Sunday, June 15, 2014

HOLD ON TIGHT by Serena Bell

by Serena Bell
ARC Review
Release: Jun 17, 2014

My rating: 5 of 5 ⭐️

Fighting for his country gave Jake Taylor’s life shape and meaning. Now as an injured war hero he struggles to find purpose, until he runs into the gorgeous woman he dated briefly—and disastrously—before being deployed eight years ago. Turns out Jake doesn’t just need to figure out how to be a civilian . . . he also needs to learn how to be a dad.

Eighteen, pregnant, and totally lost, Mira Shipley couldn’t track down the soldier who fathered her child, so she put college on hold and focused on making a good life for her son. Now she’s determined to be something more than Sam’s mom, her parents’ daughter, or Jake’s girl—as hot as she finds her old flame’s take-charge attitude in and out of bed. Soon Mira and Jake realize that their passion didn’t disappear when Sam was conceived—and that instead of running away, sometimes it’s better to hold on tight.


Wow!!  I was completely bowled over by this novel, did not expect the deep reaches of the subject matter nor was I prepared for the immediate and total engagement I experienced with the characters and their story.

I have read Serena Bell's work before and have always enjoyed it, but I believe of the novels I've read, this surely rises to a different level. Written with such incredible insight into and understanding of her characters, one of whom struggles with the loss and guilt-ridden aftermath of traumatic experiences during military service, and the other who has given up all sense of herself and her future, in order to care for her child alone. 

Mira carries her own guilt. Guilt towards her child, guilt towards her parents and guilt towards Jake. It is almost as if she has lived in a state of penance for years, not necessarily in caring for her son, but in molding herself to her family's expectations and so denying herself her own dreams. Ironic that just as she is starting to break free from that tether, the next subject of her guilt appears in her life - Jake - who challenges her to put herself out there. 

Jake is numb. It's easier that way, because feeling anything at this point is a painful experience. He exists, no more, simply goes through the motions on a daily basis. That is until he meets Mira again and feels himself yanked back into living, something he is not sure he even wants. His journey back from the desolate place he existed in is symbolized by the gradual adjustments he makes on his prosthesis to fit the life he is now working towards.

Just a beautiful, and yet not overly emotionally weighted, story of two people fighting their way out of a life they were dealt, toward a life they choose whole-heartedly. This book left me feeling warmed, encouraged, bolstered and full. Phenomenal writing by Serena Bell.

✨A potent, intelligent, empathetic and deserving fight for happiness.✨

**Copy provided in return for an honest review.**  Amazon.UK  Amazon.AUS
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