Thursday, October 11, 2018

absolution: a novel by Ava Harrison

I was done with love.
When I opened my heart, it was for the men I couldn't have. 
The unattainable ones. 
The ones who would hurt me. 
A vicious cycle I couldn’t seem to stop.
But I had a new resolve. 
Focus on my career.
Stay single.
And then I met him. 
Jace Montgomery. 
A wounded widower with two young kids. 
He was exactly everything I was avoiding.
So I did my best to stay away. 
But then he kissed me. 
And I fell.
Hard for a man who would never be mine…
A man who was broken beyond repair. 
A man who would break me.

When we first meet Jace, he is in a really tough place.  He lost his wife a year ago, he blames himself, and he is struggling to stay connected to his children.  Dealing with his guilt, he works too hard, keeps hours that are too long, and drinks too much.

Sydney is the best friend of Jace's brother's fiance. And, she is worried about Jace...she's not alone, his entire family is worried about him and how he is dealing with the death of his wife...or more accurately, not dealing.

But, here's the thing.  Who is to say how long to grieve, and how you should grieve?  Is there a right or a wrong way?  Yes, you can argue that as he has kids, he has a responsibility to them, to continue to function and support them.  And, that's true.  But, truth and what actually happens are not always the same.  Dealing with things in the "right" way isn't always easy, and sometimes it takes a while to find your new footing, especially when you have been knocked off balance as badly as Jace.

I loved that Sydney understood this, but also struggled with it.  That she sees his flaws, and wants to help him be better, and more, to the people who love and rely on him.  But, that she struggles with how closed he is, and cold.  She struggles with the reasons for them, and with his inability to move past it, even while she understands the reasons why.

There were a lot of plot points that I saw coming in this title.  And, while that is not always bad (sometimes that is a sign of a strong, tightly constructed narrative that has the right bread crumbs to lead you in the right directions) in this one, I felt I was lacking a little bit of the surprise of the narrative.  I still enjoyed it overall.  The writing was strong, it was emotional and the characters were gripping, I cared about them, I wanted things to work for them, and I was glad when Jace and Sydney got to their well-earned happy ending.

I was also drawn to the depiction of human frailty in Jace.  He wasn't perfect, he wasn't holding it together.  He wasn't doing what he was "supposed" to be doing.  And, if we are all honest with ourselves, we have all had those moments where what we do isn't what we should have done.  It's what makes us human, and it's what makes Sydney and Jace human.

I enjoyed this title and I recommend it.

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