Release Day Launch and Reviews: A Thousand Letters: Staci Hart

A Thousand Letters
Staci Hart
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Expected February 9, 2017

Sometimes your life is split by a single decision. 

I’ve spent every day of the last seven years regretting mine: he left, and I didn’t follow. A thousand letters went unanswered, my words like petals in the wind, spinning away into nothing, taking me with them. 

But now he’s back.

I barely recognize the man he’s become, but I can still see a glimmer of the boy who asked me to be his forever, the boy I walked away from when I was young and afraid. 

Maybe if he’d come home under better circumstances, he could speak to me without anger in his voice. Maybe if I’d said yes all those years ago, he’d look at me without the weight of rejection in his eyes. Maybe if things were different, we would have had a chance. 

One regretted decision sent him away. One painful journey brought him back to me. I only wish I could keep him.

*A contemporary romance inspired by Jane Austen’s Persuasion*

This story touched me, ruined me, tortured me, and made me really need to believe in hope, healing, and forgiveness. The tension, pain, desperation, longing, regret, guilt, disappointment, and fear gutted me. The periods of love, connection, and living each moment inspired me. And all along I felt every little thing from the first page to the last.

These two were so broken, ruined by one day, one choice, causing seven years of regret and loss.

Elliot is the quiet, nurturer. She does everything for others even if she sacrifices her own needs. Her life is in limbo, and she is not sure what direction she will go. She is invisible at times even in her own family and they just take from her and use her.

Wade broke both of their hearts years ago and then his subsequent actions sealed their fate. He has since become hardened, compartmentalized, and has avoided the sources of his pain. It was his way of surviving, but upon returning home to his family facing a tragedy and the girl he loved and lost, his armor will be be beaten and cracks will begin to show. But he's so angry, afraid, and closed off. He's lost, confused and does not even remember how to give and receive love. He needs forgiveness and to make amends, but it is hard to even forgive himself. His behavior is erratic, moody, and frustrating.

Oh my, the tension and pain between these two was palpable. They kept hurting each other despite both still loving the other. His coping strategies are  to avoid, run, or push her away. Hers is to allow blame to be placed on her or take on guilt. There are moments of hope that are then shattered again by actions or words. They're both haunted by their past choices, lost in regret, not healing, or truly living.

During a trying, emotional time for his family, he is also dealing with regret and mistakes regarding Elliot. It is all overwhelming to the man who has tried hard not to feel anything for so long. He is drowning in a sea of regret and self loathing, and cannot seem to latch on for a life preserver. But the more he pushes her away, the more chance that he will finally succeed in completely ruining any feelings she still has for him. And then the tiny shreds of hope remaining will be truly gone forever.

To move forward in their lives they would have to either let go or hold on. He would have to face his demons, admit his mistakes, and allow himself to be vulnerable. And she would need to finally make her own needs known  and stand up for what she needs. They will either need to fight for their new beginning or finally let go of any hope.

This was full of feels from the beginning and it continued throughout the story for various reasons. This story is raw, heartbreaking, and intensely emotional. It gutted me at times, but at other times I felt like I could breathe again. The dual points of view were critical to convey the deep feelings that they hid from each other...the pain, the pull, the longing, the fear, the regret, the need, and the love that refused to die. I was frustrated and disappointed. I wanted to shake sense into them. But those special heartfelt and hopeful moments made it worthwhile. This was an agonizingly beautiful story of soul mates and second chances that spanned years. It's centered around finding hope, healing, forgiveness, and home. The theme from the book title, A Thousand Letters, ended up resonating in the story and it was poetic and perfect.

The side characters were not just filler. They were an integral part of their lives and affected decisions and actions. Their families shaped them as people and provided much of the outside drama. But Wade and Elliot completely infiltrated my heart, at times shattered it, and then began to piece it back together. I was so tense the entire book that I honestly felt relief as it was coming to an end. But it was also mixed with a bit of sadness that it was over because these characters were just so unforgettable and their story touched me so deeply. It held me emotionally captive the entire time, and is definitely one of my fave reads of the year.

I was gifted a review copy in exchange for an honest review. 
Elliot and Wade were highschool sweethearts ruined by one moment and one choice. Seven years later they have avoided each other, a challenge since her best friend is his sister. But now they have to face each other again under less than ideal circumstances, if there even are ideal circumstances to confront your biggest regret.

Elliot hasn’t moved very far from where she was all those years ago. She isn’t sure what she wants to do with her life beyond help her family any way she can. She hasn’t dated because nothing seems right. She still carries the scars from her breakup with Wade.

Wade was dealing with his own pain from all those years ago. He wasn’t prepared to have to face Elliot when he returned home.

This was not a happy story. For much of the tale, there is grief, pain, hurt, and tension. Elliot has negative emotions coming at her from all sides, and there were times that her reactions to everything in her life just felt overwhelming to me. Even her best friend couldn’t be there to help her through all the turmoil as she was facing some of the same.

These two have a lot to work through as they face not only their past, but the unexpected news that has brought all the Winters’ family together. Their draw to each other is palpable, but the pain between them keeps the tension high.

The side characters really build this story. Much of the action takes place because of certain side characters actions and circumstances as well, keeping the actual present day drama between Elliot and Wade to short interactions and continually building tension. I kept wishing the circumstances that forced them to face each other were less weighty than the ones that propelled Wade home after seven years away, but the story would not have meant the same if they had been brought back together for any other reason. Watching them deal with not only the pain between them, but the pain of the other events kept them focusing on the memories of the good times for the sake of the family. 

This was not at all what I was expecting from this book, and exactly what it needed all at the same time. I wasn’t expecting quite so much of the storyline to follow such heavy emotions, and frankly, I wasn’t in the right headspace to fully enjoy the depth of emotion this book evoked. But it was deeply emotional, heavy and uplifting, and even though I wasn’t ready for it, it was so well written that I can’t help but love the way things worked out.
I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Staci has been a lot of things up to this point in her life -- a graphic designer, an entrepreneur, a seamstress, a clothing and handbag designer, a waitress. Can't forget that. She's also been a mom, with three little girls who are sure to grow up to break a number of hearts. She's been a wife, though she's certainly not the cleanest, or the best cook. She's also super, duper fun at a party, especially if she's been drinking whiskey. 

From roots in Houston to a seven year stint in Southern California, Staci and her family ended up settling somewhere in between and equally north, in Denver. They are new enough that snow is still magical. When she's not writing, she's reading, sleeping, gaming, or designing graphics.


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