We live in a country which is wrought with crime and violence, which is why I found this book an interesting read. I had many questions about women who are emotionally and physically abused by a partner. Why do they stay? Do they really have no one and nowhere to go? Does their acceptance stem from childhood trauma, is their partner similar to a parent they have/had? Or do they just have low self-esteem? These are but a few questions.
This intricate love story starts after a eulogy Lily, the main protagonist, gives at her father’s funeral. (A eulogy which is the most unorthodox, yet truthful I have ever encountered). Following this, she escapes to a rooftop where she meets Ryle, a neurosurgeon, also escaping demons of his own. He is different to any man she has ever met, and is scrupulously honest about his lack of interest in dating. She makes it clear that she does not ever plan to give in to a man who is not interested in relationships and only enjoys one night stands. Yet their mutual attraction ensures that they will meet again.
However, as Lily’s relationship with and love for Ryle grows, so does her awareness of a part of him that she had not previously noticed, and could not understand. Often, when she thinks back to Atlas, her one and only childhood boyfriend, a gentle, protective and emotionally deep person, she feels increasingly confused. She was never quite able to forget her first. The one who ran away. As fate would have it, she lays eyes on him in a very exclusive restaurant and her entire world goes into a wild spin. What is the universe trying to tell her?
As Ryle’s behaviour spins out of control, Lily needs help and does not know where to turn. This can be such a lonely road.
This book is not just a work of fiction written by Colleen, but something she has first- hand experience of. It shows in the detail she uses to describe horrific incidents and the awkwardness after these blow ups. Colleen Hoover has produced an amazing piece of work with this book, and has ensured that I will read more of her books.
This book was gifted to me by my beautiful bonus daughter, and I immediately jumped into it, not realising there is a previous book called “It Starts With Us”. If you are able to, it may be a good idea to read it first. It did not matter to me, however, as the characters were so well developed and described that I didn’t realise it was the second in a series.
Enjoy your reading! But please, if you or anyone you know is a victim of domestic or any other form of abuse, speak up! There are many organisations which can assist. I have listed a few below and copied their information directly from their websites.
People Opposed to Woman Abuse (Powa): Powa provides counselling, both over the phone and in person, temporary shelter for and legal help to women who have experienced violence.
Tel: 011 642 4345
Childline South Africa: This non-profit organisation helps abused children and their families with a free counselling service. It deals with issues such as physical and sexual abuse, substance abuse, behavioural problems and trafficking and gives legal advice.
Toll-free helpline: 116
Child Welfare South Africa
Child Welfare South Africa focuses on child protection, child care and family development. Neglect and child abuse can also be reported.
Tel: 074 080 8315
Families South Africa (Famsa)
Famsa provides counselling and education to help improve marriages and families. It helps in cases of domestic violence and trauma, divorces and mediation. There are 27 offices across the country.
Tel: 011 975 7106/7
TEARS Foundation provides access to crisis intervention, advocacy, counselling, and prevention education services for those impacted by domestic violence, sexual assault and child sexual abuse.
Free SMS helpline: *134*7355#
Tel: 010 590 5920
The Trauma Centre
The Trauma Centre provides trauma counselling and violence prevention services for people affected by violence.
Tel: 021 465 7373
The Joseph Movement
The Joseph Movement helps to reduce, expose and prevent Modern-Day Slavery, Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation by creating awareness through online & direct education including but not limited to Preventative Awareness, Victim Identification, Pornography Addiction, Events and Outreaches.