Skeptic scale: ♥♥♥♥
He: One of two brothers who grew up in an abusive home, and had a truly terrifying father. Now all grown up and far away from his unhappy home, Tyler, the younger of the two siblings, gets a call that his father is dying. He goes home to sort things out and to finally confront his awful father but finds that that things between them are still unsettling and painful.
She: Ally is an advice columnist who has lived her life like a gypsy. Her mother was never able to stick to one place, and she also feels like she's inherited the "nomad" gene. For a few weeks at least, she's been living next door to Tyler's father and so she meets Tyler right in the middle of what is a really crappy time for the guy.
Conflict: Tyler is traumatized by his horrendous father and painful childhood and isn't really the type of guy who feels like he can be casual about his relationships. Ally, on the other hand has only ever had casual relationships. She moves around a lot and can't seem to stay in one place for too long. They're super attracted to one another but it just seems like they both have a lot of healing to do before really getting into anything serious with anyone else.
1) Man, oh man. I am stupefied that in the space of 85,000 words, Ms. Mayberry managed to make be feel so twisted up inside by this horrible ogre of a father, AND feel like there was hope after all for Tyler AND feel like he and Ally should leap headfirst into a relationship with one another.
I mean, if a friend of mine came to me and said, hey, this guy I'm dating has this sick, twisted family who's left him traumatized and having nightmares, should I keep seeing him? I would be like, heeeelllllls no, sister! Get out of there NOW.
But THIS book happened. And I felt SO much sympathy for this poor man, and SO happy that they did find each other! How did that even happen...
2) There was no nicely tied up conclusion to the abusive family bit of the story. Sometimes sh!t happens and it just sucks and that's all there is to it. Nothing can really make it go away, but there is still hope for that cycle of violence to be broken and set right for the future. Sigh.
3) I believe I have mentioned this, but I'll do it again. I. Love. Ms. Mayberry's. Epilogues. This lady knows what to do with an Epilogue. She gives us a little MORE story. Just a sweet treat at the end that makes me gush and feel all mopey and hopeful. She never does the same old, same old dribble about couples staring moonily at each other and rocking a fat little giggling baby in their arms. I mean puhleese. I LOVE SARAH MAYBERRY'S EPILOGUES.
Things that made me go huh?:
1) Why did this dude never seek counselling? Surely professional help (beyond the admirable, and heartfelt efforts of the agony aunt heroine) was called for for such a situation as this? I'm not saying that therapy would have solved all his problems, but honestly, the thought never crossed his mind the 100th time he wakes up from night sweats from having bad dreams of his childhood? Seemed odd to me.
Skeptic's last word: Wonderful. Amazing. I was so blown away by the way this lady manages to tell a hundred stories in the space of a HQN super romance. I mean... yeah. That's it.