Friday, September 27, 2013

Ranae Rose's "Hell Without You"

When I saw this as a digital ARC on Netgalley, I knew I had to request it, even though I was pretty sure it would be horrible. Of course, the male cover model is no Fabio (I mean that in the good way, of course) so maybe I should have had faith. I didn't. I was wrong.

From Goodreads:

Time changes everything, except what’s meant to be.

Seven years is a long time – long enough to transform Clementine from a small-town teenager with a broken heart into a woman ready to take on the world, but not long enough to make her forget about the man she was never supposed to see again. A temporary return to tiny Willow Heights thrusts her back into Donovan’s life and home, unearthing heartbreak and obsession that have stood the test of time.

He left seven years ago too, for war and other things Clementine can only imagine. Coming back to the town where he grew up in the shadow of poverty and drug addiction makes no sense, and neither do Clementine’s feelings for him. He could never forgive her for leaving, could he? Even if she had no choice.

Now, she has the freedom to choose … and so does he. Every day in Willow Heights makes it clearer: all he ever really wanted was her, and nothing will change that. Not even a taste of the hell that drove them apart in the first place.

The general story line is probably something most of us can identify with, at least a little. You have a high school love, you leave town (college, the military, travel, whatever) and then back you go. Assaulted by the past, the place you grew up in, the people you knew, the ghosts of your past. 

Of course Clementine and Donovan had a rougher time than most - Donovan grew up in a trailer with a drug addict for a mom; Clementine had a horrible stepfather and stepbrother and a clueless, ignorant, jerk of a mom. But this is a love story of understanding and overcoming and accepting happiness when it presents itself. Plus well written sexy times! 

I'm not going to get into specifics, not that my blog has a huge following, but just because. But vaguely, a lot of this book is a lot like my life. Without some of the worst parts, but with some of the bad parts. I definitely have to read more of Ms. Rose's books.

She was stuck in limbo, lost half in the past and half in the present with no light at the end of the tunnel. And it was comforting, in a way. At least she was lost with Donovan, instead of without him.

"Memories are all you've got over there," he said. "You have to fight them all the time - to be present..."

"The past doesn't change, no matter how much you think about it."

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