Continuing with the 2019 Alphabet Variation Challenge:
For this letter, I decided to read Colleen Hoover’s It Ends With Us, published in 2016, and I have to say, being a new author to me, where have you been all my life, Ms. Hoover?
This story moves between two time lines. Twenty something Lily Bloom has just experienced a personal loss. Her father has died and she had to give the eulogy. The problem is, Lily both loved and hated her father. Although he treated her well, Lily’s father’s abuse towards her mother colored her young life affecting her adulthood. Another thing that affected her adulthood was a young man she came to know during her teen years in Maine. He was a few years older and had been kicked out of his home. Lily discovers that Atlas Corrigan has been camping out in the abandoned house behind her home and attempts to help him. As a result, their young love grows, but is cut short by the fact that Lily’s father catches Atlas in his daughter’s bedroom *and* Atlas is offered a home by an uncle in Boston. With plans to ultimately join the Marines, Atlas goes off to Boston, leaving Maine and Lily behind.
In the present timeframe, Lily has moved to Boston. She is both mourning her father and despising him. In the midst of this, she meets a young doctor-to-be, Ryle Kincaid. Ryle is from a whole different world of familial support and money. But, he’s been chased by demons and warns Lily that he’s not interested in a relationship. However, in no time, Ryle is falling utterly in love with Lily and vice versa. Lily has also decided to leave her job and open a florist shop. By chance, she hires Ryle’s wealthy sister to help her which throws her further into Ryle’s life. Before long Lily and Ryle decide to make things permanent between them and all seems to be perfect … except, Ryle has demons — serious demons — and the revelation that Lily’s teenage crush, Atlas, has left the Marines and is in Boston, growing his own business, exacerbates the relationship between Lily and Ryle.
This story really kept me turning the pages. I was on the edge of my seat wondering how this might end, and I do mean that. Most romances make it pretty clear what the ending will be, but not how the characters will get there. This story leaves both issues open to question. What will Lily do and how will she get there. Bad things happen and one thinks they know what Lily should do, but then you begin to feel the pull of the other character’s torments and are not too sure. As the book reminds us repeatedly, there are no bad people, only bad decisions. What decisions will Lily, Ryle, and Atlas make — especially when their pasts, presents and futures collide. I’d give his book an “A” gladly. This is an excellent, heart wrenching story, and the title quote really made me tear up.
The Alphabet Variation Challenge – 8 down, 11 to go (A, D, E, G, H, I, M, S …)