***POSSIBLE SPOILERS PRESENT WITHIN REVIEW***
3/2/15 – What an amazing story! I loved it! Finished reading it around 2:30 this morning. Just couldn’t put it down! I had to know how everything played out in the end! Mia Sheridan strikes again with one powerful couple...
3/4/15 - Wow! What did I just read? That was just Mia Sheridan putting beautiful words down on paper, sucking me into her story, and playing with my emotions magnificently. Again, the author just blows me away with her ability to create characters that are so brave and confident. Both main characters within this book were passionately honest about leaving their dirt-poor broken lives behind. Both Kyland Barrett and Tenleigh Falyn have lived their entire lives in a small mining town in the Appalachian Mountains. There’s not much within their town other than the mine that employs men from the surrounding area. So, when they become seniors in high school, their idea of winning the Tyton Coal Scholarship is their only hope to leave the desolent town behind.
Tenleigh pretty much keeps to herself walking six miles to and from school where her small trailer sits on the mountain. And, Kyland really has no friends to speak of as he resides in a meager house along that same mountain. They soon begin to strike up conversations as they encounter each other every now and then. Neither one wants to form any long-lasting attachment, but as their friendship deepens and they begin to form a more intimate relationship, what will happen when there can only be one possible winner for the scholarship that will take them away from their painful and destitute life? Now, when I say that they were dirt-poor, I really mean these people didn’t know if they were going to be eating a meal from one day to the next. It was beyond sad. So heartbreaking that these people were that desperate just to survive. Kyland and Tenleigh were two caring and compassionate people that just wanted to make a better life for themselves and the ones they loved. They were a super warm-hearted couple that were so attracted to each other. When their intimacy progresses, Kyland is more than patient and tender with Tenleigh. He’s just such beautiful guy. Tenleigh knows what his ultimate plan for the future is, but she still falls head-over-heels for him entirely. What transpires eventually, though, when one of them destroys the other with a betrayal so despicable that the other is devastated to the extreme, just can’t be denied or understood whatsoever. Oh, man, it was such a slap in the face. Just so deplorable! Damn, I cried!! I knew that something dire was going to happen, but I was not prepared for it to be so unbearably wretched. Will they ever get their “happily ever after” as a couple?? I just couldn’t say. Not every book has to end with a HEA – right?
My God, this book really did me in. It was so uplifting that two people could really put each other before themselves. To sacrifice their happiness to save one another was nothing less than commendable. Two unselfish and caring individuals that were each other’s half to their whole. Such a great couple that I kept rooting for them every step of the way towards getting out of their current reality of hell. Ms. Sheridan pulls the reader into the book as you meet the people and their existence of a meager Kentucky town. Her prose was beautifully written as she describes in detail the characters’ lives and their bitter task for survival. This was one emotional novel that had me thinking about it long after the last paged was turned. I finished this book two days ago, and I’m still thinking about those people and their bitter will to survive both mentally and physically. Just such an eye-opening type of story about a topic that I’m sure really does exist in today’s society. I’m so thrilled to see what this author will tackle next. Her stories are complex but yet so relatable. Her characters deal with some of the most desperate circumstances that life has to offer. But, they are survivors and their stories are moving beyond substance. Loved, loved this novel! I don’t think that I ever high-lighted so much of an author’s written words before. I hope that anyone who reads this story feels the same sort of compelling message as I did...
“What are your dreams? Tell me,” he whispered.
To fall in love with someone who stays. To stop wishing so hard it could be you.
“Hmm. To see the ocean. To dance in the surf. To go to dinner at a restaurant. To have more than one pair of shoes. To get one of those store-bought birthday cakes with the perfect pink roses in the corners. To get my mama a good doctor who knows how to heal her. To be a teacher-to inspire kids to love books as much as I do. To live in a house with a yard and a garden and my very own bed.”
He was quiet for a second. Finally, he said very quietly, “You should have all those things and more.”
“What are your dreams, Kyland? Other than leaving here...what things do you hope for?”
He was silent for several beats. “I want to be an engineer. I want to have a refrigerator that’s always stocked with food. I want to do something that matters-that really, really makes a difference. And I want to recognize that thing when it shows up.”
I smiled, grateful he had shared that part of his heart with me. “I bet you’ll do all those things, and even more,” I said, feeling just a tinge of sadness. I wanted him to achieve his dreams, but I wondered if, when he did, I would only be a small memory in his head. ~ Tenleigh (Chap. 14)
“I think that when enough time has passed, when you’ve survived that which you didn’t imagine you could, there’s a dignity in that. Something you can own. A pride in knowing the pain made you stronger. The pain made you fight to succeed. Someday, when I’m living my dreams, I’m going to think of all the things that broke my heart and I’m going to be thankful for them.” – TF
Even you, Kyland. ~ Tenleigh (Chap.15)
“We had everything we needed. None of it was big. Most of it was simple. But what I knew in that moment was that the size of your home, your car, your wallet, doesn’t have one single thing to do with the size of your life. And my life...my life felt big, filled with love and with meaning.” ~ Kyland (Epilogue)
Review Written, 3/4/15