REVIEW: This Love by Lea Darragh

Published: 15th September 2016

Publisher: Escape Publishing

Pages: 180

Format: Ebook courtesy of the publisher and Netgalley

RRP: $4.99

3/5 Stars

Forgiveness can be hard—even when it’s the only way to save your life.

When Emmy’s fiancé, Ethan, is killed by a speeding driver on the way to their wedding, she is devastated beyond words. Numb and confused, she withdraws from the world.

Eighteen months later, Emmy has settled herself into the coastal town of Cobbler’s Cove. With satisfying work in a new restaurant, a quiet home by the sea, and friends who pick her up when grief comes back to haunt her, she’s finally daring to dream of a bright future.

That is, until she meets Jack Archer—a worldly chef who draws people to the restaurant. Emmy and Jack have mutual friends and a common goal, but their history could tear them both apart.

When Emmy finds herself falling for Jack, she begins to question her love for Ethan. She’s tortured by the past and scared of the future. Does she have the strength to forgive and move on?

This Love by Lea Darragh is a book I’m in two minds about. On one hand I really loved aspects of the book and was deeply moved by the emotions encountered and those it stirred up in myself, and on the other hand I’m left a little bit dizzy by the pace of the book and the quick flip encountered that kind of leaves me feeling like I just read two joined books at once.

Let me start by saying this is NOT a happy go lucky book. In fact it couldn’t be further from that. The heroine is mentally and emotionally scarred almost to the point of no return for part of the narrative. But it does offer hope and lessons in love. Although a relative quick read, I’m not entirely sure this book will be for everyone, or suitable as a summer beach read. For some it will bring back all too real emotions, for others it will bog them down in the first half of the books weighty guilt and despair, but for those brave enough to continue on with the narrative, they will witness a small slice of life – the good and the bad – and be rewarded with a HEA that suits both the characters and the story.

One aspects that I adored about this book was the simple fact that the two leads face perhaps the biggest hurdle life can throw at you: the death of a loved one and a death caused by your own hand, no matter how deliberate it may or may not have been. The hero and heroine are on two very different, and at times opposing, journeys  to overcome life and death consequences, grief and learning to move past the blanket of grief and despair that is wrapped tightly around their shoulders. They need to learn to trust themselves again and how to open oneself back up to the possibility of love – to fell worthy and capable of love. For the first time in longer than I can recall the characters in this book face a conflict bigger and more powerful that the stubbornness of ones personality or a simple misunderstanding/miscommunication and lack of courage to ask an underlying questions. It’s a book about the pain in your heart and the grief that swallows you whole. In this regard, it’s one of the most honest and raw books I’ve read in a long time.

As mentioned above, the aspect that confuses me most about this book – and has me constantly flipping my feelings on it – is the two very different but connected stories fit within the one narrative. There is the pain and the grief of the novel’s start, and then the overwhelming love and physical attraction and intense romance of the second part of the book. For me, where this became a problem was the pacing where these two aspects connected. I was still in mourning with Emmy, and then it was like she flicked a switch and was a totally different person pursuing Jack and ranching up the book. This is a very personal observation, but for me, I think I would have preferred a slower, but just as intimate relationship between Emmy and Jack. I didn’t need the door to be so open on their physical manifest of their mutual attraction. I didn’t need the sex to believe them, and while I have no problem reading erotic narratives, it just felt rushed and out of place here.

The biggest and perhaps the most powerful message this book does portray however is the strength of the human spirit and heart to overcome even the darkest and most bleak moments of our lives, especially when surrounded by great friends. More importantly however is the timely reminder that the heart wants what the heart wants; we don’t get to choose who we love or when we love, or why.  It’s a powerful message and one this book does deliver in spades.

 

To purchase a copy of This Love, visit the following online retailers:

Escape Publishing | Amazon AUSAmazon US | Barnes & Noble | Booktopia | Ibooks | Google Books

 

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