Author: Trudy Stiles
Series: Forever Family #1
Release Date: December 3, 2013
Genre: New Adult
More Info: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon US
Purchase: Barnes & Noble
Two women. Carly and Tabitha. They each have suffered life-altering events that have left them both traumatically damaged.
Carly Sloan’s life was perfect until her security and innocence was torn from her. The vast repercussions from horrific events threaten to destroy her stability and her chances for a happily ever after. Kyle Finnegan comes into Carly’s life at the height of her turmoil. Can he help her find what she desires most?
Tabitha Fletcher has constantly suffered from a very young age. She has been hiding from her past, which was full of sadness, loss and abuse. She has been so brutally damaged that she has very little hope for redemption. The revolving door of men only leads her deeper into misery.
What circumstance brings these two women together and can they help each other heal? And will they each find what they need?
“Dear Emily” is the first book in the “Forever Family” series.
**This book is not suitable for young readers. It is intended for mature adults only (18+). It contains strong language, adult/sexual situations, non-consensual sex and some violence.**
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How do I start off a letter to a child I have yet to meet?
A child that has always been in our hearts?
A child that is meant for our family?
Your Daddy and I cannot wait for the moment we are able to hold you in our arms for the first time. To lay our eyes on your perfect face, eyes, toes. To breathe in the essence of a new baby, swirling scents of powder and linen.
We cannot wait to feel your beating heart against our chests and to listen to your slow and steady breaths. To hear your soft baby noises. To soothe your crying.
We have always dreamed of you, Emily. We’ve dreamed that someday our family would be blessed with a child. We are so close. Our new family is within reach.
We are here hoping, waiting, praying.
Love and kisses,
My eyes are glistening with tears as I scrawl my signature at the bottom of the letter, touch my fingers to my lips, press them onto her name and close my journal. I look over to my left where Kyle is softly snoring, sleeping soundly. I mouth the words “I love you” to him, touch his back lightly, put my journal in my night table drawer and turn out the soft light by my bedside. I curl my body into his, tuck my head into his chest and hold on tight.
I love this man with all that I am and I love the father that he is going to be.
My heart is full of hope.
It’s a shame he fell so hard for me because I’m not sure I can love anyone again. Ever.
Welcome readers. Welcome to a story of two broken girls. Two girls that will literally jump off the page and rip your soul to shreds. Two girls that will burrow their way so deep in your heart, you will wonder how there is a time they weren’t always there. Two girls that will make you feel a range of emotion and shed tears when you think you can’t possibly have any left. A story filled with depth and range, the likes of which you won’t soon forget. A story of dreams; dreams realized and dreams crushed. A story of overcoming obstacles and discovering love. But most importantly, it’s a story of finding and loving yourself for who you are, no matter your flaws.
He is right. I don’t think I’ve ever needed a friend more than I do right now. I have no one. I’m alone. Alone in their present and alone with my past. Alone with my demons.
You have been forewarned; Dear Emily WILL grab you from page one and you will NOT want to stop reading until the very last word. We follow two young women throughout ten years of their lives. Well, two years for Tabitha (Tabby) and ten years for Carly. The storyline bounces back and forth between past and present for both women. The past flawlessly explains how they came to be the women they are today and why they made the decisions that shaped their future. The present heartbreakingly tells how their lives intersect, all coinciding with a tale so beautiful and real. The resulting story is so honest but I won’t go into detail. You can slightly gauge the direction it is headed, but this is truly something you need to experience with no preconceived notions. You would think that this would all get confusing. For all intents and purposes we have four different POV’s, and a constant time change. But that would be where you are wrong. Debut author Trudy Stiles writes with such passion and grace that you are effortlessly drawn into these flawed characters, left to experience pure raw emotion.
“I’ll still love you tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that. I’m not going anywhere, Tabby. Ever. I’m here for you for as long as it takes for you to be fully here with me.”
Throughout the book there are many dark themes discussed, in detail. While this is NOT for the faint at heart, they are situations that are all too real for way too many. Without even seeing the words on the page, I never had to wonder how they were feeling. Their sorrow and passion bled from the pages, burrowing into my soul. I cried with them. I cried FOR them. For people to be SO uncaring and heartless, it breaks me to know that exists. If there was one major theme throughout this book it is that you are NEVER alone. Carly had her Wine Wednesday friends and Kyle. Well, they were her everyday friends, but I’m going to call them that. With the introduction of Kyle into this story, it took a whole other meaning for me. He melted my heart when it had been full of so much pain. In as much as he tirelessly worked to help Carly heal herself, he healed me. Back to friends. Tabby had Alex, Seth, and Kristen. For the first time in her life, Tabby had people she could count on. This girl WRECKED me! Devastatingly, curled in a ball on the floor, tears streaming wrecked me.
For the first time in as long as I can remember, I have hope. Hope that the crushing pain that I feel in my chest everyday will begin to fade. My youth is gone. My innocence is gone. My baby, Sara, is gone. But, Alex is here. And I have hope.
I absolutely adored this story and cannot wait to see where Trudy takes us next. Though Carly and Kyle’s story is over, Tabby’s is far from it. I fell in love with this character and desperately want for her to get her own happy ending. One where she is unconditionally loved, without exceptions. One where she is number one for someone. One where she is loved and treasured. Firstly though, she will have to learn to do this for herself. Family isn’t who you were born with, it’s who you choose. That statement was never truer than with this book. A solid 4.5 stars from me! Cannot wait for the next installment!