Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to author Emily Mah Tippetts.
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Alex had everything when he was with Madison. But the darkness within him wouldn't go away.
After two years apart, he returns to Pelican Bluffs and to the girl he never wanted to leave. Madison wants to give their love another chance, but Alex can't fight fate.
He is what he is.
Ruined. Crazy like his mother. And Madison deserves so much more. When his secrets spill out into their small town, Alex has a choice to make. Hide away in the darkness forever, or let love in.
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to author Emily Mah Tippetts.)
This is book 2 in the ‘Shattered Castles’ series, and kicks off around 2 years after the end of book 1 – ‘Castles in the Sand’.
**Warning – some unavoidable spoilers for book 1 in the series – ‘Castles in the Sand’.
It’s 2 years since Alex broke Madison’s heart when he left her to go off on a mission, but now he’s back. Madison never stopped loving Alex and has written to him frequently while he has been away. She loves him, and has confided in him that she wants them to give it another go, and to eventually get married, but Alex has other ideas.
Recently diagnosed with schizophreniform disorder (a precursor to full schizophrenia), Alex is waiting for the day his symptoms get worse, and after caring for his mother and her schizophrenia for so long, Alex doesn’t want to burden Madison with his illness, no matter how much he loves her and she loves hm.
Is there any hope for Alex and Madison? What does Alex plan to do with the rest of his life? And how much has his diagnosis affected his outlook on life?
This book is told from Alex’s perspective, and is quite a bit darker than its predecessor ‘Castles in the Sand’.
Alex is pretty messed up and trying to deal with his delusions and psychosis in this book, as well as trying to deal with his feelings for Madison, his mom, and half the townspeople who seem to want something from him. I found listening to the voices that Alex could hear that weren’t really there to be quite difficult, and I really felt for him. I cannot imagine how difficult it would be to try and focus on everyday activities when ‘angels’ are constantly whispering to you in your mind.
As much as I could relate to Alex, I didn’t like the way he treated Madison. I know that he was pushing her away to ‘save’ her from living with a schizophrenic for the rest of her life, but I’m not sure he really took into account how much he was hurting her by pushing her away, and how her love wasn’t something that she could control any more than he could control his schizophrenia.
It seemed odd to not see things from Madison’s point of view after bonding with her in the first book, but it was certainly interesting to be inside Alex’s mind instead. Madison did feature in this book though, and it was nice to see her succeeding at something, and standing up for what she wanted. Kailie was back also, and if possible seemed more nuts than she did in book 1. Her relationship with Alex was also a little strange, and I was quite concerned about her mental health as well as Alex’s.
I liked the storyline in this book, although it mainly dealt with Alex’s issues regarding his illness, and what it took to bring Madison and Alex back together. I did find this book to be a little darker than ‘Castles in the Sand’, but I think this was fitting considering the difficult issues dealt with. The romance between Madison and Alex really did take a back seat in this book though, and this was instead a much more realistic look at how mental illness affects not only people but relationships.
Overall; A realistic story about mental illness, forgiveness, and love.
7 out of 10.