Hope everyone is having a lovely day today. I've been meaning to read more of A.L Jackson since I read Take this Regret, but I was so moved by that novel that I felt I needed some time before I picked up another book by Ms. Jackson. I finally felt like it was time, so today I'm going to share my review of her novel When We Collide with you.
Summary from Goodreads
Paperback, 1st, 216 pages
Published November 2nd 2012
by Sapphire Star Publishing
Maggie had lived her entire life without hope until one man showed her what it meant to be loved. He’d been her light in a lifetime of darkness. Six years ago, that darkness stole him away. Without him, she’s surrendered herself to an existence she doesn’t know how to escape.
When the family William left behind is struck by tragedy, he is called back to the one place he’s sworn to never return to again.
In a moment that will change his life forever, William comes face to face with the girl who, with one look, captured his heart. He is unable to ignore the buried desires and the hope for the future they’d once believed they’d have.
Now William is ready to fight to take back what had been stolen from him six years before.
But he never imagined what that fight might cost him.
A.L. Jackson gives you an intimate look into the lives of a family bound by an unseen connection in this new contemporary romance.
When We Collide is a novel that will make you feel. It's a gripping story of lost love, anguish, sorrow and survival and the reader feels every flutter of William's heart, and each of its wounds. A.L Jackson's style is languid but controlled and each word carries you further and deeper into her character's story. From the first pages, I was drawn into the character's hearts in a way that felt deeply intimate.
The narration switches back and forth between Maggie and William. We get to hear both of these voices, and I'm starting to fall in love with first person narration all over again because it's such an intimate writing style. The narration also jumps from present to past, and while it might sound like it makes the novel unnecessarily complicated, I was not for one single second confused. The story flowed naturally, and unfolded logically before your eyes like a picture reel. For six years, William has left behind a simpler life, and a tight knit family. So when William does return home again, drawn there by the illness of his Aunt Lara, he has a lot to make up for. His family pretty much accept him back with open arms, glad to have him back, but the moment William sees Maggie, his heart is once again aching for her. I liked that what William felt for Maggie was so passionate, coming from so deep within him it was almost as though he knew he and Maggie were soul mates the second he laid eyes on her. Because that's what this couple are, soul mates, called together against all the odds. And that despite the time and distance, and William's best efforts to make himself hate Maggie, he has never stopped loving her. It kills me that they have to go through so much.
Maggie is a girl you just want to cry for. She's been abused her whole life, and when William offers her love and protection, she's almost afraid to believe that anyone would love her, would think she's worth their time and effort. As she and William slowly become closer over the course of the summer, it seems like Maggie is lowering the walls she's built up around herself, walls that keep her from wanting more, from breaking away from the cycle of abuse, walls of fear. I was so proud of her when she told Troy she was leaving him. I was so happy that she was choosing herself, her wants, her life over giving into the fear. And I wanted to cry when her small spark of courage was beaten away by Troy, who, horrible man that he was, stripped her of her self worth and forced her to live in shame and fear. I just hurt for her. And I hurt for William too, because he doesn't know why Maggie is suddenly running from him. He's angry and hurt, and his love for Maggie is so deep that the hurt he feels cuts him really deep. When he sees Maggie again, he's just awash with it all again, only it's more intense because he realizes Maggie's little boy is his too. And he's more desperate than ever to make sure that his family is safe.
Only, how does he do that when Maggie is married to Troy, and Troy refuses to let her go? Troy's need for control, his sick twisted mind, become more evident as Maggie begins to acknowledge the need for a better life for her son. William's relationship with Maggie has always been a secret, and it's not easy for him to tell his family what happened between him and Maggie during that summer they first collided. And because their relationship was a secret, and Maggie is so afraid, it's going to be hard for William to claim any rights to his son, Jonathon. As I read, I got this sinking feeling that something horrible was going to happen to Maggie and William, because I knew Troy would never let Maggie go, and that's when yet another important collision takes place. William has been dreaming of his son being in danger before he even knows he has a son, and by the end of the novel the purpose of those disturbing dreams clicks into place with beautiful meaning. The way in which souls collide in this novel leaves you feeling awed.
I was once again swept away by the storytelling of A.L Jackson. Enough that I couldn't read When We Collide in one sitting because it's not a story that leaves with a sweet, light feeling of happiness for the couple. Maggie and William's story will stay with you because it reminds you that those you love are precious and that true love is patient and always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preserves. I read that somewhere, and this story illustrates this lesson beautifully.
4.5 glittering stars