“When I saw you in that hospital bed, the world stood still. I’ve thought about you every single day for the past fifteen years.”
A heart-wrenching, beautifully written book that’ll break your heart and then put it back together again! A story of sacrifice, survival, and pure, undying, selfless love.
The story is about a girl from a broken home who runs away and finds herself homeless on the streets at sixteen. With nowhere to sleep and no money for food, she was helpless… until he showed up.
“My savior. My protector.
He had helped me when he didn’t have to. He had taken care of me. He had made sure I was warm. Fed. That I had a place to lay my head at night… Even when he couldn’t keep himself safe, he made sure that I had been. He put me first. Always.”
At eighteen, he’d been on the streets long enough to know how to survive and he saved her. A protector by nature, he sacrificed everything — his pride, his dignity, and his happiness — over and over again to bring a little food and comfort to those he cared about. They fell in love and dared to dream of a better life, but on the day they were supposed to meet to get away together, he never showed… Fifteen years later, she’s working in a hospital when a homeless man is brought in, badly beaten almost beyond recognition, but she knows it’s him … and hopes that just maybe this can be their second chance. This is their story.
“We’ll walk on the beach, Imi, and we’ll dance on the sand. Because one day soon, I promise you that all this ugly will become something beautiful.”
While this is most certainly a love story, as you can see, the book deals with some very heavy themes such as prostitution (male), drug use, homelessness, and teenage runaways. It was absolutely heart-breaking to see how many people were willing to just look the other way. How many people just saw these kids as dead-end statistic, lost causes, or worse. No matter how you look at it, these topic are extremely heart-breaking, with the way the story was written, it made it more so because it presented the themes in a very personal way. It wasn’t just ‘homelessness’ or ‘prostitution’, it was a particular character who you’d come to love and careful forced to make desperate, degrading choices just to survive on the street. You should know though that while the themes that these characters face are very serious, the details are not graphic. The author really did such a fantastic job of presenting these issues in a respectful and honest way.
My heart instantly leapt at the sight of him. And then it fell just as fast.
This is what broken looked like.
Because this is a second chance romance with a fifteen year gap between the last time the hero and heroine saw each other, the story is told alternating chapters between the past and present. I really felt that this was a wonderfully effective way of showing us where they were going and how they got there.
“Why in the hell would you want anything to do with my shit life, whatever’s left of it?” His voice quavered and his hand shook in mine.
I leaned in. He met me halfway. I rested my forehead against his. “Because I love you.”
Heart-breaking is the term I keep coming back to with this book — or at least with the ‘past’ storyline. The decisions he had continually been forced to make and the sacrifices he’d willingly given, coupled with the way he unwaveringly retained his selfless humanity in the face of it all just made my chest ache.
Here was a boy barely holding himself together. He seemed as though he wanted to curl into himself. I wanted to shield him from everything horrible. Everything ugly.
Just as he had been trying to do for me.
He wasn’t an overly complicated person. He was smart. He was thoughtful. He was generous and kind. He was loyal to a fault.
And he was someone who had been forced to make choices that would shatter most people. I could see the fragments being chipped away little by little as he struggled to hold on.
Yet he still sat beside me, with concern on his face, wanting to know if I was all right. When it was obvious he wasn’t.
The writing was absolutely beautiful. Evocative and captivating. A Meredith Waters’ books are always a joy to read. I actually counted and I have almost 50 quotes highlighted in this eBook.
It’s a fairly ‘quiet’ book but it kept me glued to the page until I finished it at 4AM. There’s a lot more to the story that I’m not telling you and I don’t want to tell you too much more but I do want to reassure you that there IS a happy ending. You’ll probably get to a point where you wonder HOW that’s possible. Up until almost the veryyy end, I wasn’t actually positive and was kinda freaking out (ok VERY MUCH freaking out). So I wanted you to have that security. Just read it, feel it, but know that you’ll feel uplifted by the end.
“True love never dies.”
Rating: 4.5 stars. Standalone romance (heavy themes).