I am excited to be today's stop on The Willows: Haven Blog Tour!
When tragedy strikes, seventeen year-old Ashton Blake sets out on a cross-country road trip, leaving the comforts of Malibu for the mountains of Kentucky. Along the way, she encounters Gabe Willoughby—the mysterious drifter with eyes like the sea and a knowing smile. Getting to know Gabe raises questions about her past. But no secret can be buried forever, and Ashton soon finders herself in a world where water is air and myth becomes reality.
Just as Ashton comes to accept her newfound heritage, she’s summoned to fulfill a treaty laid down centuries before — a treaty that will divide her love and test her loyalty. In the end, her future isn’t her biggest concern, her humanity is. To run may mean war, but is she strong enough to stay?
Hope Collier has created an enchanting world, and I found myself floating along with Ashton and Gabe as they got to know each other. Our main character, Ashton, is struggling with the death of her father when she meets Gabe, a motorcycle-riding mystery man. I wondered about this handsome stranger from the moment he appeared, and his complicated history made him one of my favorite characters. The attraction between Ashton and Gabe is well-written and sweet, and it left me wanting more time for them to be together.
Alas, their time is cut short when Ashton is taken to The Valley. This is where Hope really hit her stride. Her descriptions of this world within our world were stunning:
The light of the full moon glistened off the water, casting shimmering reflections against the trees. A gentle wind carried the fragrance of water lilies across the bank as cattails swayed along the shoreline. [...] The effect the water possessed was more powerful than ever before. Familiar scents comforted me as I waded out into the deep. The caress felt like satin against my skin, reaching into my very essence. It was part of me, something that would never change, could never be taken away.As Ashton becomes familiar with the family secrets that determine her fate, she turns to her friend, Kyle, for support and friendship. But Kyle has a history of his own, and his deep feelings for her overwhelm both of them:
The kiss deepened as Kyle's passion stirred. Hot hands wrapped around my waist, lifting me to his height. I threaded my fingers through his hair, allowing the months of loneliness and grief to fuel my reaction. He moaned softly as he held me tighter, and I reveled in the feeling of his love.There's no doubt that Ashton is in a tight spot. Her feelings for the two most important people in her life, Gabe and Kyle, cannot coexist, and she feels the full weight of the decision she must make. But Hope guides us through the final twists and turns quickly and expertly. I breathed a sigh of relief for Ashton when I came to the last page, but I wasn't ready for the story to end. Luckily, this is just the beginning of Ashton's story - I can't wait!
Thanks so much to Julie of A Tale of Many Reviews for organizing this blog tour and allowing me to participate. And check out The Willows: Haven - it's available now at Amazon.com.