“The brave man is not the one who has no fears; he is the one who triumphs over his fears.” ~Nelson Mandela
Author: Amanda Dick
Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Romantic Suspense
Published By: DIP Press (October 29, 2013)
A freak accident, a moment in time, and life changes forever. Stay or go – there’s no such thing as the easy way out.
The accident wasn’t his fault but in the horrific aftermath, Jack’s actions may have possibly caused consequences he could never have foreseen. Consumed with guilt and unable to listen to reason, he takes the only option he believes is open to him: he disappears. Living a quiet life away from everyone he loves, he drops off the grid but the memories continue to haunt him.
Four years later, a funeral signals a homecoming fraught with tension as he finally forces himself to face up to the consequences of his actions. Betrayed and angry, his former best friend Callum wants nothing more than to see him disappear once again – for good this time. Meanwhile his ex-girlfriend Ally has moved on and he can see that his return is anything but easy for her. People change, life goes on and things are never as simple as they seem. The past has a habit of catching up with you when you least expect it.
Living with regret and guilt almost tore him apart, but there is no guarantee that trying to make amends will soothe his soul or help the people he loves the most.
Courage has many faces. Fighting for what you believe in, no matter what. Showing strength of mind and body when the cards are stacked against you. Rising to the challenge and playing through the pain.
And yet sometimes, courage means simply standing your ground.
My Thoughts: I enjoy books that make you feel, whether it’s love, hate, fear, revolution, etc., I enjoy reaching the full gamut of emotions.
Ms. Dick’s writing and tragic story was exceptionally compelling, striking my heartstrings with the unhappiness of these young people, life changed forever by a moment. All the friends and the father of Jack are victims in this tragedy, not just those in the car accident.
This story speaks of the strength of friendship strengthened in the face of adversity. They had a special connection since high school, so when Ally, age 26, becomes paraplegic caused by the accident, they all work together to help her find her way to a more complete life. All that is, except Jack. Jack blamed himself for the accident and couldn’t let go of the guilt when he heard that Ally was going to be paralyzed. He ran, left town, left his dad, his other friends and lived in anguish for four years. He found ways to continue punishing himself. The four years did not erase the nightmares, the remembering and the love for his friends and particularly Ally.
Callum struggles to fill the void created by Jack’s leaving. He is bitter about the whole event. In the helping of Ally he’s fallen in love with her only to have it not reciprocated. Ally still has feelings for Jack; he who left her before she even woke up in the hospital. So when Jack comes back for his father’s funeral, Callum has a real problem with his presence.
The story, well-crafted, had a suspenseful edge, enhancing the story and engaging my interest and emotions. The author’s well-balanced writing had no apparent plodding scenes. Ms. Dick moves the story/plot forward without repetitive events, keeping me totally involved in this tragedy, even feeling remorse right along with Jack.
Jack grew a lot throughout the story. He learned to face up to his past instead of running and found he loved the new Ally more than the old. He also discovered he was strong enough to help Ally let him back into her life and trust he would not leave her again.
Callum was a complicated character, having several facets to his personality. He thought poorly of himself, yet treated Ally with love and did much to get her back on her feet. He wished Jack hadn’t come back; he saw that Ally was on a more even keel in accepting her plight. Yet, when he realized that Jack and Ally were still in love, he helped Jack be strong enough to be there for her.
The story does have a happily-ever-after-ending after much hardship, anger, and anguish by friends and father. It taught me how difficult such an event can be for so many people and the efforts it takes on so many levels. This was also an inspirational read for after all the hurt, disappointment and tragedy, there is still room for love, acceptance and healing. Ms. Dick did an outstanding job with her first novel. It is not easy to write such a story with exactly the right balance to make it a really good one. And it was a good one! I’m pleased she requested me to read it.
Just one more thing. Ms. Dick prefaces each chapter with some very potent quotes from famous people pertinent to the chapter. The above quote was from chapter 3.
She is rather partial to dark chocolate and believes in the power of a good vanilla latte. If she was marooned on a desert island, her three luxury items would be her iPod, her cellphone and her Levi’s. You can judge her – she won’t mind.
After living in Scotland for five years, she has now settled back home in her native New Zealand, where she lives with her husband and two children.
Her debut novel, “Absolution”, was released on 29 October 2013. Her second novel, “Between Before and After”, was released on 31 May 2014. She is currently working on several projects.