“I loved you,” I whispered. “I always loved you.”
I LOVE LOVE LOVED this book!!! Books like this are the reason I love to read. I absolutely adored it!!
If you love books with intensely strong emotions, that make you feel every word of the story with all your heart, make you go through every range of emotion from laughing out loud to full-on crying, and that have a gorgeous love at the heart of it all that never lets go, then this is the book for you!!
I honestly could not put it down. I literally just sat there glued to my Kindle all day soaking up every single world of this story. I even cancelled my dinner plans so that I could just sit and read without stopping.
This is a second chance romance about a love that remained even after a twenty-six year (!!!!) separation. The hero, Noah, and heroine, Jules, were best friends in childhood, and later on, they became young lovers. He was her first everything and they began to plan a future together. But at seventeen years old, they were torn apart by a event that shattered their world and Noah left town to join the military. For twenty-six years, Jules didn’t hear anything from him. But even with her heart broken, life went on and she married someone else and had a daughter but that marriage didn’t last because her heart still belonged to Noah even though he was no longer there. Then one day, Noah came home… and the secrets that once tore them apart came out into the light as their feelings for each other once again became undeniable.
Ohhhh my gosh, you guys…. that moment when she saw him for the first time when he came home gave me tingles all over from head to toe. My heart stopped. I was completely wrapped up in every word.
Noah and Jules had the kind of connection where you just KNEW that no matter what, these two belonged together. They were soul mates. They had the kind of love that nothing could shatter — no words, no actions, no measure of time. They belonged to each other and nothing could ever change that.
“Everything in me wanted to wind my arms around him and pull him the rest of the way in, to feel his lips come down on mine, but … that was from a lifetime ago.”
This story is also a lot more than just a romance. There are several things I haven’t told you here because I don’t want to spoil the story but there are three twists in particular that added this extra measure of hyper-intensity to the story. I wish I could tell you but I promise it’s best to just discover it for yourselves.
I do want to address one thing because I know that some of you are going to skim other reviews, see this, and freak out a little like I initially did. Ok, so when Noah returns, he’s not alone… he’s brought back a woman that he’s engaged to. I want to stress that this is not a love triangle but I also don’t want to give anything away so just…. please trust me? Please? I promise everything works out. Ok?? — Oh, and the thing I loved most is that it managed to worked out without anyone being the villain. I loved the manner in which the author pulled all the pieces together. It was honestly just perfect to me!
“You aren’t the only one that hasn’t been able to love anyone, Jules,” he said under his breath. “And I’ve tried.”
“There’s only one woman that ever fit that bill.”
Noah. Let me take a quick moment to gush about him. This guy. Holy hell!!! Such a total Alpha male. It’s not really highlighted in the book a lot but he actually became a Navy SEAL in those twenty-six years so he’s all kinds of badass. But emotionally, he was just the kind of guy that totally gave his heart over to his girl and wanted to do the right thing by her. And when life took away that control, he lost it… and consequently carried around a lot of baggage and a host of painful memories and unresolved hurt. But what I loved most about him was that despite the pain, he never stopped loving Jules. Gah. *MELT*
“Feel that?” he said. “How do we walk away from that?”
Jules was a really wonderful heroine. What I loved about her was that she was very flawed. She’d made a lot of mistakes in life and throughout the course of this book we saw her go through a really beautiful transformation as she learned from those mistakes and made conscious choices to change. (PS. She didn’t cheat on him, don’t worry.) It was also really cool to see her relationship with her 17-year-old daughter and those consequent struggles. It was such an interesting parallel seeing her on the parental side of a girl who was now the age she had been when she and Noah fell in love so many years ago.
There was this intense push-pull between Noah and Jules as they were faced with all their feelings for each other rushing back so strongly. There were so many unresolved issues to work through so. So many secrets and unspoken feelings that they couldn’t hold back … and mostly, a powerful, forever love.
“I remember everything,” he whispered.”
Some scenes were literally so intense and they would hit me so strongly that just suddenly I’d be crying. Tears would be pouring down my face even when it wasn’t a sad scene. Often, they were even happy tears. I’d just be feeling so much that I felt like I was on constant emotional overload of the best kind.
“I’ve got you,” came Noah’s voice against my ear… “Just breathe, baby, I’ve got you.”
But seriously, the complexity of the situation that’s built is pretttttyyy crazy. It all makes total sense but let me tell you that it is one huge emotional tangle with so many connections and so many different sides. There’s a lot I haven’t told you but this was such a rich, multi-layered story.
It had ALL . THE . FEELS!!!!
There’s actually a quote in the books that says, “sometimes the harder, complicated relationships that you have to fight for are the ones worth something,” and I really feel like that completely represents the story.
It’s quite a fast read despite it being a full length book. I read it in one sitting and there are no slow spots. I pretty much just sat there madly flipping pages til I got to the end. The story just flows.
I want to stress that this isn’t what I’d call a sad book, it’s just very emotional. Honestly, many of my tears (and there were a lot of them) were happy ones! And this book had one of the best endings EVER. The story came full circle in the most literal way you can imagine. Happy tears were pouring down my face!!
You know how Kristen Ashley books have that way of connecting you with the families of the main couple?? Well, this book really did that too (even though the writing style/story is nothing like KA) but the thing I’m comparing is the way the connections between mother/child, father/child, best friends, in-laws, grandparents, best friends, teens, children, etc, were conveyed. Just such gorgeous emotions and such an integral, beautiful part of the story. The deep-rooted bonds of love and family can be extraordinarily powerful and when you have an author convey them so strongly and with this much sensitivity and depth, its really one of the most incredible reading experiences ever.
I highly recommend this for fans of The Sweet Gum Tree. If you’re a fan of that, then you will love this. The story is different, but it had the exact same intensity and “feeling” to it. Absolutely gorgeous emotions!!!!! And it’s crazy because I read The Sweet Gum Tree ages and ages ago and yet it’s still one of my top favorites so it was such a huge treat to find another book that brought back a similar set of feelings while still being a different story. I have a feeling that this book will also end up being a long-time favorite.
I just want to go up to each one of you and beg you to please give this book a shot. You know that feeling? When you just love a book so much that you want the whole world to read it?? Well, this is me shouting from the proverbial rooftops here…. READ THIS BOOK, guys!!!!!! *ahem* Please? 😀
“Don’t let go,” I whispered.
Rating: 5+ STARS!!! Standalone romance.