, between a mother and her son. The relationships you make through life, a community, the fact that we’re all immigrants, one community. This book is so beautiful, I can’t even explain it. It’s so much more than a love story.
I loved Preston, I loved his sense of responsibility, how loyal he was, and his love for Lia, even if he was a fool sometimes. And Annalia, well she was very special, she might seemed weak at times, but she was really very strong. I guess I identified a lot with Preston and Annalia because of my own experiences in life. I got married and had a kid at 19. I love my husband with all my heart, but the road hasn’t been easy, especially because we were probably not quite ready to act like adults but were forced to. So, I’m a firm believer in starting over, in going back to the beginning and in trying harder and never be afraid of making a fuss. I will also say that this is definitely not a love triangle, so not worries there.
I know I have been vague, totally on purpose, sorry J and excuse me if I make zero sense. I just want everyone to read this so bad! I would definitely go in blind if I was you. Needless to say I loved this book to pieces. The writing is so gorgeous and the story is absolutely beautiful. I loved everything about it and I absolutely recommend. I can’t wait for what Mia will bring us next.
I usually intertwine my quotes with my review, but since this is not structured like my typical reviews, here are some of my favorite quotes:
“The true ugliness was in the details, the tiny papercuts that sliced at your soul, and no one who hadn’t been dirt poor could ever really understand that.”
“Part of my love for Preston was like a slow-moving river that had gained breadth and speed over time. And another part came in short bursts of white-hot lightning, marking the very moments when the love in my heart had charged and intensified. And I knew this would be one of those flashes, one of those moments burned into my memory, and even possibly, the last one I’d ever get.”
“Lia made me feel weak in the knees. And maybe I knew what my dad meant because there was an achy pain associated with that knowledge.”
“So much time had passed, and in some ways he was a stranger; in some ways he was so familiar. He’d been my friend—one of my only friends. I hadn’t fully realized before this moment that I’d been living with a hole in my heart. A Preston-sized hole.”
“That’s what I’d wanted Lia to be for me—a gentle haven. I’d wanted it—desperately—and yet, I’d kept fouling it up, over and over. I’d pushed her away instead of gathering her close, a part of me believing that my punishment should include denying myself the comfort she might provide. And yet . . . in punishing myself, hadn’t I really punished both of us?”
“My decisions—my actions—changed so many lives.”
“We stood together by the fence where I’d once waited for her with bated breath, and I felt something inside me open up, like a flower that had bowed its head and shut its petals when the darkness fell upon it and suddenly felt the warm, unexpected glimmer of a sunbeam.”
“I didn’t know if there was any chance we could ever wade through the years of miscommunication and loss between us. I had no idea if there was any way to reclaim what we’d once barely begun. But now I knew we both hoped for it, and that seemed like a pretty damn good start.”
“My heart, it seemed, knew only how to beat for him, like the wings of a bird soaring through an endless sky. As blue as his eyes and as warm as his touch had once been on my skin.”
“Looking into her beautiful eyes, I saw my past and my future. I saw the young girl who had spat a half-eaten strawberry into my brother’s hand. I saw an amazing, strong woman, who had the courage to come back to me. I saw my love, my heart, my home.”
“She had always been moved by dreams, not just her own, but those of others as well. It was what made her so beautiful. As it turned out, it was also what made her fierce. She was mighty and she was strong, and to watch her in action was a sight to behold. But her gentle spirit never ceased to shine, and sometimes I still saw in her the quiet dreamer with a crown of flowers perched on her head and a thousand secrets in her eyes. And I was the luckiest man on earth, because now she told them all to me.”
**An ARC was generously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review**
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