Twenty-eight-year-old Beth Lawrence finally has her life back on track. A job she loves, a wealthy husband and a beautiful home are a far cry from the tragedy that struck when she was nineteen. But now that her past seems firmly behind her, an old flame walks back into her life. Bringing back painful memories of a time she’s worked hard to forget, reviving a passion she tried to bury years before.
Niall Joseph is an up-and-coming artist, recently returned from success in America. Volunteering to teach in an inner-city drug clinic, the last person he expects to see is the girl who broke his heart nine years earlier. Working closely together allows their old wounds to heal, forging a deeper connection between them. One that slowly starts to burn.
As she becomes tangled up with a neglected child and her drug-addict mother, Beth finds herself drawn to Niall. But neither of them can anticipate how hard it is to tread the thin line between friendship and desire.
I’ve recently got to know Carrie Elks via Facebook, and we’re both attending the Second City Signing in Birmingham. I really can’t wait to meet her. I’d never gotten round to reading one of her books, so I grabbed this one on release day. I was so glad I did because as soon as I started reading, I fell in love. With the story, the characters, the setting, just everything.
Centering around Beth, we have chapters set in the present, where Beth is married to Simon and working at a childcare facility for a drug rehab clinic and is pretty content with life. Then we have chapter set nine years previously, when Beth was at uni and was a bit of a wild child. She’s a habitual drug user and parties hard with the arty set, Niall in particular.
Elks drip feeds us Beth’s past, which is pretty traumatic and makes the reader really connect with her, and understand her choice of career, one which Simon, her husband, isn’t happy with her having. Then she meets Niall again.
I wouldn’t say all hell breaks loose, because it doesn’t, but seeing him again not only dredges up the past, but makes Beth reassess her life currently. It’s painful in it’s realism, and I’m sure many will be able to relate.
The entire story, interwoven with Beth’s involvement with a little girl, Allegra, and her drug addict mum, is written in such a sensitive way that you can’t help but be sucked into the story from the moment you begin until you finish the very last page.
I will certainly be reading more of Elk’s works, and will be first in line at her table at the signing next year.