Tuesday, October 1, 2013

LET IT BE ME by Toni Aleo

LET IT BE ME by Toni Aleo
Advanced Reading Copy
Published: October 2, 2013, Toni Aleo

My rating: 5 of 5 ⭐

Do you see that woman there?
The one with long, wavy blond hair and blue eyes that used to sparkle?
That’s me, Violet Moore.
Do you see those men over there?
One is my husband, Rob.
A man who claimed he loved me, but proved his fist loved me more.
The other is Tucker McCloud, my savior and confidant.
I'm torn between what's right and my own fear.
But not anymore.
I’m taking my life back now.
I will fight back.
I will be happy.

In most stories dealing with an abusive situation, we usually see a heroine tentatively trying to rebuild her life after already having had the courage to leave an abusive situation. In this book we are confronted with the realities of everyday life, living under those circumstances. It is not always a pretty picture, but it is the picture. The story here is not necessarily the why or how we got to this point, but more about a growing awareness of how wrong the situation is, and how to mentally and physically untangle ourselves. 

"We all want the same thing here. 
We all want you to get away and be happy, like you want but I'm telling you, you're never going to leave if you keep waiting until you're ready. 
Because, honestly, you'll never be ready. 
You have to just go. You have to do this. 
You're ready in our eyes. If you weren't you wouldn't be here. 
You can do this. You can leave. Just do it. 
Don't let him hold you back. Go!"

In LET IT BE ME, Toni Aleo is showing us something different, she shows us the process of leaving. The moment when the apathy is broken through by something or someone. When the awareness that what is happening to you is not ok, finally starts settling in. The craving for a little slice of peace, or perhaps even happiness is born, and the slow and painful gathering of courage and self confidence needed to extricate yourself from your situation, begins.

We travel along inside the mind of a young, rather naive and initially apathetic and powerless Violet, who fell head over heels in love and was quickly overwhelmed and controlled by the much more savvy and powerful Rob. As is often the case in situations like that, she was methodically cut off from friends and family until Rob was the only one filling her vision, her life. But when she finds a job she loves, in an environment that makes her feel good about herself, she very tentatively starts building up a sense of self worth.

Then Tucker comes along as a catalyst. A little older, a little more world wise, very insightful and interested in Violet's well being. He continues to put himself squarely in front of her, availing himself to her as a lifeline. Not forceful, not overwhelming........just there. A safe haven, something Violet hasn't known in recent years. Tucker has the wisdom not to push, even though it goes against every instinct, realizing the importance of Violet's own victories.

Reading LET IT BE ME was painful and frustrating at times; being who I am, I wanted to jump in and knock some heads together, but I realized that this was Violet's story. It had to play out in a way that was best for her. Tucker saw that, even if I didn't always until her story was done. 

An amazingly insightful, and compelling story of a young woman's journey through hell finding her own strength in the process. Toni Aleo has done a phenomenal job with this extremely sensitive and painful subject and made it into a beautiful story of overcoming. She has stepped out of her own comfort zone, to tackle a story that is precariously balanced between utterly depressing and innocently hopeful. Because of the way Toni has written the POV, like a narration from Violet to us, the readers, she has made our connection with the heroine a very personal one, right from the start, and has given the story that light touch of innocence that is as heartbreaking as it is hopeful......

✨A courageous, inspiring and empowering story of rebirth.✨

**ARC received in return for an honest review.**


  1. Great review.. Thanks!!
    Reading this kind of story will definitely leave you emotional but the beautiful thing is that there will be something that will remind you of how the book is written (where you can easily get the feeling of the characters and its story).. =)

  2. This is an excellent review of Let It Be Me. This story touched me on a personal level and was so difficult to read. I was pissed and wanted to kick some serious ##@. It is such a real account of how abuse works, it's scary. Toni is an amazing author and I know this was difficult for her to write. She was spot on and told a story about something that is a silent killer when it gets to this level. Everyone should read this book just to know that it's REAL and happens everyday to women, children and even men.

    1. Thanks, and I hear you.....the book invokes a myriad of emotions, it did for me too. To me that is the sign of a good book, if it can take me along on an emotional journey...... This book did.

  3. Wonderful review. I like your sense of humor, knocking head, because I know that feeling. This book will be added to my list and will be read soon. THANKS!

    1. Thank you so much!! I promise you won't regret it!