Title: Dear Tabitha (Forever Family, #2)
Author: Trudy Stiles
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: March 30 2014
Damaged. Confused. Alone.
You feel sorry for me. You pity me.
You know what I’ve done. What I’ve given up. Who I’ve given up.
You try to understand what I’ve been through and how I can possibly go on with my life.
But you can’t possibly understand.
I’ve lost too much. Sacrificed too much. Given up everything so that I can find myself.
Well I’m done.
I’m done walking away from everything that matters.
It’s time for me to heal.
It’s MY TURN to earn…
Reviewer’s Note: Dear Tabitha is BOOK TWO in the Forever Family Series. Dear Emily should be read FIRST as this is NOT a standalone book.
Wow! Get the Kleenex at the ready and prepare for another emotional ride from Trudy Stiles! She’s going to make you cry, ugly cry and she’ll also make you smile – there’s so many mixed emotions in this book and the best way I can sum it up is to say that it’s bittersweet. Although there’s a lot of happiness here, we’ll also be left with a big ‘what if’ and and longing for what’s been lost and can never be replaced.
I have to confess to having mixed feelings about Tabitha after I read Dear Emily. While on one hand, I sympathised deeply with her incredible losses and the terrible abuse that she suffered and on the other, I felt that she played fast and loose with the emotions of the men in her life and, ultimately, crushed two good men. She left both Alex and Seth heartbroken in her wake and I began this book with no small amount of anger towards her and I was very intrigued to see how Trudy Stiles would handle this very challenging heroine.
Her words tear into me like that fucking rake did so long ago. I feel gutted. My heart drops in my chest when the words she just spoke sink into me.
There isn’t an us anymore.
We join Tabitha a couple of years after the events of Dear Emily – Tabitha has grown emotionally and is now a much stronger person. She’s single again having left Seth long behind and haven given her heart irrevocably to Alex who she hasn’t seen in years but he is about to come back into her life and he’s not the only surprise in store for her as her past comes roaring back to completely change everything.
Both Tabitha and Alex come from harrowing backgrounds. Tabitha was orphaned at birth, adopted by a wonderful woman who died tragically and suddenly, abandoned to the foster system and then almost enslaved by an evil, abusive man. She’s escaped her past but she’s not without emotional scars and lives with constant nightmares. She’s lost and given up so much in her life for the good of others – her life has been about sacrifice and, only now, is she beginning to live her life for herself and on her own terms. She’s grown so much since we first met her and she’s now an independent woman attempting to leave her tragic past behind.
Alex also suffered years of abuse after the loss of his beloved mother but, thankfully, was able to grow up in the heart of his best friend Dax’s loving family. He gave his heart to Tabitha years ago only to catch her kissing Seth, betraying him and he ran, broken hearted, without ever looking back. If only he had – if only he had given Tabitha the chance to explain, things would have been so different. He’s lost more than he can ever begin to realise and now, the truth about Emily is about to come out and watch out for some incredibly emotional scenes as Alex comes to terms with all that he has lost.
This is such an emotional story – the raw pain BLEEDS out of this novel and Alex, especially, had me welling up. I felt so badly for him, much more than I ever did for Tabitha despite her awful past. There’s just something about Alex – the way he wears his emotions on his heart, the tender and patient way he handled a skittish and battle-scarred Tabitha as they were getting to know one another, the sweet things that he does for her that really melted my heart. He’s beautiful inside and out and I couldn't stand to see him hurting and Trudy Stiles really does put him through the mill in this book. Be prepared to hurt and to hurt bad for Alex.
Tabitha has so much to deal with in this novel – not only has Alex walked back into her life, a big part of her past, a part she thought was lost to her has suddenly returns and Tabitha is left lost and floundering, desperate to do the right thing but unsure if she has the strength to do it. Alex was such a rock for her even though he was hurting – he was there for her every step of the way and I just adored him.
This is beautifully paced. It’s told from Tabitha and Alex’s alternating POV’s and differing timelines and I think Trudy Stiles does a good job of getting inside their heads at different stages of their life. Their inner voice does a good job of reflecting the age their character is at the time – it’s very well told. It builds to an incredible emotional crescendo and the last 25% or so had me turning the pages at a rate of knots, completely unable to put this down as I found myself so invested, desperate for this all to end well knowing that the ending could only be bittersweet at best – there’s still the loss of Alex, Tabitha and Emily as the family that can never be. We do, however, get to catch up with Emily, Carly and Kyle and it’s great to see them so happy and moving on as a family and and I really enjoyed their scenes.
So it’s another intensely emotional story from Trudy Stiles and we have Seth’s story to look forward to later this year.
4.5 angsty stars
Series Reading Order & Purchase Links
3. Seth’s story due later in 2014 and this will be a new standalone romance
To help celebrate the release of Dear Tabitha, Trudy is giving away a KINDLE PAPERWHITE plus gift cards. For your chance to win this awesome prize, just enter the Rafflecopter below and Good Luck!!a Rafflecopter giveaway
About The Author
Trudy Stiles is a New Adult author, mom to two beautiful children, and married to the love of her life. She is the author of the Forever Family series including “Dear Emily” and “Dear Tabitha”. There will be many more stories from this series and you never know who may have a standalone or novella written for them. Stay tuned!
Trudy is a music junkie and you’ll know that she’s writing when you see her plugged into her laptop with her earbuds in. Her playlist is unique and is a must for her writing sprints.
When she’s not writing, she’s carting her children to their various activities while avoiding any kind of laundry or housework. She also loves to run along the boardwalk of the beautiful New Jersey shore.
She’s always been an avid reader and frequently escapes into the fictional worlds of the many characters that she has come to love. Well, now there are some fictional characters in her head dying to get out!
This first story is called “Dear Emily” and was released in December 2013. “Dear Tabitha” will be released in March 2014. The Forever Family series will continue with several companion/stand alone novels.