Author: Barbara Elsborg
Review by: Onnica
Ash is an ordinary girl, leading an ordinary life, but behind her smile she hides a secret so damning she’s sure no one could ever love her. Noah is a war photographer who’s come back from Afghanistan with a secret so dark he can’t escape its smothering grip.
Both need redemption. Ash looks for it by making people happy. Noah seeks it under the whip of a Dom. They’re damaged souls, drowning in guilt, unable to escape the legacies of their pasts. Then their worlds collide in an explosion of fireworks so strong it singes not only them, but those around them. It’s said love heals all wounds, but sometimes before love enters the heart, the intense fire of passion has to burn a path, lighting the way.
Why you should read it: I’m very late to this party. The book was released back in 2011 (without much fanfare to be honest). Although I’ve read a ton of books by Ms Elborg, this one slipped under my radar. It’s actually a little tamer than her usual reads and the dialogue, the story and the characters make it a compelling and seriously sensual read. Yes, many blurbs have either a broken hero or heroine (or both) these days, but this story felt incredibly real. The back stories were intricate and based on real-life situations and for this, I felt connected to both of the main characters. Ash is a heartbreakingly ‘good’ person. Her need to be upbeat all the time should have been exhausting, but it was so poignant once the reader discovers why. Her drive to helps others didn’t fail to make me cry (yes, me with the tin heart, crying!) and her banter and fearlessness make her a wonderful heroine. Noah is complex, brooding and in desperate need of help. He’s a good but damaged soul and I truly enjoyed the dynamic and the push and pull between he and Ash.
What you might not like: The idea for the story came from a true case in England featuring an utterly horrendous couple. While the book doesn’t dwell on the details of Ash’s past, it does lurk there in the background and is pretty dark. It was well handled though and I really don’t see it being a reason to put off the reader.
Rating: 5/5 for a fresh, original and drama-free heroine (and believe me, she has reason to be a proper mess!) who is looking for her place in the world and hero in need of a little forgiveness.