rating: 4 of 5 stars
I have to say that this book really put my emotions through the ringer. Sam is a very tortured soul. You wouldn't have believed it by reading the blurb. You would think that Jana was the lost soul that needed saving. Jana got pregnant by her loser boyfriend, who promptly ran out on her. She goes to Sam for a place to stay briefly until she can find away to keep herself off the streets until the baby comes and she can give it up for adoption. So going into this book, you think that Sam will be her knight in shining armor. Yes he is, in ae way. But Jana has a lot more dragon-slaying to do in this book, because her issues don't even compare to Sam's at all.
In some ways it was painful to read this story as you experience the anguish that Sam undergoes. He knows he has commitment issues. He knows that he is afraid to love. He dearly wants to be different, but he doesn't know how to be. I believe that Sam had been in love with Jana for many years, probably since he first met her. But he felt that he was poison and was afraid to let her be more than a friend to him. He had an established pattern of obtaining girlfriends and having fun with them, eventually falling in love but pushing them away, buying them a piece of jewelry as a sendoff. At first, I was offended. What modern woman would accept jewelry from a man she broke up with? It seems way too much like buying off a mistress to me. But then the book allowed me to look deeper and to delve into the reasons behind Sam's actions. In his mind, the best he could do was to give money to people he cared about. He didn't want to get too close and give of his heart and open his heart.
It was hard to read about how Sam and Jana really cared for each other but were doing this dance of trying not to get too close and cross the friendship barrier. However, they had a passion for each other (stemming from the deep love they both felt) that they could not deny.
I felt my heart breaking as I learned about Sam's childhood and why he is so afraid to love. He was betrayed by his mother, his father, and his aunt. Each of those people put him in situations that a young boy should not have to experience. I couldn't believe how cold-hearted and mean his aunt was. I really wanted to slap the woman.
I really loved Jana. She was a very good person, and she didn't give up on Sam, although a less strong woman would have. She decided that she would love him the way he would allow her to, and slowly wore away at ice around his heart. My heart bled for her having to face the tough decision of giving her baby away so that she or he could have a good life. What a terrible situation to be in.
I went into this story not expecting too much, just a pleasant read, and I received the blessing of a story that really touched me deeply, often in painful ways. It showed that the danger of loving is always there, but if we can take a leap of faith, we will receive so much when we do give our hearts to the right person.
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