I hereby award this book 5 wings!
First of all, may I just say WOW. This book set my heart and soul on fire and even though the book has ended, the flames still haven't been extinguished.
I absolutely fell in love with the beautiful style of Hope Collier's writing and the unique characters she created. This is certainly one story that will stay with me long beyond the last page. I cannot wait to read the next book whenever that may be released.
So the question I hear being asked is, why? Why do I feel this way?
Well it's tough to explain in eloquent words really. From the first page of The Willows: Haven, I knew that it was going to be an emotional journey both for the characters on the page and for me as the reader.
In the beginning we meet Ashton Blake, a 17 year old girl living in Malibu. On the surface, she is a normal girl, with a normal life. She has a boyfriend called Kevin and a best friend called Kyle. The one thing she doesn't have is a mother. And the father she has, well let's just say they aren't all that close. She even calls him Charlie rather than Dad.
I won't say exactly what leads up to it, but Ashton is soon faced with a tragedy, and rather than stick around with her boyfriend and friends to face it head on with their help, she finds herself on a cross-country road-trip.
Along the way, she meets a handsome stranger by the name of Gabe Willoughby who has eyes the colour of the sea and a beautiful, heart-warming smile.
Ashton runs over his motorbike, so she feels responsible for leaving him stranded and offers him a lift. Gabe takes her up on her offer, giving her the nickname Grace, because as you may guess, she is so 'graceful' what with having knocked over his bike amongst other things (that you will only find out when you read it for yourself).
By getting to know Gabe better, she unwittingly discovers things about her own past, how he is not necessarily the stranger she had him pegged as. It raises questions for her as to who she really is and what might really have happened to the mother she once had. Gabe and Ashton's lives are entwined in a way she does not expect and is left reeling upon discovery.
But just as Ashton is coming to terms with what Gabe has told her, and accepting her heritage for what it really is - she is summoned to fulfill a treaty in a land she has never visited, by people she does not know. It can't be a good thing, surely?
Well that I will leave for you to discover on your own journey through this enthralling book. I can honestly say my heart was held captive until the end.
There were moments when I laughed, when I cried, and when I wanted to sock somebody in the mouth for their actions. All in all, it was a tumultuous ride for Ashton, Gabe and ultimately me.
I was lucky enough that upon discovering Hope Collier on Twitter, she offered me a copy of this book to review, but I would have been glad to pay any price to read such a tale.
I knew absolutely nothing about Naiads and Dryads and the like before. But now I feel I am left with a better knowledge and understanding of the things in this particular myth. I only hope that the second book is uplifting a journey as the first and I know I will do my best to be one of the first in line upon it's release.