Monday, November 2, 2015

Review: A Kindled Winter by Rachel L. Demeter

A week before Christmas, Jeseca Reed sets off for Blue River, Oregon—her childhood home and a vault of tender memories. However, fate takes an unexpected turn when she’s left stranded in the mountains’ vast, untamed wilderness. Desperate and alone, she seeks shelter at a cottage and finds herself in the arms of a mysterious stranger.

Dr. David Drake was once a renowned cardiovascular surgeon. But a devastating tragedy has left him scarred both inside and out, unable to use his hands to operate again. For the past five years, his Blue River cottage has been his sole escape—a safe haven where he can shut out the world, bury himself in his grief, and reunite with his son’s memory.

Together they are summer and winter. Fire and ice. And yet a poignant connection forms between them. Jeseca awakens David and thaws his heart with a romance hot enough to melt snow. But before David and Jeseca can fully embrace each other, they must wade through darkness and confront the ghosts of their pasts …

This is the first book that I've had the opportunity to read by Rachel L. Demeter and it probably won't be the last. When picking up a book by an unknown (to me) author, I really never know what to expect. I had seen that it was highly rated and now I know why. 

The story that Demeter has created was incredibly tragic yet endearing. I don't know how she could reach such sorrowful depths with these two characters and then at the same time have the novel still read with a hopeful lilt to it. It was truly an amazing thing to experience. One moment, I would be just very sad and then the next, smiling at the interactions between the doc and Jeseca and then hoping that things would work out for the two characters that were involved in the novel. 

While the story was hauntingly beautiful at times and just roll along at a steady clip, there were a few instances where the novel seemed to lose momentum and it would take a couple of pages to get back to the speed it had previously been rolling along at. Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily ... at first, it created a dampening to the story that I felt didn't need to be there but the further that I progressed into A Kindled Winter, I realized that the story needed these ebbs and flows within the story-line. It is necessary to roll with those punches because that is exactly what the characters are going through. If you are ever lucky enough to find a book where you can put yourselves into the characters shoes and feel the sorrow, joy, despair and elation, you've found a good book. This is that good book.

I was completely entranced by the good doctor and Jeseca and in conjunction, the relationship that they both seemed to crave. I love watching a seriously flawed character fight to be the person that they know that they can be. To me, it feels like humanity at its finest. I love the struggle and this book is full of that. 

I have so much more that I could say but I'm trying to be a bit cryptic so that I don't give away any secrets. This novel is a short one and I think any kind of specific details could ruin that first read magic that I always hope for when picking up a book for the first time. I'll definitely read another by this author and I'm excited to see what else she has up her sleeve for future novels. 

* I received this novel in exchange for an honest review *

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