After an IED explosion in Afghanistan took Asher’s hand and disfigured half of his face, he's lived a quiet life on the outskirts of Danvers where the locals respect his privacy…that is, until Savannah Carmichael comes calling in a borrowed sundress with a plate of homemade brownies. When Asher agrees to be interviewed by Savannah, he starts feeling things for the beautiful reporter that he hasn’t felt in years.
Misfits in small-town Danvers, Savannah and Asher create a bond right away, touching each other’s hearts in ways neither thought possible. When a terrible mistake threatens to drive them apart, they’ll have to decide if the love they found in one another’s arms is strong enough to fight for their hard-won happily ever after.
Comment: So, here I am, one day late with my TBR read of this month. I apologize again...
This time, the theme is RITA finalist. This book was a finalist in the 2015 edition.
I don't have many of these around but thankfully to Wendy, our host, her list was quite helpful and I actually saw I had two titles that could fit the bill. This was the one I looked for the most to read and voilá.
This is a contemporary story, a new take on the Beauty and the Beast theme, my favorite Disney story and something I always look for to try.
Savannah Carmichael is a reporter but one of her sources gave her bad information and the newspaper in New York she worked for fired her. She went back home to Virginia to stay with her family and a chance to recover her career may be on the horizon if only she can write a Lifestyle piece for a Phoenix newspaper. The idea is to interview a war veteran, a local hermit and present a heartfelt story with positive aspects.
Asher Lee is the young war vet, severely wounded in Afghanistan, that now feels he's a monster because of his physical debilities. He agrees to let Savannah interview him only because she's local too and he could help her.
But two people that went away and returned different can find more common ground to become friends? And even more than friends?
I liked this story, especially parts of it. As a whole, I'd say there are some pacing issues I couldn't not notice. But the general idea I got as soon as I finished is of contentment, because the character's learned to see the other through loving eyes and that was great.
This a Beauty and the Beast retelling, using contemporary ideas/situations. The story is still alive enough outside the tale's main details, which is positive and the author included some interesting twists (the hero is the one who reads compulsively) that only made this look more unique.
I liked the main couple, especially Asher. He is intriguing, not because he was injured and that could make many people have pity on him, but because despite the notion of self esteem he has changed because of that, he was still someone who grabbed the things he loved in life - like reading! - and used that to not let himself be even more depressed. I'm not saying there's a cure for something like what veterans/soldiers face when they return, in particular if they return with physical deficiencies, but sometimes if we focus on good things, on things that give us pleasure and purpose, we can try to be more positive. I liked this about Asher, sure he felt down, he didn't see things in a bright side but he wasn't completely dependent or self destructive.
Savannah was the more active of the two, and I liked her for the most part. The conflict close to the end of the book was avoidable I think, but I get why the author used it as a means to enhance a point. What I think wasn't her best feature is how her personality doesn't match her behavior. the author says she is this and that but some of her actions after don't seem to match the idea I made of her by reading descriptions about her.
The romance was obviously cute, Savannah could see past Asher's physical aspect and fall in love for the man he was and vice-versa.
But to me the pace wasn't always the most adequate. I think the time since they meet until they admit to themselves - if not to one another - they were falling in love is too short. Well, it doesn't have to look too short, but by the way things were developed it looked like it. Maybe the chapters could have included more the notion of the passage of time or we could have had scenes with them still debating if their personal feelings were reciprocated or not...it would give us the illusion more tension and doubts existed and when they finally admitted things, it would have looked more special and believable.
The end had its own issues, I think, but I liked the idea of a common future and a HEA for them. I wouldn't say no to a epilogue of sorts. The title is understandable but not the ebst choice, I think.
Still, I liked this book and I only miss the fact I couldn't dedicate more time to it because of real life. But I was happy I gave this one a chance!