Books like this remind me why I absolutely ADORE reading. Books like this that grab me, hold me captive, envelop me in the story and leave a mark on my heart.
Once again, the phenomenally talented AL Jackson brings us a gorgeously written, emotionally charged love story that that was heart wrenching, beautiful and uplifting.
This book highlights the gut-wrenching horrors of abuse, the beauty of a second chance, of finding the strength to stand up for yourself and for those you love, and of the healing power of love.
The dedication at the beginning of the book says it all:-
“Because it shouldn’t hurt to be touched.”
When William first saw Maggie, he felt drawn to her. But Maggie has known no kindness in her life. Born into an abusive home and now shadowed by an abusive boyfriend, Maggie is fragile, damaged, and feels unworthy of love, but at the same time is sweet, kind-hearted, self-sacrificing, and deserving of so much more than life has thrown at her. William wants nothing more than to help heal her and to save her from the life she’s surrounded by. Slowly, he gains her trust and in secret they begin a beautiful relationship.
“I’ll be whatever you need me to be.”
But on the night when they are supposed to escape together something goes horribly wrong and they are torn apart.
“Every part of me knew she was forbidden, that her heart already belonged to whatever shit she’d been out through in her life, but I couldn’t stop myself from wanting her to stay.”
Now, six years later, William is feeling trapped by his life – his loveless relationship, his stressful job leading to a career he no longer cares about and despite everything he did to try and move on from the pain of that night, William can’t get the image of the brown eyed girl he fell in love with back home out of his head. The girl who pushed him out of her life. The girl he could save because she wouldn’t let him. The girl he can’t forget.
When a situation forces William to return home for the first time since he left, he finds the truth behind what happened that night and has to find a way to save the girl he’s always loved.
Okay… first, I just need to gush for a moment over how much I adore AL Jackson’s writing style. Seriously, she has a true gift for making you feel. Her writing style is beautiful, evocative and deeply touching. She makes you hover at this delicious point, almost near tears, not necessarily from sadness, but just from an overflow of emotions. I crave this feeling in books. The kind that lets me know I have fully connected on an emotional level with the characters. It just compels you to read more. Love, love, love!!!
This story is told in a blend of present day events and flashbacks, both from William and Maggie’s POVs, putting you right into their minds but with an understanding of the memories that have shaped them and the events that have brought them to where they are today.
The hurt and abuse that Maggie went through made my heart ache. Her pain, how worthless she was made to feel, how strongly she held herself together. It was horrific. Tragic. You can just feel her desperation as she tries to hold it all together and do what she thought was the right thing. Sacrificing herself for to save those she loved most. It was absolutely heart breaking.
“Every part of me had William written on it, the way I thought and what I saw.
What I desired and where my dreams laid.
No, I could never have him. I’d made too many mistakes. I had stayed on the same path that he had tried to save me from.
But I had never stopped wanting him.
He’d fought for me .
And I’d let him go without putting up my own fight.”
I felt for William so strongly. He was just such a good, protective guy, trying so hard to do the right thing in an impossible situation. What do you do when your love is forbidden by the very person you love? I was so caught up with his emotions – in the horrible situation of seeing the girl he was in love with trapped in an abusive life she refused to be saved from. I ached for him. I felt for him. I rooted for him. For how badly he wanted to help her, bring her happiness, and save her from the life she clung to.
“I knew she was broken, knew no matter where she ended up in life, her past would always be there to haunt her, knew she had so much to overcome. But I also knew, underneath it all, she was strong. I saw it in her eyes and felt it in her spirit. I knew she was kind and good, knew she was beautiful. And I knew I was never going to stop loving her.”
As hard as it was to read some of the scenarios, I found both William and Maggie’s actions very understandable. Its so easy to look in on someone else’s pain from the outside and think that maybe you would have done things differently but situations like these are impossible to judge by anyone except the people living them. I felt for their heart ache and for the mistakes they made even as I understood why they were making them. Everyone deals with pain differently and all I wanted was to root for them and hope that they would find a way heal the hurt. It was a tragic situation to be in and the beauty of this one was that they made a second chance for themselves.
“I don’t know how to stop loving you.”
I don’t think there is a single person out there who can claim to have lived their lives always making the right calls. Everyone makes mistakes. But how you deal with your mistakes, and what you do to go about correcting them… I think those are the things that define you and it was what defined both Maggie and William.
I can’t tell you how teary the love scenes made me. They were just so beautifully written and so strongly charged with heightened emotions. The descriptions focus more on the emotions rather than the acts but this is still definitely an adult book.
As the ending built, I was just in a frenzy of anticipation. My heart beat was erratic. I honestly doubt I blinked (except maybe to clear the tears). I just needed everything to be right so badly!!
And not only was the ending everything I wanted but there was a gorgeous epilogue that beautiful highlighted the healing they went through.
This book has easily made my favorites list!
AL Jackson is truly one of the reining queens of second chance love stories. I can’t say enough good about her books. Everyone, absolutely everyone, MUST read them!! <3
- William & Maggie: Click here
- William: I can’t decide about him… its either this guy “Click here” or possibly this guy “Click here”
- Maggie: Click here