Everyone tells him he needs to move on, but how can a man function without his heart?
Ten-year-old Caleb Tanner wants nothing to do with Sylvie Cranston, the annoying eird girl who moves next door to him and gets him in trouble for swearing. But at twelve, they become friends when he teaches her how to hook a fishing line and she shows him the value of a selfless act. At fourteen, he falls in love with her.
At sixteen, she dies.
Or so he’s told. But Cal never believes it. Sylvie has become part of his soul. He knows her like the steady beating of his own heart. He’d know if she was dead. Cal looks for her, prays for her and finally he just waits for her.
Nine years later, she walks into the community college English class Cal is teaching. Only this girl claims her name is Sophie Becker and she doesn’t know him. Cal knows better. He’s determined to get the girl he loves back—and protect her from the danger that took her away all those years ago.
I am so happy to say that this book broke me out of my recent book rut. It had all the elements I love in a book. Suspense, romance, mystery. In this book we meet Sylvie and Cal. Sylvie and her father move in next door to Cal and his family in a small sleep town. While others always though Sylvie was strange, Cal saw past all that. He slowly falls in love with her as they become best friends. In all those years however, Sylvie never gives in and reciprocates
anything more than friendship for him even if it is obvious she loves him too.
“Because it doesn’t matter what we call ourselves. We belong to each other.”
We didn’t need the pretense of conversation to create comfort. It was just there.”
Cal is always there to comfort Sylvie. He knows she is keeping something from him but never pressures her to reveal what it is. When Sylvie, Cal, and her family are stuck by tragedy, they are torn apart. Cal is told that Sylvie is dead, however he knows she isn’t.
“I know she’s not dead. She promised me she would fight. I’d know if she died. I’d feel it. She was part of me. She was in here,” I said pointing to my heart.
So we get the whole story from Cal’s point of view. We flip flop with the present and past and I was equally invested in both. We see when she walks back into his life; we feel what he is feeling, and get to watch their love grow for each other again. The book is beautifully written (although I believe the author is either from England or Australia by the spelling of some words) and while it didn’t bring me to tears in any way, it did capture my heart. I was on the edge of my seat waiting for the obvious to happen and while normally it is so obvious when and how it will happen, this time it wasn’t. It came as a surprise and the characters in this book acted like every day people. I felt their actions and emotions were very realistic and what we would expect of everyday people. Anyhow, I seriously loved this story and am so grateful for the opportunity to review it. I recommend it to anyone who loves a good romance with some suspense and a tiny bit of action thrown in. I will be adding all of the author’s others works to my TBR pile immediately.
“Sylvie, I have loved you forever. You are my sunshine, my soulmate, the girl next door, the one who stole my heart with her smile.” His voice choked with emotion. “You make me a better man.”
“You say I make you a better man, but you were always the best man I’ve ever known.”
She sat down on her swing again. “I think you’re the smartest boy I know.”
She blinked her eyes at my goofy grin.
“I’m the smartest person you know.”
“That can’t be, because I’m smarter than you,” she replied, jutting her chin out.
“You’re a smartass. There’s a difference.” I returned to the passage I was reading, doing my best to ignore her.
“Why don’t you want people to know you like to read?”
“I don’t want to talk about it, Sylvie. You’re annoying me.”
“Will you read one to me?”
“We’re supposed to be paying attention to the sermon. The only reason my momma lets me sit out here with you is
because she thinks we listen to it.”
“You’re not listening.” She had me there. “Just read me one. Your favourite one. Please?”
I sighed. “Fine.”
I flipped to my favourite poem and quietly read The Raven to her I flipped to my favourite poem and quietly read The Raven to her. When I looked up, she was staring at me with wide eyes and a wistful smile. Even my ignorant eleven-year-old self could appreciate that smile.
“It’s so pretty. I wonder what it means.”
“I know what it means. He thought he heard the ghost of some girl named Lenore who he used to know, but it was just some stupid bird screaming that he’d never see her again.”
“That sounds sad and romantic.”
“Romantic? He was crazy,” I said, twirling my finger next to my head.
“I think it is. He had to love her very much if he kept searching for her.”
“Maybe he just went batshit.”
“Cal, don’t swear. We’re in church,” she scolded, wagging her finger at me.
“It’s okay. We’re outside of it,” I said, gesturing to the open space between us and the building.
“God can hear everything.”
I chuckled. “Yeah, but my momma can’t.” She punched me in the arm. “Did you just punch me or was it the wind? ’Cause I can’t tell.”
“Very funny.” She looked off into the woods, and I wondered if she was going to bolt early. “I think there might be a
raven calling to me too. Do you think I’m crazy?”
“Heck yeah,” I replied, impressed with myself for not saying ‘hell’. I felt lousy, though, when she looked at me with
those big chocolate-coloured eyes full of sorrow. I wanted to make her feel better. I wanted her to smile again. I knocked my knee into hers. “Girl, you’re such a weirdo,” I said, finding the most poetic words my childish mind could muster.
She laughed in that cynical way of hers. “Yeah, you’re right. Bye.” She took off, sprinting into the woods.
“Hey, Sylvie,” I called after her before she blended into the landscape. She stopped and turned, almost out of
earshot. “Let’s go fishing tomorrow after school.”
“I knew you’d take me,” she yelled back, giving me a real smile.
I am a hopeless romantic in a hopelessly pragmatic world. I have a full time life and two busy teenagers, but by night,
I sit by the warm glow of my computer monitor, and attempt to conjure up passionate heartwarming stories with plenty of humor.
I started imagining stories in my head at a very young age. In fact, I got so good at it that my best friend asked me to make up stories featuring her as the heroine and the boy she currently liked as the hero. We’d spend hours on the phone while I came up with a series of unrealistic, yet tender events led the object of her desire to finally profess his love. You’ve heard of fan fiction… this was friend fiction.
Even with that, it took many years to realize I could produce an actual full length book that readers would enjoy. I try to make my stories humorous, realistic, with characters who are flawed but redeeming. I hope you enjoy my stories and never stop searching for your happily ever after.