4.5 tortured Stars
Being chosen is a heady thing. Regardless of whether it’s for something good or bad, rewarding or damaging, it changes you. At least in the moment. Floods you with the knowledge that for that moment, you rose above. You stood out in such a way that you became unique and wanted in a way that no one else had ever been. At least for that moment, you were perfect. Singled out. Special. But it’s what happens after that really defines the choice and how it marks you.
Noelle Winters is a teacher. She strolls through her life relatively blind to that which is happening around her, head down, thoroughly focused on what is right in front of her. She is kind and sweet with just enough of an edge of sass to make her truly lovable. She is smart and trusting and completely unprepared for the maelstrom getting ready to enter her life.
That maelstrom is Gabriel Hallow. He is a man equally larger than life and irreparably broken by it. He is one part musician, one part poet, one part man and one part monster. Vivid, predatory, overwhelming and he chooses Noelle from the moment he first lays eyes on her.
When Noelle and Gabriel come together it seems quiet, at first. There is a simmering level of intensity on the same level as love at first sight being realized. But as Gabriel starts slowly pulling away veil after veil from Noelle’s sheltered life, we start to see how completely and utterly she will be changed by this relationship. As what initially registers as colorful fireworks starts to shift into earth shattering explosives, you start to fear that someone may not make it out of this in one piece.
Ivory Quinn has crafted a gloriously gorgeous and tortured debut novel. Her characters are simultaneously so subtle and so vibrant that you can’t help but hone in on their every word and movement so that you don’t miss a thing. Beautifully paced, this story flows effortlessly to life, unspooling before the reader in an incredibly enchanting and mesmerizing way. Heat curls off the pages and then seamlessly moves into deeply emotional exchanges that leave you panting and begging for more.
Be prepared to go on a journey with Noelle and Gabriel if you pick up this book. This story is not easily shed upon its completion, but you won’t want to be rid of it either. I am thrilled to have its companionship as it has crawled under my skin and set up house and home. Although it can take me from flying to hurtling back towards the earth at breakneck speeds just as easily, I find myself welcoming it all. Welcoming even the most painful pieces, because the whole is so exquisitely constructed that I find myself grateful to simply have discovered it.