Friday, January 22, 2016

Review: Night Fires by Dawn H Sidebottom

I would watch him watch the ocean. He would build fires and sit, all night waiting.
For her. For his dead wife.
She never came. I never expected her to. But he did. And he never let go.
Even when I fell in love with him he never let go.
Until the night of the storm. The night my worst nightmares came to life.
And I lost everything to her when she finally returned.
For us both.

This book contains scenes of sex, violence and substance abuse.

3 Stars 

Review by Jen Hagen

D.H. Sidebottom has become an author that I have a love/hate relationship with.  She more often than not sucker punches me, writes a story filled with emotion and pain, and ends it on a beautiful note.  She writes with a guarantee that love is not always hearts and flowers.  

Alice lost everything in her life about a year ago.  She has struggled to come back from that huge loss.   She has used heroin and alcohol to keep the pain at bay and to see the faces of those she has lost.

The room swam before me as I took a long pull on a bottle.  Why wasn’t it numbing everything?  Why could I still remember? 

Carter has also lost something.  Every night for the past year he lights a fire for his wife to find her way back to him.  Carter is a quiet man with a scowl etched on his handsome face, and everybody stays out of his way.  He has struggled with alcohol but is now sober.   Initially he and Alice couldn’t even form a friendship, but little by little they have witnessed each other’s hidden pain, understood the shared grief, knows the daily struggles, and have formed an unspoken support system. 

“It’s okay, we don’t have to remember.  You don’t have to do anything, Alice.  Just sink into me and let me take it all for you.”

Can Carter and Alice deal with their grief to lead themselves into a relationship, or is intimacy between them just a way to mask their ever-consuming sadness?

There was something deep in his eyes, and when I saw it, it was like he’d just slapped me – regret, guilt, and sorrow.  I didn’t want to look at it, it hurt, and I turned away from him.

If there was a way to measure grief, I have no doubt that these two combined would shoot that meter reading right off the chart.   Carter and Alice were a perfect fit for one another.  They understood each other and what it meant to take on each other’s immeasurable grief.  It wasn’t going to be a smooth ride, but with support they could make it work.  Both Carter and Alice will have people from their past showing up to make a mess of their newly-found love.   Let’s hope Carter and Alice are strong enough to keep their love afloat and not carried off to sea by the storm. 


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