Come to Me Quietly is an emotional, incredibly touching second-chance love story between a man fighting to forget his past and the girl who never forgot hers.
I've heard from several people that A.L. Jackson is an author who writes emotional powerhouse novels. Going in with that expectation, I was not let down in the slightest. As a reader who seeks out those types of books, I was extremely excited to read this book.
Ever since she could remember, Aleena "Aly" Moore has secretly loved Jared Holt. After a terrible tragedy, sixteen-year old Jared left his hometown of Phoenix, Arizona to escape his guilt-ridden life. Now six years later, he finds himself back in town surrounded by his past — something he spent years trying to forget. Come to Me Quietly
alternates between Aly and Jared's points-of-view.
Soon after arriving into town, Jared runs into his old best friend, Christopher. He offers Jared a place to stay. It just so happens that Christopher shares his apartment with his sister, Aly. Christopher's one condition is that he stay away from his sister. Jared thought this was going to be easy, considering he knew
he wasn't good enough for her. He wouldn't allow anything to happen between them. When Aly finds out that the one man she's always loved is back, her heart stops. And Aly's close proximity tests Jared's fragile self-control.
"...under the surface remained a tension that stretched us tight, pushed us apart at the same time as it worked to suck us together. I knew it. I saw it in her eyes and felt it in my bones. I knew how easy it'd be to sink my fingers into her sin and into her mind. I knew how willingly she'd let me take. And God, I wanted to."
What ensues between them is a beautiful slow-building romance that was filled with tension, heartache and regret. I could feel
the emotions bubbling in the air between them. I LOVED it.
"Suddenly everything felt thick and slow, like honey—my mouth, her eyes, the tension that suddenly filled the air. For a minute, I wanted to pretend that nothing had ever happened, that the years had passed and I was still good and that maybe Aly would see me that way."
Jared Holt was a deeply troubled character. It broke my heart to see just how much he hated himself. It was evident that Jared spent years trying to forget his past and the pain, always staying busy. His self-loathing ran deep and no one, not even Aly, could convince him that he could be happy again.
"I'd glide along the banks of his sadness, dipping my toes to test the water but without ever diving into the torrent where I knew Jared continued to drown."
Despite being only fourteen when Jared left town, Aly knew how she felt about him. She loved him. Jared was her and her brother's best friend. She and him shared this special bond, this unique connection. His absence in her life left a painful, gaping hole. His sudden reappearance in her life was shocking to her and reignited all the feelings she had for him years ago. The longing between them was palpable and it only added to their intense connection. Even after all the years, it felt like he hadn't been gone and they picked up where they left off. But there was this distance between them filled with unanswered questions.
"Underneath all his armor, I did know him. Beneath the anger, I recognized the boy I'd known so long ago. I was pretty sure it was Jared who didn't know himself."
Underneath the love story in the present, is this unfolding mystery of what happened to Jared. In the beginning, you know that something really horrendous happened, but it isn't fully revealed until later on in the story. Throughout the novel, Jackson slowly reveals what events changed his life, why he hates himself, and why he thinks he doesn't deserve happiness. I had this intense feeling of foreboding and anxiety, wondering what was going to happen. This gradual reveal only added to the story's intensity and emotional impact.
"If I believed in soul mates or any of that shit, I knew she was mine. I could feel it, this connection with her I couldn't possibly share with anyone else."
While Come to Me Quietly
may have been the first novel by A.L. Jackson that I have read, it most certainly will not be my last. Jackson's beautifully crafted storytelling combined with her flawless writing will keep me coming back for more. I cannot wait to read Close to Me Softly
, the next installment in this series. I look forward to finding out what's next for Aly and Jared.4 stars
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