Thursday, 12 September 2013

Since You've Been Gone, or Coming to Terms with Heartbreak

She's loved and lost - will she ever learn to open her heart again?

In one tragic moment, Holly Jefferson's life as she knows it changes for ever. Now, to the external world, everything's 'fine': she's renovating her cottage, running her own business, Cake - and generally just getting on with it. What she feels inside is a different story: lost, alone, unsure of the future - and certain she'll never love again.

When she meets handsome Ciaran Argyll, son of a self-made millionaire businessman, she thinks their worlds couldn't be more different. He's rich, confident and gets by on his looks; she's just trying to get by.

However, there's more to Ciaran than the superficial world that surrounds him, and he too is wrestling with his own ghosts. Will Holly find the missing ingredient that allows her to put her grief behind her - and embrace an unknown and unexpected tomorrow?"

Heartbreak’s something that most people go through at one point or another; whether it’s being rejected as a teenager, having someone break your unwavering trust or losing someone close to you, it happens a lot. 

And I find it hard to read.  It’s probably due to the resurfacing of emotions that I’d much rather leave forgotten.  I’m the sort of person who cries so hard at the end of The Notebook that when their housemate walks in they think that someone’s actually died, so when I read something that echoes what I’ve been through, I feel their pain so much it hurts.

So to read a book that starts with the heartbreak, and then works outwards, was a different experience for me.  Holly’s husband (Charlie) has died and she’s trying to get on with her life without him – even though there’s a large part of her that just wants to curl up and die – when she meets Ciaran.

There’s not just pathos though, it’s seriously saucy at times (in a very good way) and I was impressed at how well the sex scenes were written.  Those of you who know me, know that I get frustrated with books that insert sex scenes for the sake of it, and this certainly wasn’t the case here.  Each steamy interlude was just what the plot needed to carry the action forward, and I felt that my understanding of Holly, Ciaran and Charlie were developed through them.

For a first novel, Anouska Knight manages to capture the confusion of Holly’s emotions incredibly well.  There’s a particularly beautifully written scene where she wakes up and for a split second thinks it’s Charlie beside her instead of Ciaran and her heart breaks all over again.

But, Mills & Boon style, there’s a Happy Ever After – though I was seriously concerned at times that the whole thing was going to fall apart.  And amidst the delight and the relief, I felt an ache in that I was going to have to part from this characters after I’d invested so very much in their lives and their stories.

Utterly delightful and charming.  Loved it.

Mills & Boon Boy 8:
David (aka The Banker)

Reaction to Photograph Request:
Being possibly one of the wisest and definitely the most intelligent person I know, David nodded sagely and then suggested his London balcony as the perfect setting for his pose.

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