Writing as Elle Harper, author Sibel Hodge has delved into the NA sphere with a tale of loss, love and healing. Be aware that this book could be triggering for some: these characters have experienced abuse, and the process of learning to deal with and recover from guilt, regret and abuse is a central theme of the story.
There are several stories that deal with rape and its aftermath in the NA genre: few manage to deal with a sensitive subject in a way that is both helpful and honest without feeling as if the information, advice or even the character’s reactions are stereotypical or formulated. Elle Harper brings us Grace, alive but not living; she moves through her days since being raped in a fog of one foot in front of the other. The one thing that she does have a grasp of is the unwillingness and inability to move forward without help.
She gathers her courage and joins a group of survivors, and while the group dynamic just wasn’t one that felt right, she left with intentions of finding some other help. Ben is a former MMA fighter, determined to help women after they have been violated: to that end he is working toward being certified in rape counseling, and is running a self-defense class for the women he encounters. Perhaps too little too late, but Ben’s heart is in the right place, and his own guilt and helplessness he felt after not being able to save his sister is a huge reason for his own motivation.
This is a story of two broken people, both with their own wounds and reasons that impair their ability to move forward: together they start to find ways to heal one another, firstly a relationship that was more co-dependent than helpful, then it starts to become a safe place where they can share, grow and start to heal.
Handled with a deft hand, the story unfolds and puts the pain on the page, in some ways lessening the power it has to keep the characters trapped, in others giving readers a sense of the stages and concerns that one would have in a similar situation. While not a “how to survive” guide, as there really isn’t a way to make one that is all-inclusive, this book is a hopeful light and one story of recovery and learning to move forward, all wrapped in a finding love and hope to live again story that will keep you glued to the pages from beginning to end.
Author: Sibel Hodge
Published by: Self-Published
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Grace Elliot is falling apart. Overwhelming tragedy has turned her world into a dark and lonely place. Facing the pain and the ghosts is impossible. Hiding her secret behind a mask of confidence and living a lie is the only thing she knows how to do. She's alive...but not living.
Counsellor Ben Hardy is certain he can help Grace heal. Maybe it's a way to rid himself of the demons haunting him from that one horrific night when his life shattered.
When they meet, everything changes, and their pasts offer them a remedy to save each other...until Ben's traumatic history threatens to destroy the trust they've built.
Will the truth tear them apart? Or will it force them to understand the healing power of forgiveness and love?
A copy of this title was provided via Author for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.