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viernes, 16 de enero de 2015

Unwithered Hope: an unforgettable romance

I can't believe how much I liked this novel. Are you wondering why? Because I wasn't expecting so much drama and passion and tears and sorrow and joy. I can promise you one thing. I won't be forgetting WITHERING HOPE, by Layla Hagen, any time soon.

Aimee’s wedding is supposed to turn out perfect. Her dress, her fiancé and the location—the idyllic holiday ranch in Brazil—are perfect.
But all Aimee’s plans come crashing down when the private jet that’s taking her from the U.S. to the ranch—where her fiancé awaits her—defects mid-flight and the pilot is forced to perform an emergency landing in the heart of the Amazon rainforest.
With no way to reach civilisation, being rescued is Aimee and Tristan’s—the pilot—only hope. A slim one that slowly withers away, desperation taking its place. Because death wanders in the jungle under many forms: starvation, diseases. Beasts.
As Aimee and Tristan fight to find ways to survive, they grow closer. Together they discover that facing old, inner agonies carved by painful pasts takes just as much courage, if not even more, than facing the rainforest.
Despite her devotion to her fiancé, Aimee can’t hide her feelings for Tristan—the man for whom she’s slowly becoming everything. You can hide many things in the rainforest. But not lies. Or love.
Withering Hope is the story of a man who desperately needs forgiveness and the woman who brings him hope. It is a story in which hope births wings and blooms into a love that is as beautiful and intense as it is forbidden

From interesting to awesome, this novel impressed me and it's going to linger in my mind for years.

I really enjoyed the dramatic setting for the plot. Being stranded in the middle of nowhere surrounded by threats, jungle and dehydration makes for a thrilling trigger for sharper, deeper feelings.

The author does a remarkable job of describing the Amazon jungle, the many perils to health and life from animals, plants and fear. I could fee myself in that situation, relying on meager resources and my own wits to fight against poisonous fruits, dangerous night life, despair and alienating isolation.

All the various stages the main characters go through, from the sudden crash of the plane to immediate survival to slow adaptation to the environment, were accurately and believably depicted. Also, the psychological strain on Aimee and Tristan follows an aching pattern that made me feel so close to them.

Besides the original setting and the life-or-death circumstances, I also fell in love with the characters. They seem to be opposites, but they actually complement each other. Aimee is bubbly and positive. Tristan is reserved and haunted. Both are strong, honest people who go through horrific events and come out standing but in need of a soulful companion to cherish them. And, OMG, they found it in each other. I relished every small step they took in that direction. The sweet, tantalizing chemistry is there, hot and intense as a heartbeat, though it's the steady progress they make in getting to know each other that makes for a beautiful, vivid love story. The feelings, people! They are powerful, moving and gloriously real.

It's also a gripping tale of survival. A harsh battle full of dangers that never end, especially at the end when I thought I was going to burst from a ripping pain in my heart. My chest actually hurt when I went through some poignant scenes.

At those times, I got mad at the author for submitting me to so much heart-wrenching drama. There are two epilogues that left me breathless! After completing this journey of sorrow and joy, of pure love and sheer will to survive, I can't quite fathom how or why the author decided to tell a story of love so profound, dramatic and unrelenting that I'm not sure if I can bear it. It's left me bereaved, but awed. Layla Hagen, what have you done to my poor heart?

Favourite quotes:

Being on the brink of losing everything had the remarkable power of setting me free.

Love has an effect few other things have: to empower you with happiness, and at the same time, strip you of all power, making you a prisoner of fear.



I fell in love with books when I was nine years old, and my love affair with stories continues even now, many years later.
I write romantic stories and can’t wait to share them with the world.
And I drink coffee. Lots of it, in case the photo didn’t make it obvious enough

Book buddies, I really hope you give Withering Hope a chance. It truly deserves it.

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