By: Stella Samuel
Published: October 4, 2015
Publisher: Stella Samuel
Nikki and Will had that summer romance that every girl dreams about. They sat on the beach, they took long walks, and Will sang Nikki the songs they wrote together. Their romance was full of passion and Nikki thought they would be together forever. Instead, Will wasn't "marriage material" and ended their relationship. Nikki now lives in Colorado with her husband, Chris, and two young children. Her past is being brought back to the front of her mind because she is traveling back home to Virginia to attend Will's wedding. Will and Nikki have maintained a solid friendship over the years, talking weekly, even after Will broke Nikki's heart. A year after Nikki revisits her past by attending Will's wedding, she must again confront it in a much more heartbreaking way, by returning home to Will for his final journey.
Samuel's debut novel is full of emotion, romance, heartbreak, and love. Nikki flashes back often to her time with Will while she is getting her children breakfast, while they nap, and lying in bed. The passion she and Will shared seems to monopolize her thoughts and takes her focus away from her family. Attending Will's wedding was very difficult for Nikki and she spends a large amount of time obsessing over Will rather than enjoying the festivities and her family. I found Nikki's whining and obsession became a bit annoying as I traveled through the story.
When her weekly phone calls with Will stop abruptly after the wedding, Nikki is confused and hurt. She can't understand why Will no longer is making their friendship a priority and his new wife isn't offering any information. A few months later, Nikki is summoned to Will's bedside, and again, the story focuses on Nikki's obsession with her memories of Will. I found the flashbacks to Nikki's relationship with Will to be a bit boring at times. The first few gave a nice picture of the intensity of their romance and the passion Will and Nikki shared, but after awhile, I started skimming them as they were a bit repetitive. Samuel is extremely talented in her writing and I'm sure worked hard on the editing process, I just felt like it was a bit much. The words to the many songs that Will and Nikki wrote were written from the heart. A neat addition to this novel would be a recording of these songs!
When Nikki returns home to be with Will, I felt like his final days were a bit too bogged down in the details. I understand the difficulty associated with someone in his final days without the minutiae of details, including pages of him thrashing in bed or unable to get off the floor. Her focus on Hospice and the wonderful care they provide to patients and their families is commendable. She shows that the final days can be anything but smooth and predictable, but with guidance from Hospice, they can be an invaluable resource.
I think Samuel has a knack for romance writing but needs to find a more concise way to tell the story that will keep readers from skimming. Less is more.
|Stella Samuel - Source|
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