Against the Wall
Jill Sorenson’s Against the Wall might be my favorite of Ms. Sorenson’s books. Many of her most memorable characters are genuinely hampered by their life choices, often to the point that there really isn’t a scott-free HEA in their future. This is definitely true for Eric Hernandez, the hero of Against the Wall. Eric first appeared in Sorenson’s 2011 The Edge of Night and, at the end of that book, went to jail for crimes he did indeed commit.
In Against the Wall, Eric has now served his time and is trying to build a new life. He is, however, still in love with Meghan–also from The Edge of Night–who is, as she was five years ago, out of his reach.
Sorenson writes characters who struggle to survive. The barriers Eric faces as an ex-con of color are palpably real. Eric is poor and Hispanic, and the choices he is forced to make are often heartbreaking. Furthermore, the mistakes he’s made are ones 21st century America is unlikely to forgive. Sorenson’s deft plotting, however, gives us hope that maybe, just maybe, Eric can become the man he is determined to be.
Meghan, who is white and middle-class, is also a believable character. Like many a college student, she isn’t sure what she wants from life or from herself. Meghan too makes mistakes but her class and color make hers easier for her to recover from. Eric and Meghan are the sort of lovers you desperately want to have an HEA and, for much of this tautly written book, that outcome seems impossible.
I love everything about this book. It’s gritty, sexy–like, really really hot–, and, in places, oh so sad. Sorenson’s prose crackles with life–this book transports you to its context. Eric and Meghan aren’t able to keep their hands off or their hearts closed to each other but their path is a fraught one. This is a book that once you start reading, you’ll keep reading. It’s just so good. I recommend it without reservation.