safe-haven-ellen-hoilSweet love story with mental illness at its center

Brigid lost her partner years ago, but has recovered from that devastation and made a life for herself running her bookstore and spending quality time with her family and friends. She’s never considered getting involved with someone new, convinced her broken heart cannot be given to another. But when a beautiful stranger comes to town, her life is turned upside down.

Samantha has left everything behind, hit the road, and ended up in a motel room in a small town miles from home. She walks the streets day after day, a book always in hand, and speaks to no one. Intrigued and concerned, Brigid strikes up a tentative friendship with the strange woman.

At the same time, Brigid becomes the focus of an unknown admirer who leaves her notes and poems. It all seems fairly harmless – or is it?

As the friendship grows between the two broken women and becomes something more, events will overtake them that challenge everything they’ve cautiously built. Can they overcome these difficulties and leave their pasts behind?

This is a relatively short book, at only 111 pages, and it’s a shame because this is a sweet story with two lovely main characters that I would have liked to hear more of. Brigid’s grief has dulled over the years, but she’s still holding on to memories that stop her moving forward. The passages where her guilt for daring to feel something for someone new are well written, and bring home how difficult it must be in that situation.

Samantha’s story is authentically written, and the scenes where she’s forced to face up to her mental health issue, and how to live with it, are sometimes utterly heartbreaking. I would have liked to hear more of her back story. I also felt that some elements of the development of the friendship and subsequent relationship between the two women were dealt with far too quickly, with leaps of acceptance that felt a little too rushed.

However, overall it’s a sweet story with some great characters, especially Brigid’s sister Janet. There is a large ‘but’ for me on this one, though, which may not bother many readers but I think is worth mentioning. The book was littered with grammar, spelling, and point-of-view issues that at times made it frustrating to read.

Possibly this is because I was given an early review copy and those issues have been ironed out in the published version. I hope so, because underneath all those problems was a heartwarming story and romance that a lot of people will enjoy.

get it on apple books