I have to give myself some time to think about what I want to say. This just totally blew me away! The writing is phenomenal! It had me in tears as I just was so affected by the author’s words. I hope that I can do this author justice as far as how this book really made me appreciate the support of friends and an everlasting love. Not much I can say at this time...
“I’m lost. I feel lost, I guess I should say. Out of control, out of focus, like I can’t get my bearings.” ~ Cassie (Chap. 29)
That is how young Cassie Cooper feels. And, it’s heartbreaking to read about. When Cassie was eight years-old, she was a young victim of abuse. An abuse that no child should be a victim of. It broke her spirit and the payfulness of her young youth that should have been questioned by her parents, but never was. From that moment on, she has been lost and damaged. Such a sad story, but yet one that is unlifting during the most resilient epilogue I’ve ever read. It talks about hope. It talks about love. But, it mostly talks about having a voice to tell your story that could somehow have an impact on others. I’m telling you it was powerfully said! And, how Cassie gets to this most courageous point in her life is actually her story.
The author pulls you into the story with one painful prologue. The reader is introduced to Cassie and her feelings of how dark and unfeeling her life has now become. She hides it well from friends, but when she meets Grady Bennett, he can already see in her eyes that she’s not “with him”. It’s the isolation from people that she’s good at guarding. A personal touch. Someone in her private space. It’s all so suffocating. Grady tells her that she has time to tell her story. Whenever she’s ready. But, she just can’t. He’ll judge her. Find her dirty.
Oh, wow! I was just so sad for Cassie. She’s always the life of the party. The girl always with a smile. Her past was so heartbreaking. And, she totally blames herself and thinks she’s unworthy of being loved. Grady is one hunky dude! And, not only is he a good looker, but he’s sweet and kind, and is totally in it for the long haul. Their relationship is on fire! The intimacy is off-the-charts HOT!!! But, how can she move on when she’s so broken?? And, that’s when Dr. Aubrey Miller makes her appearance. She’s the catalyst to Cassie’s healing.
I loved this book! It was passionate and tender. The writing is beautiful and poignant. The author puts feelings into her words as shows the reader that it’s okay to be damaged, but it’s the work that goes into healing that is the most important. And, it always helps to have the love and support of your family and friends to plod through the darkest of days. Ms. Simmons agains “wows” me with her courageous characters and powerful storyline. I can’t tell you how much I was affected by Cassie’s story. And, while Cassie was indeed a remarkable woman, Grady was equally a fascinating man. One novel not to be missed!!!
***WARNING – THE BELOW LISTED QUOTATIONS TAKEN FROM OUT OF FOCUS, MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS***
“I read obsessively to escape my own world. To live the dreams of others when, for so long, the reoccurrence of my nightmares has been my reality. I read to fall in love and find a happily ever after, even if it is purely imagined. With each story I read, I’m able to live and love vicariously through the characters in my books. It’s the only plausible way for me to survive.” ~ Cassie (Chap. Prologue)
“Why would he bother? Because he is kind. He is so many things. Deliciously cooked breakfasts. Throughtful. Warm arms wrapped around me when I felt sad or had an awful client. Kind. Sharing his memories of his sister with me. Funny taking me to my favorite ice cream shop just because. Generous. Teaching me self-defense tirelessly. Selfless. Why would he bother? Because he is Grady Bennett.” ~ Cassie (Chap. 27)
“Sometimes, if you’re lucky enough, there comes a point in your life when you stop cowering and somehow muster the courage to raise your head to take a good, hard look at your reflection, and in turn, at your life. A point in time when you finally rise above your manufactured walls to observe exactly where the road you’ve chosen has landed you. And when you see everything at once, all the missed opportunities and numerous broken relationships, the sight is enough to shatter an already broken heart.” ~ Cassie (Chap. 28)
“In avoiding my past, I’ve cut off any chance I’ve ever had to really live. Because the truth is, the past is an extension of one’s self. It’s an integral part of who you are, and if you refuse to acknowledge it, if you refuse to nurture and heal its wounds, that part will eventually dwindle to nothing and its death will spread like a frenzied virus. Before you know it, any remnants of the person you were no longer exists. One day, you’ll wake up and take a long look in the mirror, with absoluately no recognition of the person standing in front of you. Even worse, you will loathe them.” ~ Cassie (Chap. 28)
“But then I met Grady and everything slowed, bringing everything back into focus and forcing me to see what I had been missing. I just started wanting more. Wanting to be happy. Wanting to find love. Wanting things I never thought I could have. And then six weeks ago, I was reminded of why I should never have hoped for those things. My world sped up, and everything became distorted and unclear. I lost my focus. And with it, I lost that hope. I lost him. And lost myself. Again.” ~ Cassie (Chap. 29)
“COURAGE CAN BE SUCH a fleeting emotion. One moment, you feel it rising in your blood, strengthening your resolve as it prepares you to face your greatest fears. The next, it recedes like the tide of the ocean, leaving you bereft, uncertain of its existence in the first place.” ~ Cassie (Chap. 30)
“Love isn’t an obligation. In fact, it’s when you find it so willingly offered in the most unexpected places that you should hold on to it and never let go, because that love is real, unconditional.” ~ Cassie (Chap. 32)
“Thank you, Grady Bennett, for waiting for me to land strong. Thank you for believing in me and guiding me to safety. And thank you, most of all, for showing me what love is. For teaching me the meaning, the unadulterated beauty of the emotion, as it exists between the two of us...The way it was meant to be experienced. Home.” ~ Cassie (Chap. 33)
“Everyone has a story. I can only pray mine has helped someone come to terms with their own. Are you that person? And if so, what do you plan to do with your story? If you hear me, if I’ve spoken to you, then I leave with you the same four words that changed my life. The choice is yours.” ~ Cassie (Epilogue)
ANOTHER COVER THAT IS SIMPLY GORGEOUS!!!
Review Written, 3/29/16