Loren Smith has been in love with Eliot Devlin almost his entire life. During their turbulent childhood and teen years, Loren didn’t always understand Eliot, and sometimes he could be a challenge, but Eliot was the only one to ever truly ease Loren’s deep loneliness and accept him. When Eliot’s increasingly erratic and self-destructive behavior culminates in a suicide attempt at seventeen, Loren is devastated.
Upon meeting again by chance nine years later, Loren is enjoying a successful career as a police officer while Eliot’s life has been a constant struggle for stability. In and out of mental hospitals, with a rap sheet a mile long, he continues to be buffeted by the twin storms of mania and depression. Loren’s love and protectiveness for Eliot are deeply ingrained in him, however, and their feelings for each other are quickly rekindled.
Loren has issues of his own he’s dealing with, and trying to understand and cope with Eliot’s bipolar disorder isn’t easy. They believe they’re meant to be, and Eliot brings a fulfillment to Loren’s life that no one else will ever match. But as they both come to realize, love by itself can’t cure all.
This book has been on my “need to read NOW” list since I finished the final page of “Signs of Life“, the second book in the Resilient Love series. Jeremy and Kai’s story TORE ME UP…and I loved every torturous moment. I was a bit timid of this new couple’s story because initially I wasn’t a huge fan of Loren. He grew on me bit by bit, but it wasn’t an instant connection between him and I. Silly Sheri. I should have known better. Miss Hansen didn’t pull her punches this time around either and Loren and Eliot’s story was tragically beautiful.
My first encounter with Miss Hansen was….brutal. I felt as if she tore my heart out of my chest or pushed me off a cliff. It was swift, severe, and absolutely striking. This time around her attack was stealthy. It wasn’t a sudden fall. More like I was walking the edge of the cliff as rocks crumbled beneath my feet. Or perhaps she gave me a million paper cuts on my heart rather than one devastating blow. From start to finish I was apprehensive and stressed. I nibbled Tums while I twisted my hands in my lap. I clenched my teeth and couldn’t take a full breath. Frankly, I was a wreck. Melanie Hansen’s stories should come with a ‘danger to your health’ warning. The powerful voices that come from her characters continue to leave me awestruck and exhausted. I can’t wait to do it again!
I believe the portrayal of living and loving the mentally interesting (I love this description) is spot on. We are given an up close and personal view of Bipolar disorders highs and lows. There is no glossing over the details, ugly or otherwise. It’s real. Therefore, it’s not always pretty but life isn’t always pretty. I also appreciated the particulars of life living with a cop. I’m no stranger when it comes to life as a police officer’s other half. Sometimes I have to be the solid foundation at home when I don’t want to be. I know what it’s like to lay awake in the middle of the night wondering if they will warm the sheets with you again. Sleeping alone with an overactive brain when the love of your life is out…there is nearly impossible. I could relate with Eliot in these aspects.
Quite simply, the romance. The unconditional love that we witness is breathtaking. Loren and Eliot loved one another before they could understand what that meant. From the tender age of six, they became best friends and bonded in a unique way. Even a decade apart cannot diminish the strength of their love. If I focus on Eliot’s heart, I would say it’s erratic. It beats far too fast or far too slow. His own body is his biggest enemy. But Loren is like Eliot’s pacemaker. He regulates Eliot. He brings him down or lifts him up. He centers him, settles him and quiets his wavering brain. However, as much as Eliot needs Loren, Loren needs Eliot in return. Though they bring different features and qualities to their relationship table, they both come packing with equal contributions. This is not a one-sided equation. I adored how much they needed what only the other could provide. Ohhh, Ohhhh, OHHH! Big shout out for the amazing cover! It is gorgeous and perfectly fitting. The final pages were incredibly touching. The crowning touch to three stunning love stories.
Prepare for an onslaught of emotions. Potential triggers would be suicide attempts, mental health disorders and depression. If you suffer from or have loved ones who are brave survivors this might hit too close to home. You might find it refreshing to identify with another couple loving ‘all-in’ or it may cut too deep. Also, if you haven’t read the first two books in this series (GO BUY THEM RIGHT NOW) I would wait and read them in order. It can be a stand-alone but I’m certain you will want to start at the beginning. Only because the epilogue features all three couples and could be considered rather spoilery if you haven’t read the first two.
I would highly recommend this book (and this series!) for those readers that like genuine raw love stories. It’s not simple or easy or fits into a conventional box. It’s complicated and tough and makes its own box. And for that….I loved it.