A troubled young mother yearns for a shot at redemption in this heartbreaking yet hopeful story from #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover.

After serving five years in prison for a tragic mistake, Kenna Rowan returns to the town where it all went wrong, hoping to reunite with her four-year-old daughter. But the bridges Kenna burned are proving impossible to rebuild. Everyone in her daughter’s life is determined to shut Kenna out, no matter how hard she works to prove herself.

The only person who hasn’t closed the door on her completely is Ledger Ward, a local bar owner and one of the few remaining links to Kenna’s daughter. But if anyone were to discover how Ledger is slowly becoming an important part of Kenna’s life, both would risk losing the trust of everyone important to them.

The two form a connection despite the pressure surrounding them, but as their romance grows, so does the risk. Kenna must find a way to absolve the mistakes of her past in order to build a future out of hope and healing.

Well it’s been a good while since I last wrote a book review — almost forever, I’d say. In fact, it’s been a while since I’ve proper written on this blog, rather than dropping a few snippets or the occasional ramble. All that is to say: I have missed reviewing books.
Warning: spoiler ahead

TRIGGER WARNING: death, loss, depression

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Reminders of Him is Colleen Hoover’s latest novel and is one similar to her other titles: full of angst, heartbreak, raw, tangible emotions and a heaviness that weighs on you, long after you’ve turned the last page. It stays with you, the emotions you feel while reading every word, devouring it until you finish the story.

I always know that Colleen Hoover will destroy me with her books and make me feel things.

Have you ever needed a cry but you find that the tears just don’t come, but then you pick up a book and it stabs you in the heart, over and over and over, and you feel your heart bleeding and breaking with the characters and then the dam breaks and you start crying? You cry because you feel for the characters, for the story laced with magic, and because of everything you’ve bottled up.

People say you fall in love, but fall is such a sad word when you think about it. Falls are never good. You fall on the ground, you fall behind, you fall to your death. Whoever was the first person to say they fell in love must have already fallen out of it. Otherwise, they’d have called it something much better.

Colleen Hoover seriously helps me let out every emotion I’ve held onto for as long as I possibly could.

This book, from the very beginning, is brutally real — no emotion, no memory is sugarcoated beneath sticky sweetness to make you feel like you’re getting into something fluffy and light-hearted. I felt everything all of the characters felt and I found myself emphasising more with certain characters, my heart breaking more for them.

I adored Kenna and I adored Ledger, and I wished we saw even more of Diem through Ledger’s point of view, and I adored and hurt so much for all the characters, but especially for Grace and Patrick.

The thing is, I felt for Kenna so so so much. I don’t blame her — I get it, I understand, I put myself in her shoes and I can see why everything ended up playing out the way they did. She was the most lost, the most hurt, the most broken character I have ever read about; I felt her pain to my very soul and felt myself losing hope and feeling desperate along with her. I was a crying mess, finding myself wiping my tears so many times through the book, and reacting out loud to J while reading (he was not amused.)

I wanted to give her a hug but I wanted to shout at her as well, I wanted to scream at her — the her that decided to get into that car in the first place, because I hate hate hate hate people who do those horrid reckless things that ruin so many lives. I’ve never disliked and adored a character so much — I rooted for her, but I wanted to protect Grace and Patrick so much.

While I will never ever ever understand that loss, while I will never be able to comprehend what they went through, I can just about imagine and the very thought of it, of even imagining it for a fraction of a second breaks me. It makes me break down into tears. The thought of losing a child I don’t even have yet destroys me, clenches my heart and squeezes until I’m left trying to pull myself back together and reminding myself that I’m not a mum. If I can feel like that, without a baby of my own, I can’t even begin to understand how Grace and Patrick felt. How the parents of all those people who lost their lives to careless mistakes/actions felt.

It’s harrowing and heartbreaking.

But then I thought about Kenna and being apart from her child and it broke me.

I thought about Ledger and how conflicted he felt, and the way his emotions changed. I felt it when he said she wasn’t a bad person, because, well she isn’t. She made a terrible decision and she paid for it. She lost someone too.

{Speaking of Ledger, oh my god, can a man get any sexier?!!!!! Seriously, a former NFL player, a bar owner with tattoos and rich enough to buy land and build his own house? Goddamn}

This book was distressing and shattered my heart and I cried.

The scene with ‘is that a fucking pigeon?’ just makes me ache with such intense sadness, it’s unreal. And England is full of damn pigeons and now I’m just going to be annoyed-sad seeing them all the time now.

I wish the premise of this book could’ve been something less devastating but it wasn’t and every time I found myself grieving for Kenna, I read about Grace and Patrick and grieved for them more.

I take a drink of my coffee and close my eyes and cry because life can be so fucking cruel and hard, and I’ve wanted to quit living it so many times, but then moments like these remind me that happiness isn’t some permanent thing we’re all trying to achieve in life, it’s merely a thing that shows up every now and then, sometimes in tiny doses that are just substantial enough to keep us going.

I read other reviews and while I agree about how wonderful it is about coming to forgiveness and healing, and the importance of Kenna being able to forgive herself, I can’t bring myself to 100% be on that. I agree, but I disagree more.

Because I think about if it was me, or if it was my parents.

I am my parents’ miracle baby and if someone took me away from them, there is no amount of forgiveness that will make them heal from that tragedy.

If someone took my only child away from me, and I was able to raise the baby they shared with the person who took my baby’s life too soon, I would not want that person in my grandchild’s life. Because at the end of the day, they got into that car. They made that choice. Everyone knows not to drink and drive, not to get high and drive. You do not ever drive under the influence. It’s not something forgivable, especially when it costs a life.

I feel for Kenna, I found myself crying with her and wanting her to see Diem. I cried so much so many times because of her and for her, wanting her to be okay. The ending, though happy, still made me sad because everything that happened shouldn’t have happened. But at the end of the day, I disliked her. Maybe that’ll make really unpopular, this opinion of mine and how I feel, but when it comes to something like this . . . I don’t know.

Because also, I feel like yes she should’ve been allowed, but also, protection. It’s a sticky one still.

God. I don’t know.

I just know that I would do everything in my power to protect the family I have, from the person who made that awful choice to begin with. There is no excuse.

Having said that, I highly recommend this book.

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