Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Christie's Review: Wings Over Poppies by J.A. DeRouen


Title:Wings Over Poppies
Series: Standalone
Author:J.A. DeRouen
Release Date: January 26, 2015
Rating: 2.5 stars
Cliffhanger: No

Perfection. One word. Three syllables. Every reason why I’ll never have the one thing I truly want. I stand dutifully on the pedestal he’s built, waiting for the day he truly sees me.

Then one amazing night, he lets down his walls, only to leave me the next day.

Years have passed, and I’ve tried to move on with my life. But I still dream of him. I still miss him everyday. The memories haunt me. How can I look to the future when my past remains a mystery? The time has come to find the boy who stole my heart and ran away without a word.

But not everyone who is lost wants to be found.

My name is Alexandra Fontaine, and this is my story of unfinished love.

I don't know too many people that aren't a fan of second chance romance. Two fated souls who are ripped apart through circumstances beyond their control are reunited later in life and all is right with the world again. Did I feel that? At times. But I was also feeling a lot of frustration.

The best thing about this book for me, was the beginning. One thing it had going for it was that it immediately drew me in and caught my interest. Roughly the first 25% was set in the past when Alex and West were teenagers getting ready to choose their life paths. Alex is a free spirited, artistic girl from a wealthy family whose dreams of going to an art school don't match her parents plan for her. West is a sweet guy who works for her father at the golf course and struggles day to day to pay for his sister's illness. He was this caring, giving guy who only wanted to take care of his family and after meeting Alex, quietly worshiped her and stayed away because he had nothing to offer her.

The growth of their love was sweet and fragile. The intensity was there due to the fact that he refused to act on his affection for her, but honestly, the angst wasn't over-the-top. It was comfortable.

Alex is the type of heroine that knows what she wants and isn't afraid to speak her mind. I loved that about her. And when Alex forces him to admit his true feelings, their short time together was poignant and touching.

"I'm everything you could ever want, and I still lose. How can that be?"

They both know that their lives are heading in different directions, but decide to enjoy the time they have and hope to find their way back to each other.

After West joins the military and Alex goes to art school in New York, they have no contact for 6 years. Although she writes him letters and searches for him, she never gets a response. This is where my difficulties lie in the story. West is physically and mentally changed from the war. He has PTSD and an is only a shell of his former self. Alex is still unsuccessfully struggling to forget the one person who stole her heart. At first, I was fine with where the story was going. Yes, when they find each other again, he continually pushed her away, but it was believable based on his mental state. But when the book progressed to 6o, 70, and even 80 percent, I was done with West's "I'm not good enough, stay the hell away from me" attitude. I understand he's in a dark place, but I don't want to see him humiliate the heroine time and again when she's reaching out to him in love. Just my personal preference.

Just when I thought he finally came to the realization that he needs to make amends and accept her, he pushes her away. Again. He apologized to his family, but still wasn't ready to do the same with her. The fact that they didn't re-connect until the last 14% I have to say, was a disappointment. I would have liked to have seen more heartfelt moments between them and more tenderness like we see in the first section of the book. I just wasn't overcome by the love story like I wanted to be. I think if their source of conflict wasn't based solely on him being able to accept her back in his life, things could have run a lot smoother for me.

There is no denying that the concept of the story had a lot of potential. At times, I was right there in the story rooting for them. But the themes of unconditional love and second chance romance weren't enough to carry the too long awaited reunion. I would still read more from this author, she has a writing style that's very easy to connect with and her writing is very vivid. When Celia's story (book three) comes out, I'd be willing to give the series another shot.


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