by KK Allen5 out of 5
From RT Book Reviews New Adult Award Winner, K.K. Allen comes a new and suspenseful small town mountain romance.
Lost in the shadows of a tragedy that stripped Aurora June of everything she once loved, she’s back in the small town of Balsam Grove, North Carolina, ready to face all she’s kept locked away for seven years. Or so she thinks.
As one of the victims of a string of mysterious disappearances in the small, picturesque Appalachian Mountain town, darkness has become her home—her safe blanket when the world reveals its true colors. But as the walls of darkness start to move in on her, she knows the only way to free herself from her past is to face it, head-on. She just needs to figure out how.
Upon arrival, Aurora isn’t expecting her first collision to be with the boy she left all those years ago. The boy who betrayed her trust with no regrets. The boy who is no longer a boy, but a man with the same stormy eyes that swept her into his current before she ever learned to swim.
She’d thought he was safe. He’d thought their path was mapped out. Turns out neither of them was ready for the crash at the bottom of the cascade.
Aurora was nearly her father's seventh victim, but miraculously survived. In the years since, she feels like something more than her memory is missing. Only by returning to Balsam Grove can she become whole again.
I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
I really enjoyed this book, I think it's my favourite from Allen's adult romances.
Aurora can't remember anything from the three days she was missing, and the rest of her memory seems distant and detached from her. She is numbly existing in her new life, as she tries to fit in with the plans her best friend Scott has concocted for them.
Years go by in this haze, and when her father (convicted of the murders and classified insane) dies in prison, Aurora realises she has to face her past if she ever wants to find herself again.
The story follows as Aurora tries to match the patchy memories of the town she knew, to the place as it is now. Unfortunately, small towns remember, and some hold grudges. A lot of the townsfolk avoid her, and some are outright hostile to Aurora. They forget that she was a victim of Henry June, and tar her with same brush as her father.
The only people that are truly warm are her new friend Claire, and old flame Jaxon.
Jaxon is the boy that Aurora helped discover his passion for painting, and the only one she has truly loved. He is also the one that betrayed her confidence and gave the court the information to convict her father.
Now, he is the successful artist that can never forget her.
The romance between the two is really sweet, and tentatively builds as they quietly overcome the obstacles in their path. Later in the book it becomes much hotter and more passionate.
Throughout the book there is an undercurrent of suspense. Aurora's patchy memory means that she's not a reliable narrator. Tensions rise as the small town is forced to accept it's history, and tempers flare.
Suspicions are expertly cast over several characters, lingering on why they might want to hurt or control Aurora, and how far they are willing to go.
This was a great story, and I would recommend it.