by Sloan Johnson
Released: April 22, 2014
My rating: 4 of 5 ⭐️
It has been six years since Melanie Erickson set foot in the house once bought for her to spend the rest of her life in. She now entered it, intending to make sure her new patient's last months would be as comfortable as possible. That is her job, preparing people for the inevitable. What makes this case so much more complicated, is the fact that her patient's husband, is the same man who turned her out of this house all those years ago. A man she had never quite been able to let go.
Devastated by the impending death of his beloved wife and the mother of their young son, Xavier Ross can barely hold himself together. To think that only a few years ago, he resented the woman he had felt compelled to marry, now he couldn't imagine his life without her. When the only other woman who had ever owned his heart turns up to guide them through this last phase, it seems that fate has a cruel sense of humor. But Melanie turns out to be exactly what their family needs to suck the marrow out of the time they have left.
What remains after is a state of confusion where the past bleeds unresolved into a present that is filled with insecurity. Both Melanie and Xavier realize that their connection is very much alive, but so much is muddying the waters, it's unsure if they can see a clear path to their hearts.
A beautiful and strong novel, in complete departure from what we are used to from Sloan Johnson. This is a dramatic book with a strong emotional focus and little sex. Not a tear-jerker as such but a deeply introspective story about choices, about maturity, about sacrifice and above all, about seizing life.
A lot of the character growth has already taken place between the time Melanie and Xavier broke up and current time, but even more changes take place in the months to follow. The breakup had shaped and directed both of their lives some in positive, some in negative ways. Their inadvertent reunion gave them an opportunity to gain some clarity and on some issues some closure, which ultimately completed the resolution of their initial relationship, opening them up for a more mature and healthier one.
The one question that remains unclear for me as a reader, is why bother to introduce the former relationship as a Dominant/submissive relationship, if that really has little to no impact on the actual story, other than be an excuse for the break up. If that were something that would have perhaps been brought up again as a stumbling block in a new relationship they were forging, I could understand it. But it wasn't. So why was that mentioned? I'm not listing it in any way with a BDSM tag, because other than the allusion that the relationship was once there, we see no real evidence of it.
Nevertheless, I applaud Sloan for stepping outside of a certain comfort zone and daring to venture into a direction that requires tremendous empathy, psychological intelligence and considerable writing skill. All of which Sloan proves to have in abundance. This book was written with utmost respect and consideration and I would be surprised should anyone find anything offensive in the contents.
If anything, this story has once again affirmed to me the importance of not always over-thinking, always analyzing everything. Sometimes we simply need to close our eyes and jump in the deep end, just because the water looks good, and the sun is shining. Simple. Let's keep it simple.
✨An intensely emotional and deeply insightful book about loss, love and life.✨