Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Review: Withering Hope by Layla Hagen

Aimee’s wedding is supposed to turn out perfect. Her dress, her fiancé and the location—the idyllic holiday ranch in Brazil—are perfect.

But all Aimee’s plans come crashing down when the private jet that’s taking her from the U.S. to the ranch—where her fiancé awaits her—defects mid-flight and the pilot is forced to perform an emergency landing in the heart of the Amazon rainforest.

With no way to reach civilisation, being rescued is Aimee and Tristan’s—the pilot—only hope. A slim one that slowly withers away, desperation taking its place. Because death wanders in the jungle under many forms: starvation, diseases. Beasts.

As Aimee and Tristan fight to find ways to survive, they grow closer. Together they discover that facing old, inner agonies carved by painful pasts takes just as much courage, if not even more, than facing the rainforest.

Despite her devotion to her fiancé, Aimee can’t hide her feelings for Tristan—the man for whom she’s slowly becoming everything. You can hide many things in the rainforest. But not lies. Or love.

Withering Hope is the story of a man who desperately needs forgiveness and the woman who brings him hope. It is a story in which hope births wings and blooms into a love that is as beautiful and intense as it is forbidden.

~My Review~

Withering Hope is a standalone romance about Aimee, a young woman who is on her way to Brazil by private jet to marry Chris, the man she loves and has been best friends with since childhood.  When the plane crash lands in the middle of the Amazon rainforest, all her plans go to the wayside as she and her pilot, Tristan, try to survive with limited supplies, no way of communicating to anyone back home, and no hope of a quick rescue.  As they spend more time together, they slowly fall in love. This book is totally different than any other book I've read - and that's a good thing...A really good thing.  I read this book in one sitting and really enjoyed such a unique read that was so well written.

I have never read a "survival" type romance before, so when I saw someone post about Withering Hope on Facebook, I took the opportunity to read something new.  My interest was piqued reading about what Aimee and Tristan had to do in order to survive not only their time in the depths of the rainforest, but also survive the pasts they are both struggling to hide.

The characters are very well developed throughout the story.  Aimee is a very straightforward character and I totally understood how she was feeling throughout the book.  Tristan, on the other hand, is a very mysterious character.  While Aimee talks to fill the silences, Tristan doesn't talk much at all, except when Aimee drills him with questions...And even then, he gives a lot of one-word answers.  Even the chapters that are in his POV are very short.  We learn that this flight isn't the first time that Aimee and Tristan are together - he has been an employee of Aimee's fiancé Chris for quite a while, and when he's not flying the plane, he's Aimee's driver.  They'd been in each other's presence quite a bit, but at the same time, they kept a respectable distance from each other.  As they're forced to keep each other company and depend on one another, they both uncover each other's pasts, and help each other to overcome their fears and troubles.

The book is mainly in the POV of Aimee, with a few short chapters in Tristan's POV, so we only know what's going on with the two of them.  We have no idea if anyone (specifically Aimee's fiancé Chris) is out looking for them, or if they have just been assumed to be dead.  As we read, we learn what they have to do in order to survive, and we hope just as much as they hope that they'll soon be rescued.

Overall, the story is slow moving, which is understandable given the fact that Aimee was initially engaged to another man, as well as the fact that they are in such a terrible situation.  The main conflict of the entire story was that their plane crashed and they're stranded in the middle of the rainforest.  Each day was a hurdle for them.  As they struggle to survive the situation they've been placed in, Aimee also struggles with her feelings for both Chris and Tristan, and starts to understand the different kinds of love she has for different people  All in all, it's all written very well.

There was only one thing that I didn't like about the book.  The epilogue - Specifically the second one.  I will readily admit that the epilogue was a beautiful description of the love that Aimee and Tristan had for each other.  I just don't necessarily enjoy reading about the characters so many years later.  I understand that I'm totally contradicting myself - it really was a beautifully written epilogue but I didn't enjoy it and I almost wish that it wasn't even there.  It really just made me disappointed that I missed so much of the story that wasn't told.

Overall, Withering Hope was a great read and a fabulous love story and I highly recommend it!!

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