Friday, January 30, 2015

Withering Hope by Layla Hagen

Withering Hope
Withering Hope by Layla Hagen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received a free copy of this book to read and review for Wicked Reads.

Damn you Layla Hagen. I just finished reading Withering Hope and my eyes hurt and my nose is stuffed up from crying. The last book that left me feeling this way upon its conclusion was Always by Kindle Alexander. I found myself so invested in Aimee and Tristan that I felt their guilt, their pain, their happiness, their fear, their love, and their loss on a soul deep level. This is one of those books that will stick with me for a very long time; one that I might never read again, but don’t regret one single tear shed over it.

As the blurb indicates, the majority of the story takes place while Aimee and Tristan are stranded when their plane crashes in the Amazon rainforest. Ms. Hagen wastes no time in getting straight to the action. While there is no buildup of the characters and their backstory, Aimee’s memories and flashbacks provided enough history that I was drawn in almost immediately. Like Tristan, I underestimated Aimee’s resolve and expected her to break down several times throughout the ordeal. Her strength was awe-inspiring and those rare times when she finally did break down, I couldn’t fault her for it. While most of the book is told from Aimee’s point of view, we do get a few chapters from Tristan’s POV and while short, they reveal a lot about Tristan and his feelings toward Aimee. He was drawn to Aimee long before the crash, but the gratitude he had for Chris, Aimee’s fiancé, and the respect he had for both Chris and Aimee made him keep his distance. After the crash, he continues to do so while doing everything that he can to insure her safety. When Aimee inadvertently soothes Tristan’s inner turmoil, he admits to himself that he cannot give up the peace she brings him. Even though Tristan realizes that his feelings toward Aimee have changed, she resists self-examination of her feelings because she loves Chris and has since they were children. But when the jungle seems intent on testing their mortality, Aimee is forced to admit that the love she feels for Chris does not compare with what she has come to feel for Tristan. Rather than being smothered by guilt, Aimee finds that this admission actually frees her and she becomes determined to live happily with Tristan for as long as the rainforest will let them because nature’s threats are getting closer and more dangerous.

Withering Hope is a romance that is full of drama, action, danger, and love. Unlike many of the angst-fueled books I read (and enjoy), the drama within is not manufactured by the characters but rather, it is due to their surroundings and their circumstances. Being faced with life and death situations cause both Aimee and Tristan to examine their lives, their feelings, and their expectations. I have a tendency to enjoy books in which the characters engage in serious self-examination and Withering Hope is no exception. While I can’t say that Aimee and Tristan’s story is a happy one, I can say that they find happiness in the time they have together. So when you’re ready for a story of true love and you don’t mind shedding the tears that go with it, grab your hanky, find a quiet place to read in private (because no one in real life is pretty crier), and settle in for a read that will break your heart while mending it at the same time. Beautifully done Ms. Hagen.

Wicked Reads Review Team

Check out the Withering Hope by Layla Hagen blog post on Wicked Reads.

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