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Two long years pass, and the memories continue to disappear into the black hole that was opened up the day of the quake. Life becomes a perilous journey lived on a tightrope that stretches between the past and the present. Retreating to a lakeside cottage in Rotorua, she shies away from a world she no longer understands.
When Luke Lancaster moves into the derelict cottage beyond the trees, he respects his reclusive neighbour’s silent plea for privacy. Now half a world away from his native North Carolina, he has seen war, misery and chaos. Along with his dog, Geezer, he lives with a few ghosts of his own.
What begins as a fragile friendship leads to a much deeper connection, in which truth, lies, love and pain are intimately bound. Even in paradise, shadows lurk.
A slow-burning tale of loss and love, stoked in the flames of fate and superstition, it is ignited by the power of hope.
"Not all those who wander are lost." ~~ J.R.R. Tolkien
First of all, I love this stunning book cover. Just beautiful... but, I love the color purple so I guess I may be a little biased. And, the blurb does a pretty good job of laying out what you will be getting in this story. In fact, I knew when I read the opening line of this newest release by Amanda Dick that I was in for another amazing journey! Each time I open a book by this author I know that I am in for something new and original and I also know that my emotions are getting ready to be pummeled. But, that's okay... I love a good emotional roller coaster ride AND especially so when by the end of the ride I can look back and see that all of the bumps, twists and turns were worth the trouble.
Sian is a woman who is haunted by ghosts from her past. She is coping with an unimaginable loss and lives in isolation. Luke is also haunted by his past, and on the outside looking in you would think that he is also lost. But, as the story progressed I realized that Luke wasn't lost at all. He was exactly where he wanted to be. Luke and Sian reminded me of a giant jigsaw puzzle. They were two pieces that fit perfectly together. But, first they had to sort through the many, many other pieces of the puzzle before they finally found where they fit and belonged. Together, they were able to make sense of the experiences and loss they had endured. Together they helped complete the puzzle and finally feel whole again.
My favorite character in the book was definitely Geezer the dog. Yes, I am a sucker for adorable, pushy and sneaky animals. They do bring life into our lives don't they? And, sometimes a little bit of trouble. Geezer was indeed a catalyst for helping bring Sian and Luke together. Dogs have a way of leading you down paths you wouldn't usually wander. They are quite often smarter than us humans when it comes to finding where we belong. :)
I also loved how this book takes us not only on the journey of loss in regards to Sian, but also how that loss caused a rippling affect to those around Sian. Her friends Ana and Chris were struggling right along with her and I loved how they rallied behind her and allowed her to deal with the ghosts from her past in her own way. Truly amazing friends and a reminder of how important it is to be present for those you love know matter how hard life throws the punches.
The writing in this story is beautiful! Amanda always makes me "feel" and think about life from a different perspective. This book made me think about how difficult it is to cope with loss and how even harder it must be to be re-build your life even when it seems impossible. It's about loss, fear and grief but also about trust, friendship and courage. It takes courage to move forward from a past that haunts you every step of the way. And, it takes trust to allow someone to help you along. This is what Sian and Luke did for each other.
This was an amazingly written story in a beautiful setting that left me with a sense of hope by the end. A reminder that even though doors are constantly being closed or slammed or even obliterated, there are always more to be opened if we just take a chance.
I would highly recommend this to those who love to indulge in women's fiction that also has a healthy dose of romance. The meat of this story lies in the healing that takes place on Sian's journey back to living in the present and putting away the ghosts that haunt her. The strong feelings that develop between Sian and Luke are the side dishes that just make the whole meal come together.
Another well written story that hit me straight in the heart!
5 ++ stars!! And, definitely going on my top favorites shelf... :)
Amanda Dick is a night-owl, coffee addict, movie buff and music lover. She believes in love at first sight, in women's intuition and in following your heart. She is rather partial to dark chocolate and believes in the power of a good vanilla latte.
What lights her fire is writing stories about real people in trying situations. Her passion is finding characters who are forced to test their boundaries. She is insanely curious about how we, as human beings, react when pushed to the edge. Most of all, she enjoys writing about human behaviour - love, loss, joy, grief, friendship and the complexity of relationships in general.
After living in Scotland for five years, she has now settled back home in New Zealand, where she lives with her husband and two children.
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