In the Stillness

In the Stillness - Andrea Randall I think finding the words to describe my emotional turmoil while reading this book, will be excruciating. This is not a story that had sad parts, or depressing parts, this is the story of how sad and depressing life can get. And how just when we think everything has gone to shit, we should still be thankful because it can get so much worse. But its also a story about finding love again, the love that supports us, no matter, and the love that will help us to be able to cope when everything actually does go to shit. It is a love story, about two people who have always loved each other, but forgot how to say those words.

Natalie Collins was in a bad place, and I have to say that the book starts you off in the dark hole of her depression. And its hard to start a book that way. She is so gone, its like I had a hard time believing that there was ever a time when she was indeed happy. But there was, and that time was short, and it was 10+ years ago, with Ryker. But now she’s married to Eric, and raising their twin sons, as a stay at home mom, while Eric finishes up his PhD. And its very clear she’s not happy. And then there’s the cutting. I think that Natalie for the first half of the book was a complainer, and I only changed my opinion of her, when everything fell apart. When everything in her life just went to shit, the strength, that she showed was amazing and admirable. Don’t get me wrong, I am not against her for being depressed, or even for being a cutter, it was the way she dealt with her husband that just really bothered me. But the way she dealt with the boys, and her life being turned upside down, it was great.

Ryker Manning, is a man who has been through everything a man could go through. He is an army veteran, and he has also suffered from PTSD. And he lost his best friend and the love of his life to those two things. I think that the guilt that Ryker was carrying around was something that was so deep and so intense, it made him a different person. But when he meets Natalie again all those years later, he has definitely come to terms with what happened all those years ago. And not only that he is doing well now. I think if it wasn’t for Ryker, I really don’t know if I could get through this book. Seeing them together before he left for war, and then again 10 years later, the great person that he really was, it helped when I was getting frustrated with Natalie. He really is a hero, and he deserves to get hero loving (yes Natalie that was for you!)

I feel this review would not be complete without mentioning Tosh who is Natalie's BFF. She is fantastic, I think that I probably identified with her more than the other characters. I liked that she wasn't afraid to tackle Natalie's cutting up front, and she asked the hard the questions, adn made the threats when they needed to be made. She was just a really great friend. And she gave the entire a very real anchor.

I have to say while I loved the story, I think the author did a botched up job with the characters. I know we got an explanation for the change in Ryker after the war. But what the day-to-day with Natalie and Eric. They were both so up and down. One moment they hate each other, the next they’re having romantic dinners out, then they are screaming at each other, then they are clawing their clothes off, and it wasn’t a passion thing. I think the author could’ve kept them with certain character traits and flaws and the audience would decide for themselves what they wanted. The reason their marriage breaks up seemed to come from left field, and I have to say, that I wish it had been crafted differently, again because it breaks characterization.

So should you read this book? Absolutely, but make sure you plenty of chocolate and ice cream on hand, cause by the end I was sobbing like a baby.