Atonement is my only salvation.
So when the opportunity presented itself, to save her.
And the tangled web began…Knowing her, but not letting her know me. Keeping her at arms length when all I wanted to do was have her in my arms.
Protecting her, because I finally fell.
And the monster she needed protection from…
4 refining STARS!!!
This book was short, but packed a big punch! There was so much emotion and angst. So much guilt, blame, forgiveness, refinement. I thought it was great! I felt the uncertainty and wavering emotions sweeping from each page. There was no-nonsense in this book. Every word, every thought was for a reason. And the circumstances that brought Jayne and Alder together are not a light subject. I would, however, say this could be a young adult to a mature young adult reading. There was nothing racy, and with the ‘dark’ moments I was walked through the healing process. It is truly an uplifting book!
“But then I learned something, totally against my will. I learned that my past could define me, or it could refine me.”
The characters are ages 20 and 23. The growth and the level of maturity from Jayne and Alder was astounding. The book was written with dual POV giving Jayne and Alder their own voices. Brilliant choice by the author – the insight to the feelings and emotions was terrific. The choices made by Alder have a direct impact on Jayne and her family. To say he had a hard time coming to terms with what happened would be putting it lightly. There were very dark times for him and in the process of healing, he finds a purpose, he finds a friend, he finds forgiveness. Alder also finds himself secretly looking out for Jayne. Not so much stalker but…yeah ok – stalker is exactly what I found myself thinking. But as derogatory as that word is, I found myself using in a positive light. Alder has this immense need to look out for her. Needing to make sure he atones for his sin all the while knowing they could never actually meet. It was a situation handled with kid gloves. I was so drawn to Alder’s character. Here was this man who turned his life around and was now giving all that he could give, yet somehow still felt himself lacking. Feeling like he would never be good enough. The guilt was ever-present.
“Just be able to apologize, that would be heaven. Maybe then I’d get rid of some of this guilt I carried around like a lead weight.”
It was difficult to get a hold of my true feelings for Alder. Feeling torn. Wanting to be in his corner, but trying to see myself in Jayne’s shoes too. How I would feel, or react to the truth. That’s what drove me in furiously flipping Kindle pages.
“You see, I’m not the good guy. On the outside, I might look like it; I might even smile at you. But it’s a lie. It’s all a lie.”
When an unforseen event has Jayne meeting Alder for the first time, I saw fireworks between them. Insert angst here… It didn’t last long as the book was pretty short, but it was definitely present. Jayne feels inexplicably drawn to him. Safe with him. There is tension and internal struggle from his side – he needed to keep her at arm’s length, but having her close was too much to resist. Jayne wanted to know more about him. She was curious and found in his eyes some sort of understanding.
“There was a fierce determination and resolve in his eyes that was deeper than the trite words he spoke. As if he knew my pain, my loss. It drew me in, offering me understanding in a world that just seemed to move on when mine had screamed to a halt.”
My only complaint was how everything seemed so fast-tracked. Even though the author uses a sort of time-line with things like, 2 weeks later, it is a fast-moving story. Almost hard to get a real feeling for a characters and the story’s development.
But the highlight of the book, for me, was the forgiving and ‘refining’. The ability for a person to forgive himself. To heal entirely from such a tragedy. It was beautiful, moving, breathtaking. Moments of such honesty. Along with a HEA epilogue! Really great!