Review: Dirt Queen by Nora Blake


Note: An advanced reader copy (ARC) was provided by the author via Grey's Promotions.

"I love you." 
"Always."

I just finished this book, and I demand my heart back, damn it! And someone to restock my box of tissues. And another person to hold my hand as I try to recover from the book hangover. I'm gobsmacked that this is a debut, but Nora Blake clearly belongs on my very short list of authors who knocked me off my feet their first go-around. She's definitely someone to keep my eye on, and if every book she pens going forward is, at the very least, as wonderfully written as Dirt Queen, then I'm going to need to make a lot of room on my bookshelves for them. But I'm getting ahead of myself. This is what happens when I get all giddy over something, but trust me, the giddiness is for absolutely good reason.

Dirt Queen is the story of Aaron Brown and Sarah Stone, best friends from the time they were babies, both nursing feelings that went beyond friendship as teenagers. Then came the time for Sarah to move away when they were sixteen. Promises were made to stay in touch--promises that were broken as distance and changes had them drifting apart. Eleven years later, Aaron hears Sarah's returned to their hometown. He realizes they've changed since they last saw each other, but one thing that hasn't are his feelings for her. He wants the chance he never got when they were younger, but with his life complicated by a pending divorce and two young sons, can he make new promises to his Dirt Queen?

Ah, my heart! I laughed. I swooned. And yes, I cried. Aaron and Sarah's love story--because that's what we have here, an honest-to-goodness story about love and friendship--was heartrending but it's also one that leaves you with a spark of hope. It's a reminder that life is full of "what-ifs" and if we let ourselves get mired down by all those "what-ifs" then we won't be able to live our lives to the fullest. Sometimes, we need to remember to seize the day, to make the most of the opportunities life gives us. Aaron and Sarah knew what life was like when they were apart, so that any potential unknowns weren't enough to stop them being together, regardless of how it may end. After all, life doesn't come with guarantees; however, Aaron and Sarah's story reminds us that what we can guarantee is how go into each day--with an open heart and mind, ready to embrace experiences, both life-changing and everyday ones, to make memories that will last a lifetime and beyond.

Dirt Queen is a must-read, and an inspiring one at that, especially when you realize that it's based on a true story. This novel will remain in my heart and deservedly so. I tip my hat to Nora Blake on what's turned out to be a highly impressive debut release. I cannot wait to see where her promising writing career takes her. And my heart goes out to the real-life Aaron and Sarah. I don't have the words to adequately express how much Dirt Queen moved me, other than thank you for sharing your touching story with the author. Your love lives on, through this book and all those who bore witness to it. Five-plus stars.

Release Date: 20 May 2021

Date Read: 20 May 2021

Learn more about Nora Blake.

Purchase Dirt Queen on Amazon.

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