Sunday, 5 August 2012

REVIEW - Poughkeepsie by Debra Anastasia

Title: Poughkeepsie
Author: Debra Anastasia
Publisher: Omnific Publishing
Published: 22nd November 2011
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Links: Goodreads / Amazon
Source: eBook from author

He counts her smiles every day and night at the train station. And morning and evening, the beautiful commuter acknowledges him—just like she does everyone else on the platform. But Blake Hartt is not like the others . . . he’s homeless. Memories of a broken childhood have robbed him of peace and twisted delusions into his soul. He stays secluded from the sun, sure the world would run from him in the harsh light of day.

Each day, Livia McHugh smiles politely and acknowledges her fellow commuters as she waits for the train to the city. She dismisses this kindness as nothing special, just like her. She’s the same as a million other girls—certainly no one to be cherished. But special or not, she smiles every day, never imagining that someone would rely on the simple gesture as if it were air to breathe.

When the moment comes that Livia must do more than smile, without hesitation she steps into the fray to defend the homeless man. And she's surprised to discover an inexplicable connection with her new friend. After danger subsides, their smiles become conversation. Their words usher in a friendship, which awakens something in each of them. But it’s not long before their bond must prove its strength. Entanglements from the past challenge both their love and their lives.

Blake’s heart beats for Livia’s, even if her hands have to keep its rhythm. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love never fails. Love never fails, right?

In an interwoven tale of unlikely loves and relationships forged by fire, Debra Anastasia takes readers into the darkest corners of human existence, only to show them the radiant power of pure adoration and true sacrifice. Complicated families and confused souls find their way to light in this novel, which manages to be racy, profane, funny, and reverent all at once.


I really don't know where to begin with reviewing this book. There are so many things I can say about how I loved it but I just don't know how to get it into words. 
Debra has created a beautiful book that is as much heartwarming and uplifting as it is heartbreaking and devastating. 

This book tells the story of not only Blake and Livia, but of a great number of people who's lives are all intertwined in one way or another. We have the three brothers, Blake, Beckett and Cole, the McHugh sisters, Livia and Kyle, Eve, Mouse and many more. We get a glimpse into all their lives and how their pasts have shaped them into the people they are today. The story is told in multiple POVs, each person getting to tell their story. Normally I don't like books with so many different POVs as I find myself wanting to skip certain ones. This was not the case here though. Not only did I love Livia and Blake's POVs but I found myself dying to hear what the others had to say. I fell in love with all three brothers, all for different reasons. They all had such a horrible childhood, so many bad things were thrown their way, but all this contributed to the men they became. Blake, who is as much fragile as he is strong; Cole who is trying to redeem himself by working in the church; and Beckett who became the most feared man in town just so he could try and project his brothers. Beckett I hold a special place in my heart for. Even though he is twisted and the very definition of a bad boy, I could kind of understand why he is the way he is. He believes he doesn't deserve anything more than what he has now and feels he can never become anything more. He has the worst mouth I have ever heard, some of the things he comes out with are insane! I laughed out loud at some of the things he said, but he also made my heart ache for him as well.

The story is very well thought out. I thought it was a very brave idea to write about. You find yourself asking, would I give a homeless man the same time of day as Livia did? Would I offer him as little as a smile? I was so moved hearing how Blake came to be homeless. The majority of people think that homeless people became homeless due to drink or drug problems, but sometimes it can be so much more complicated than a simple addiction. I applaud the route Debra took with this story. It was beautifully written, with believable and memorable characters that will stay with you long after you have turned the last page. The romance was very well done as well. It was moving and honest and showed that love is not always smooth sailing. There will always be obstacles on the road to that happy ending, but nothing worth having is ever easy.
One fault I found was that there were quite a few grammatical errors. There were words missing in a lot of places and the wrong words put in in others. 

I don't want to go into too much detail with the story because it best revealed as you read it. All I can say is that after you finish it, it will stay with you for a long time. The next time you see a homeless man, will you acknowledge him? Will you offer him a small smile? You never know, it could be the best thing to happen to him in a long time. 

Side-note: Please, please tell me there will be a sequel! I need to know what happens to Beckett! Please Debra, I beg you!

*I was provided with an e-copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*

“After soft kisses, they pressed their hands together palm to palm. The tingling scattered all over Livia's body, warming her.
"Do you feel that?" she whispered with a smile.

His lips moved in his silent count. Blake wrapped his fingers around her hand. She copied the movement. Their hands together now resembled a heart-not a cartoon rendering of the shape, but a real human heart.

He touched her lips with his and murmured, "I've been feeling it since you first smiled at me.” 

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