Let me start with the trigger issues in this story: addiction, more specifically dealing with an alcoholic parent. Pamela Taeuffer takes a no-holds-barred approach in depicting the outbursts, the uncertainty and the overwhelming sense of ‘walking on eggshells’ that is engendered by this situation. While this is only a part of the story, the effects and reactions to emotion are deeply rooted in Nicky, and while her story is her attempts to break free, the solidity and honesty of her portrayal and personality may be more than some readers are prepared to handle.
That being said – this story brought Nicky to light in ways that were real and honest, showing her desire to move forward while not really being equipped to do so: moving forward from her traumatic and rather unsettling childhood takes years, if not forever. Nothing that has ever come under the heading of ‘love’ has been without pain and disillusionment, so she is understandably afraid of relationships.
Away at school starting her new life, she has friends but keeps everyone at a slight distance, until Ryan. Older, with a career as a baseball player, Ryan offers Nicky a glimpse into safety and security, and he is fun. But, he also has his own issues, and she is concerned that her own naiveté and unfamiliarity with relationships is yet another way for him to ‘manage’ her. Nicky is strong and wanting to be independent, but still longs for a connection that will help to heal her. Fortunately, for the story and for her own growth, she doesn’t dive right into a relationship and not listen to her own misgivings, but she isn’t pushing Ryan away. But then there is Jerry, a friend from high school who wants something more, and is more of a man on the outside.
Frankly this story isn’t concluded in this one book: there is too much growth and change that all of the characters need to experience and share for them to get into a ‘better place’. Nicky is far more capable of growing and changing than I expected, she wants to move forward from her issues and find her new footing. Ryan’s motivations became less clear as the story progressed, his attempts to control and guide Nicky’s choices and options were increasingly heavy-handed, as she started to make decisions it felt as if he was more insecure.
I was more than a bit confused about Jerry – I couldn’t find their connection no matter how I tried, BUT I did find him more compatible with Nicky than what I am seeing with Ryan. I love that Taeuffer added the solidity and honest feel of a life in transition after a life of hardship. There is a ‘rightness’ in the story, not all tied up neatly with a bow, but with questions that readers (and I am sure) the characters themselves have for what is to come.
Title: Shadow Heart
Author: Pamela Taeuffer
Published by: Self-Published
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ iTunes
Nobody wants to talk about them, but there are events that occur in our lives that become deep, dark secrets we hold inside. And they dramatically influence who we are and who we become.
Such is the case for seventeen year-old Nicky Young who was raised by an alcoholic father and disengaged mother. When Nicky tries to make her way into the world she is confronted by the demons of her dysfunctional and sometimes violent upbringing.
Unlike many of her friends, she has shied away from boys, makeup, and clothes, instead focusing on achievement and her goal of getting into Stanford.
But then Nicky meets Ryan Tilton, a sexy, high profile professional baseball player, eight years her senior, and a strong desire is awakened in her.
Nicky questions Ryan's motives for wanting to be with an inexperienced girl and can't decide if he's a scoundrel or genuinely cares about her. She is both excited and frightened, torn between protecting her heart and wanting to trust.
Ryan brings his own demons--losing his father at the age of fourteen, and a sexual partner from his past who will not leave him alone.
Will their young, uncertain love be enough to help them open their hearts and experience the intimacy they both crave so deeply, or are Nicky and Ryan on a collision course?
Loosely based on the author's life growing up in San Francisco, this inspired contemporary romance novel deals with the disturbing secrets siblings share, the dance between love and protecting one's heart, and he innate desire to conned t with another even when it means risking everything.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.