What a lovely, sweet, touching story <3
You know that wonderful feeling you get when you just sink into a well-written read? Well, I totally got that with this book. The writing style is strong, fluid and evocative and draws you right into the story.
I have to say I was hesitant to start this one because, just personally, I hate carnivals and I wasn’t sure if this was a carnival-centric story… so, just to set the record straight: it isn’t. Not at all. *nods* Right, ok, on to the review.
The year is 1946 (but don’t worry, this book does not have the feel of a historical novel) and ever since the death of her husband in the war, Sarah is just trying to keep going. Her heart froze the day her husband’s body was shipped home and she isn’t looking for anyone to replace him. But, in an effort to cheer her, her friend drags her to a carnival which is passing through town and she finds herself drawn to and riveted by a tattooed man with intense blue eyes on display in one of the tents. Their eyes meet only for a moment, but in that moment, they share a connection – its as though he sees right into her.
She goes down the next morning to find the tattooed man sleeping in her hayloft. “His eyes were the saddest she’d ever seen.” and she offers him to stay on and help her on the farm in exchange for room and board.
But the man who runs the circus is out looking for him and and the lies and rumors spread around town warping him into some sort of dangerous, lunatic freak. And while Sarah can accept him into her life, the real question is whether the townsfolk will be so open-minded?
I really loved Tom’s character. I found myself instantly wanting to know more about him. He wasn’t your typical Alpha male character but rather a deeply tortured, damaged man with a heart of gold and filled with a quiet intensity that draws Sarah to him like a magnet. His back story isn’t gone into in detail but what little we see is filled with pain, loneliness and abuse at the hands of the carnival owner. Every inch of his body is tattooed. EVERY. INCH. And, hot as that may sound now, remember, it was all done to him against his will.
“Skin is skin, Grace. The tattoos are only on the surface you know. He’s a man.”
A sexy, vulnerable, intense, attractive, sweet, gentle and loving man.
I loved how Sarah trusted her gut feeling about Tom from the beginning. Even though technically she knew nothing about him, she treated him with the utmost respect and kindness – probably the first real kindness he’d ever known. And in return she was rewarded as he slowly learned to trust her, open up to her, and show her his true self – the one hidden away from the world behind a canvas of art forced on his body.
He whispered against her hair, “I don’t belong here and they know it.”
“Yes you do. You do belong here.” She took his face in her hands and looked in his eyes. “You belong with me.”
“I don’t know why,” she admitted. “Its just you. I want to be with you. I feel like we belong together.” She smoothed one hand up his torso and rested it on his chest, picturing the chained heart and feeling his real heart beating steadily beneath it. “Don’t you?”
The bedroom scenes were hottttt. And I mean that in a quietly powerful, erotic way. Not kinky but very, very passionate. I was surprised by that though because, for whatever reason, I really thought this book would gloss over that but boy was I wrong! I found that it really brought a beautiful blend between erotic and sweet between them and yet a more serious story line outside of their relationship.
There is a slight ‘non-real’-ish element to the story. Tom gets visions of some things before they happen. He is the son of the carnival fortune teller and in this story, these are just accepted as part of him. This is not a paranormal story, nor is that the focus of the story, but I figured I’d mention it in case you guys read it, came across it and went ‘huh?’. Just roll with it. Its a part of him 🙂
I’d say my only complaint overall was that I wished it were longer. It only took me a few hours to read and there were a few places in the middle of the book where I felt it was just a smidge rushed. It wasn’t that it didn’t fit with the storyline, I just would have wished for an extra chapter here or there. But the plus side to that was that the story never dragged, not even for a moment… I did find the ending a little abrupt and definitely found myself wanting either a few more chapters or an epilogue of sorts, but don’t let that deter you. It was oh-so-happy, sweet and swoony and the HEA is never in question, I just would have wanted more is all.
Overall, I’d say it was exactly the kind of read I needed right now. Sweet, hot, and different with a beautiful message about love having no limitations.
Definitely recommended to add to your TBRs 🙂
- I have to say that the guy on the cover is the perfect Tom. I just love it when covers actually accurately reflect the characters from the story and clearly whoever did this one did a phenomenal job because when you read the story, you’ll learn that those are his exact tattoos. So here is a link to a bigger version of the pic if you want to see up close –> Click here
Thought this was a beautiful story. Loved Tom…such a good peaceful soul. Totally agreed with you on the ending though. It was good, but really needed to be longer, because you got so invested in the characters and you just wanted to know what happens in their future together!
I totally agree! I just used my imagination to fill in the blanks 🙂