Review: A Thousand Letters by Staci Hart (Austen #2)
Note: This ARC was provided by the author via Social Butterfly PR in exchange for an honest review.
"You said you didn't owe me anything, and you were right, Elliott. But I owe you everything."
I've only read one other Staci Hart novel prior to this one and I loved it, but that was more of a romantic comedy, and A Thousand Letters was so far removed from that genre. This story of redemption, of taking and giving chances tugged at my heartstrings to the point of fraying and possibly breaking. There was nothing light and breezy about this story, but I'm not complaining. A story like the one of Elliot Kelly and Wade Winters's isn't meant to be an easygoing read. It's emotive and compelling and Staci Hart's weaved a tale that's both heartbreaking and hopeful.
Elliot Kelly and Wade Winters were the best of friends growing up. Then, they fell in love, making plans for the future they believed they were going to have. But plans change, and when Wade made Elliot choose between him and her family, her choice left them both devastated and forced them to go in different directions--Wade to the military and Elliot to college. She sent him letter after letter, each one going unanswered but in his silence, she already knew his answer: he was done with her. Now, seven years later, Wade was back because he had no choice.
Her family's stand tore them apart and his family's heartache has brought them together, but not in the way that Elliot would have wanted. For seven years, she's missed him, and she's loved him for far longer than that. But it appears that seven years may not be enough to forget what her rejection of him did to them. It hasn't erased the anger, hurt, and regret. Elliot and Wade have changed since the last time they saw one another, but it's very well possible that the one thing that hasn't changed is their love for one another. If only the past would stay in the past.
I have no words that I would consider apt enough for the author's storytelling. It moves you yet also soothes once the thoughts and feelings have reached their peak. She's given us two main characters who handle their emotions differently. They're both flawed and they're both grieving one thing too many. However, Elliot is able to cope better than Wade, and as their unfolds and we get longer looks at what happened right before they broke up and the months after, we see exactly why Wade is weighed down by grief, guilt, and the belief that there was no hope left.
I desperately wanted to lock these two up in a room and talk it out. Too many things had been left unsaid during their time apart and there was a lot of hesitation, of taking a step forward followed by a leap back. I also wanted to give Elliot's family a piece of my mind. Their treatment of Elliot was horrible and while I understood where she was coming from when she explained why she allowed them to do so, I felt it was all too much already. The twist concerning them was one that I had guessed midway and I swear, several smackdowns were seriously warranted.
I did need a couple of tissues while reading the book, especially at one pivotal and poignant point in the story. Like I mentioned in the beginning, A Thousand Letters is a heavy read, but if that's what will make you hesitate to pick this book up and read it, I highly encourage you to give it a chance. It may have been inspired by the classic Jane Austen masterpiece Persuasion, but this Hart-penned contemporary romance is able to stand on its own merits. Two books in, and Staci Hart continues to impress and I can't wait for more. Five-plus stars for A Thousand Letters. ♥
Date Read: 14 February 2017
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