Forever Family Series #1
Release Date: December 3, 2013
Genre: Contemporary Women's Fiction
Source: I received an eARC in exchange for an honest review...and then I bought my own copy
Rating: 5 Bookworms
Two women. Carly and Tabitha. They each have suffered life-altering events that have left them both traumatically damaged.
Carly Sloan's life was perfect until her security and innocence was torn from her. The vast repercussions from horrific evens threaten to destroy her stability and her chances for a happily ever after. Kyle Finnegan comes into Carly's life at the height of her turmoil. Can he help her find what she desires most?
Tabitha Fletcher has constantly suffered from a very young age. She has been hiding from her past, which was full of sadness, loss and abuse. She has been so brutally damaged that she has very little hope for redemption. The revolving door of men only leads her deeper into misery.
What circumstance brings these two women together and can they help each other heal? And will they each find what they need?
**I'm going to do my best not to spoil any part of this story. So if my review seems vague in places, it's intentionally so.**
Dear Emily is an incredible story about two women surviving, forgiving, loving and healing. I loved these two women's story and the hows and whys they intersected. And I love the way in which Ms. Stiles told their story - from past and present, from both Carly's and Tabitha's POV. Carly and Tabitha's stories are heartbreaking, inspiring, and poignant.
Carly's story is told as she's 18 and 29. When she was in college, she experienced a trauma that had far-reaching consequences. As a 29 year old, happily married woman, she's coping with those consequences and searching for a way to heal and have the happiness she and her husband are hoping for.
Tabitha's story is told from her 19 year old self and her 22 year old self. She has experienced abuse and suffered great loss. She has made a decision, which causes her life to cross with Carly's, that she hopes will bring about happiness, forgiveness, and healing.
Dear Emily is also conveyed through letters to Emily, from both Carly and Tabitha. The letters are cathartic for both women. And this was such a unique way to render this part of the story. I think this composition made the story resonate that much more strongly.
I connected with both Carly and Tabitha - despite them being very different women. They're both survivors, although I don't feel either saw their own strength. I did think that Tabitha is a bit more complex of a character, but perhaps that was only because she'd never really had the comfortable life Carly'd had. I delighted in their both having supportive friends. Kyle, Carly's husband, is the strongest person in her life. And I have to say he's a heck of a guy! He stuck by Carly through all that happened to her in college and it made their relationship that much stronger. Tabitha meets Alex and Seth soon after she arrives in Philadelphia, and both serve as friends. They each provide Tabitha with what she's in need of at the time. I was glad that she made some friends but honestly, I wasn't sure either was a healthy choice for Tabitha.
Ms. Stiles did an excellent job in conveying the conflicted feelings, the frustration and feelings of shame, blame, and inadequacy both Carly and Tabitha have in their current circumstances.
Dear Emily is certainly a read full of feels. I laughed, I cried...A LOT. But I think Ms. Stiles delivered a realistic story. And one that was as evocative as it was provocative. It had moments that made me wonder at humanity. And it also gave me hope.
The ending was a shocker! And I'm very anxious to get my hands on Dear Tabitha.