Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Review: In the Stillness by Andrea Randall

Title: In the Stillness
Author: Andrea Randall
Published: April 9th 2013
Add It: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Natalie is a wife.
Natalie is a mother.
Natalie is a cutter.

Clawing at walls built by resentment, regret, and guilt, Natalie cuts as an escape from a life she never planned.

Staying present is only possible when you let go of the past. But, what if the past won't let go?

I know that cutting is a big issue and it's, unfortunately, one of the most common ways to ease the emotional pain. I have read one book which dealt with cutting and I didn't end up enjoying it at all. Perhaps it was due to the paranormal elements of the book which kept me from investing myself in the story, maybe it was thanks to the rushed plot. As you can imagine, I was reluctant to try In the Stillness. Am I glad to have read it? Yes, yes I am.

“But, the thing about guilt is, no one can take away for you; you have to unpack it yourself.”

The story. Natalie is a cutter. She's also a wife and a mom. And practically a widow since she mourns the loss of a relationship she lost thanks to the war between USA and Iraq. 10 years ago she was in a relationship with the love of her life. When he went to war, everything came crashing down. Now, being married to another man, her hopes and dreams are gone. Her twin sons are her day job since she quit college to took care of them and be a stay-at-home-mom while her young husband continued his studies. Her life makes her miserable and the only way to relive some of her pain is to cut.

My thoughts. You know these deals where you pay for one thing, but get two? This is exactly what you get when you purchase Natalie's story. The story starts with her cutting in the present. She's so emotionally drained that she almost comes across like an angry, depressed robot programmed to get through the day. She has trouble enjoying motherhood and all she dreams about is getting out. Her past haunts her like a ghost with a vengeance. It pained me to watch her on a road to self-destruction. She was just so depressed that it truly, truly hurt. I kept rooting for her to pick herself up and start living her life and loving the people around her, but her heart is in the past and in the lost chances of what could have been.

So what's this 2 in 1 deal I was talking about? You see, she lives in the past because she lost the love of her life to war. Not physically, but emotionally. Ryke suffered from PTSD and their relationship couldn't survive that. We get glimpses of their relationship, them falling in love and losing themselves in it. At the same time, Nat tries to survive in the present and I kept wanting for her to fix things with Eric, her husband, whom she clearly didn't love anymore. As for Eric, he seemed like the perfect husband. I was rooting for him, for crying out loud! I can't believe he did that.

Watching Nat pull herself together and seeing her starting to love, respect and enjoy herself was beautiful. I'm glad she grew to enjoy being a mother and started to realize how much she loves her sons. When tragedy hits one of them, she womans up and does everything in her power to make her son feel better. (Boy, do I want to start bawling when I think back to it.) I found her to be a hard character to connect with at the beginning because she's so far gone and only the memories of her past offered me relief from her dark story. However, when she finally made the decision to get better for her sons, it was truly, truly beautiful and enjoyable to read.

If you're in need of an emotional story, pick this up! I wasn't expecting what I found in In the Stillness and ugly-crying was also part of my experience with this one. I can tell you that it has a happily ever after as much as there could be. It's a dark, emotional, broken piece of work and gives the reader lots to think about. I found myself thinking for a long time after finishing Natalie's story and that is something I'm very grateful to Ms. Randall. 

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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  1. This sounds like really emotional read. I'm glad you enjoyed it.
    Great review.

  2. This sounds like a great read. I love emotional reads and this is something I'd enjoy. Only I haven't read a book dealing with cutters, so I honestly don't know how would I create my opinion. But still I want to give it a try. Great review Siiri :)

  3. Wow. This sounds really dark and heavy Siiri, which is something I do love but I have to be in the mood for. Around the holidays I tend to gravitate toward light, cute romances, so I think I'll hold off on this one for just a little while. I'm so glad to know Natalie gets things together for her sons eventually though, otherwise this would never be a book I could tackle! Lovely review my friend:)

  4. I have this book. I can't believe I haven't read it. Im so curious. Is there a triangle? What does her husband do? Okay, guess I need to make this one a priority.
    Great review, Siiri!

  5. Wow this sounds very intense and emotionally wrecking! O_O I'd definitely have to be mentally prepared but this is the kind of book I love to read once in a while. Those who really grab at your emotions. It also sounds like the author did an amazing job making her characters real and genuine. Wonderful review, love!

  6. I'm wondering if things work out with her past love. I hope he didn't cheat on her. Although I guess it's the ultimate payback to marry someone else, but in the end it sounds like she really paid for that. I wouldn't be happy though if she wallows in self-pity for most of the book though. Hmm...I'm really curious, Siiri! Wonderful review. :)

  7. I definitely need an ugly crying book in between my sweet contemporary reads, actually I can't even remember the last book which had me ugly crying, I think I will have to pick up this book and rectify this immediately. Also I don't think I've read a cutting book, which has been thought out so well, there are so many factors that played an important part in Natalie's life, that I'd definitely be interested in learning more about, especially her relationship with her ex-husband and what her new husband actually does. Thanks for putting this one on my radar and for another amazing review!

  8. I love books that end up being very rewarding emotional, when you get to see characters finally stand up again and work to move forward. But I'm thinking this book may be too heavy for me to want to read right now. But I'm so glad that you were able to finally connect to this character and that you ended up loving this book!