When Ash loses her boyfriend, she is consumed by grief, loneliness, and an overwhelming sense of guilt for her role in not only his death, but the deaths of everyone she has ever loved. Refusing to let anyone in for fear of losing them too, she becomes withdrawn, spending her days reliving the nightmares from her past. Until she meets Luke. Initially scared by his intensity and interest in her, Ash tries to push him away. But as Luke slowly starts to chip away at the walls she’s built, Ash finds herself doing the one thing she swore she’d never do again – falling in love. When the familiar feelings Ash had hoped were long buried with her past begin to resurface, she is forced to ask herself if falling in love again is really worth the risk.
Gah! I really wanted to love this book. Don’t get me wrong, I liked it, but I wanted to LOVE it. For a while now, I’ve been looking for a book that will make me cry. I’m talking can’t breathe, snot running down my face, ugly cry. I know that sounds weird, but sometimes I just need to purge the tears from my system. I know you know what I’m talking about. Don’t deny it. Anyways, after reading quite a few reviews, I was lead to believe that this book would get the job done. Unfortunately for me, it didn’t.
There is no disputing that Ash’s tale is a sad one; for all intents and purposes, this story should have done the trick. Ash’s grief, anger, and fear were palpable. Her memories, heartbreaking. Really, I should have been a hot mess of tears, but I wasn’t for two reasons:
(And while I don’t really consider this a spoiler because what I’m about to say is written in the blurb, I’m giving you fair warning in the interest of not ruining anything for you. I don’t normally do this, but I kind of need to vent, so I would scroll right past this next part if you want to stay in the dark.)
Everyone Ash loves dies. I know it says that in the description, but I didn’t think it was literal. It was. Everyone dies. It was too much. I understand that no one lives for ever. I get that some people are more intimate with loss than others. I have personally seen a lot of death in my 32 years, so I get it, I do. But Ash lost everyone. Literally. From her entire family to friends, boyfriends, and even her shrink. It was unbelievable and it was overkill (pun intended).
(This is where I temporarily become the Mayor of Nitpickville.)
I’m sorry, but if you are an author that intends to write a story that takes place in a country other than your own, please make sure that you take the time to research the dialect of your selected location or else let the story be set where you are from. In the U.S. we generally live in houses or apartments, not flats. We have roommates, not flatmates. We frequent bars, not pubs. We have friends, not mates (well, we do. . . but it means something totally different and we don’t usually call it that). I could go on, but I won’t. My point is that it’s not authentic, and it’s distracting. I mean, I would be rocking along, tearing up the pages, only to be totally derailed by one little word that didn’t fit right. Not to mention that all the characters had British accents in my head because of it. That would be fine if the whole thing had been set in, oh, say England, but in Boston, Massachusetts, not so much. (Turns out that the author is from Australia, so I wasn’t that far off with the whole accent thing.)
I hate to sound so rant-y, but these two things really bothered me. They kind of ruined what would have otherwise been a perfect book for me. I mean, I absolutely sympathized with Ash and was totally rooting for her. And Luke. Luke. He was great. A man who can cook AND play the guitar, that is also humble, sweet, and patient. . .good gravy, what more could you ask for?
Like I said earlier, I should have loved this book. I’m actually pretty disappointed that I didn’t like it more than I did. Now that’s not to say that I’d discourage you from reading this book, quite the opposite in fact. I really did like it. I just have these annoying, nitpicky pet peeves that sabotage my reading experiences from time to time. I can’t help it, it’s just the way that I am.