Friday, October 2, 2015

OctobeRec Fest Review #1 ~ Poughkeepsie ~ Debra Anastasia #2015HW

Poughkeepsie (Poughkeepsie Brotherhood, #1)Poughkeepsie by Debra Anastasia
Poughkeepsie Brotherhood #1
Release Date: November 22, 2011
Genre: Adult/New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: Purchased on Nook from B&N
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Recommended by: Andrea, formerly The Bookish Babe

He counts her smiles every day and night at the train station. And morning and evening, the beautiful commuter acknowledges him--just like she does everyone else on the platform. But Blake Hartt is not like the others...he's homeless. Memories of a broken childhood have robbed him of peace and twisted delusions into his soul. He stays secluded from the sun, sure the world would run from him in the harsh light of day.

Each day, Livia McHugh smiles politely and acknowledges her fellow commuters as she waits for the train to the city. She dismisses this kindness as nothing special, just like her. She's the same as a million other girls--certainly no one to be cherished. But special or not, she smiles every day, never imagining that someone would rely on the simple gesture as if it were air to breathe.

When the moment comes that Livia must do more than smile, without hesitation she steps into the fray to defend the homeless man. And she's surprised to discover an inexplicable connection with her new friend. After danger subsides, their smiles become conversation. Their words usher in a friendship, which awakens something in each of them. But it's not long before their bond must prove its strength. Entanglements from the past challenge both their love and their lives.

Blake's heart beats for Livia's, even if her hands have to keep its rhythm. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love never fails. Love never fails, right?

In an interwoven tale of unlikely loves and relationships forged by fire, Debra Anastasia takes readers into the darkest corners of human existence, only to show them the radiant power of pure adoration and true sacrifice. Complicated families and confused souls find their way to light in this novel, which manages to be racy, profane, funny, and reverent all at once.

*Recommended by Andrea, formerly The Bookish Babe*

First of all, I apologize in advance for this review meandering all over the place. This story touched me deeply and even though I waited a day to write my review, I still feel it's all over the place...just like my emotions about Poughkeepsie.

I'm a firm believer in fate - that things happen for a reason and as they're meant to. Reading Poughkeepsie reinforced that belief. How else could these characters have come into one anothers' lives, made such a profound and lasting impact?

Poughkeepsie didn't just reinforce my belief in fate. It also evoked intense emotions and made me consider the ways in which we all make snap judgements about people. I mean, what would you think if you asked a friend what they were reading and they told you, "Oh, I'm reading this book about a homeless guy, a criminal, and a would-be priest all finding love."? Yeah. We see a homeless person and we form an opinion...we hear about a criminal and we pass judgement. But we don't know the why behind this person's present circumstances. Poughkeepsie has many layers woven together that created a beautiful, touching story.

The main characters are two sisters, Livia and Kyle, Eve, a woman hellbent on revenge, and Blake, Bennett, and Cole, three men who became family to each other having been foster brothers. The circumstances under which they all meet were serendipitous. And the intersection of their lives alters the course of all their lives. In each other they find healing, redemption, and love.

"I wanted to make their lives worth living. That's what they'd done for me--made my life worth living. They're my family." -Bennett
I loved this quote because it explained the depth of feeling between this odd patchwork group of guys.

"He does life wrong for all the right reasons." -Blake about Bennett
This seemed so appropriate because it's true of Bennett but also of all the characters to a certain degree...particularly Blake and Cole. Blake is homeless because of misplaced guilt. Cole has dedicated his life to the church as penance for an act he didn't commit. Bennett's life of crime serves the sole purpose of taking care of his brothers. Even the girls are guilty of doing things in the wrong way but for the right reasons. Seeing them all come together, witnessing the beauty of each of their souls, that's what Poughkeepsie was about.

I enjoyed the added depth that the multiple POVs provided and liked how Ms. Anastasia included the backstory on each of the boys. Getting a glimpse at what their lives were like in childhood, seeing the spirit and sense of justice they had even then, endeared them to me all the more. I'm guessing you're seeing that the guys made the biggest impact on me. But I was equally as moved by the girls. Livia with her strong spirit and pure soul - it's a special person that can make contact with a homeless person and care so much for that person, no matter his circumstances. Kyle broke my heart with her belief that she wasn't good enough or important enough to love. And Eve...goodness what that woman went through. Livia was the least damaged of the three but what they all had in common is inner-strength. There was something so sure about their souls that they could see past the outside and into the center of goodness in each of the men.

The only knocks against the story are for some editing issues and the few over-the-top instances. Obviously, though, this is a story that will stick with me for a long while. It's a good thing there's more to the story.

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