Paige Simon was the only girl Declan ever loved. The only one capable of silencing his voices, the only person to ever have faith in who he was, until the day her faith turned to doubt and destroyed everything they’d made together.
Declan O ’Connell was the only person Paige could be herself with. The only one she could rely on, until the day she was forced to make a choice that would condemn them both.
They’ve had years apart, and second chances don’t belong to the damned. But when you come face to face with your savior, it’s almost impossible to walk away. In order to move beyond the sins of their past, and forever silence the demons in his head, they’ll have to risk it all.
But with love, there are real reasons to be afraid and, sometimes… your salvation is your damnation.
*Not a Cliff Hanger* *Adult Themes*
AM Johnson means serious business when she wrote this piece of art. It’s a brave thing to write a book, it’s entirely a different matter if the said book dealt with complex issues like mental health and religious beliefs. She maneuvered through the intricacies of the characters’ personalities and concerns with so much depth and careful precision blending in the romance she’d master to create all this time.
Declan is unlike any other hero I’ve read. He hears voices in his head because of his mental illness, even blacks out because of it but he is a very talented man. He paints, does tattoos, and is excellent in doing such. He’s the silent type and this draws Paige in to him. Only Paige silences the evil in his head when she’s around.
Paige, turns out, is a master of paintbrush herself as well. But this talent wasn’t permitted on her husband’s household. She didn’t come off as a strong character for me. Not at the beginning anyway. She came from a very religious family. Seeing her with Declan, her parents didn’t approve making her marry someone from the family with the same belief. Only, there’s no love. Her parents made sure she’d pay for the sins she did when she was with Dex. She let her marriage to Clark happened to atone for her sins because that’s what her parents believe she should do for God to forgive her. She was bordering on being a doormat heroine to me but she finally stood up for herself when she found out her husband was sleeping with another woman because she couldn’t bear him a child of their own.
The secondary characters like Declan’s brothers (protagonists), Paige’s husband and parents (antagonists) and their beliefs made a huge impact on both hero’s and heroine’s lives and created a lasting impression as well. It’s wonderful how they’re characterized that way–how you’d love and hate them.
The story was really difficult to get in to at first because it’s like a chaos in there with Paige’s issues with her husband and her family, and Declan with the voices inside his head, even the sin that Paige was paying for didn’t come right away. But after the revelations from the past had been revealed, the story moved smoothly lingering more in the present with Declan and Paige together but few conflicts still unresolved (i.e. Paige’s divorce and Declan’s choice to stop his medications) and once again Amanda’s words held me captive, bringing up all the emotions to the surface, giving meaning to the real in reality.
There were a few repetitive scenes and words that I would’ve liked to be edited/omitted and I wasn’t able to connect with the characters like I would’ve wanted to but the book was still good, punching you to the gut with the characters’ vulnerabilities, flaws and creativity. The shitty start of their lives was totally worth the heartwarming, very beautiful ending. Both characters have also come full circle–still flawed but better now that they’re together taking on life with so much love and hope.
Because of its sensitive themes, this may not be for everyone (no, no characters actually died). I commend the author for taking on the diversity of romance in this particular story. I can’t wait to read the other brothers’ books!