Author: Ann Whitely-Gillen
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
First Published: 2013
Page Count: 278
Film/ TV Adaptation: No
Rating: 3/5 Stars
It’s a slow start, but eventually the evolution of the characters and a few dramatic events allow the reader to awaken from their reverie.
*Unexpected plot twists *Genuine character stories
* Unlikable main character…initially *Unrealistic love story…initially
“In the end, love remains the only immortal part of our existence, with which we should all be compelled to make our mark.” James Milligan tragically loses his best friend when he is very young and it still manages to haunt him at age thirty-five. He suffers from crippling panic attacks and has trouble socializing. The only place he finds peace is in the veteran’s hospital his father built. However, when a new nurse, Rebecca Doyle, starts work there, James has to decide whether he has the strength to break away from his pattern of finding solace with the dying veterans and see if he can manage to let someone into his life again.
Well, I had a really hard time with this book and it only makes sense this time around to start with the negatives because all of my issues with the story popped up when I began reading. I was so bored; I don’t know, the story was just not for me and I struggled to get through it. James Milligan seemed incredibly rude and practically hard-hearted based on his lack of caring towards others. Even with his mysterious past that we aren’t introduced to until later, I still thought a history like that wouldn’t make someone that unfeeling. This was also why I had a huge problem with the love story that was trying to form. Rebecca Doyle is completely enamored by James, who for the majority of the book is a complete jerk to her. I can understand someone having a crush in the beginning of meeting someone, but I can’t imagine a single mother, who has already been through a divorce, that would have put up with the lack of positive encouragement from James about their relationship. So, for the majority of the book , I was just sort of floating along, waiting for something to happen and struggling to buy the story the author was giving.
I did give this a “pick it” rating though, so where did the book start to go right? It’s when we finally learn about James’s past that the story really picks up with two other surprising twists in addition to that one. The twist about James’s past is probably not that unpredictable looking back at the author’s hidden clues but it still shocked me so much that I started actually paying attention to the story. And then somehow the silly love story and characters took on a life of their own. Everything was working and even James wasn’t so unlikable anymore. There’s also this war veteran named Martin who really drives the story at the end and, to me, he seemed like a dead ringer of Morgan Freeman. He had that wise beyond his years and always knows the right thing to say vibe that just makes you love the guy. Everything sort of culminates into a couple great last scenes in the book which really made it hard for me not to give this a good review. The end of the book is definitely touching and I did enjoy all the characters by then so I just couldn’t do it.
The author definitely has talent as a writer and this is apparent from the end and the beginning of the book. If anything she does know how to write characters with heart. It was so hard for me to rate this book because for most of it I was struggling to get through it. But how can you give it a negative review when the last one hundred pages really move you and change your entire view of the characters and the story? I would say if you have the time, give this book a try. It’s work to get there, but once you reach the end you’ll be glad you picked it up.
*I received a free copy of this book for this review from the author.