Can a guilty conscience keep wounds from healing?
Fine arts major, Candace Parker, grew up with a mother who thinks image is everything, and her daughter’s perfection will never be good enough. About to graduate college and pursue her dreams of becoming a professional ballerina, Candace decides it’s time to let go and have a little fun. But fun is short-lived when a brutal attack leaves her completely shattered.
The memories that consume and torment Candace are starting to destroy her when she meets Ryan Campbell, a successful bar owner. He feels instantly connected and tries to show her that hope is worth fighting for. But is Ryan harboring his own demons? As walls slowly begin to chip away, the secrets that are held within start to become painful burdens.
At what point do secrets become lies?
(17+) This book contains mature subject matter that is not suitable for those under the age of 17.
I cannot write this review without mentioning the quote E. K. Blair has put on the first page:
“And though she be but little, she is fierce” – William Shakespeare, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.
To me, it sets the tone right away: it tells me how strong our main character will have to become during the story.
I am in sheer and utter book heaven – with a massive book hangover, too! This book is simply outstanding…I hardly know where to begin with this review, because my thoughts are just all over the place. I usually wait a few days to write a review, but not this time. No, I feel I have to write it now while the book is fresh in my mind.
First of all, this is not a book for the fainthearted – without giving too much away, I feel I have to warn you about one particular matter: there is a very vivid, very brutal rape scene in the beginning of the book, so if you refuse to read a book that deals with such a heavy subject matter, “Fading” will not be for you. However, if you can see past this one particular scene, I implore you to do so and read this book!
This is the story about a young woman, Candace, who all her life has led a very cautious, very simple (and even, at times, a bit boring) life, who really only have 3 constants in her life: her ballet and her two friends, Jase & Kimber.
As she is talking with her employer, Roxy, one day about her life, she decides to live it up a bit for her final year in college – to be spontaneous and carefree for once in her life. It starts with a simple tattoo: a small heart placed on her hip. Little does she know how significant this heart will become later on…but I am getting ahead of myself here.
The only thing in Candace’s life that is filled with passion is her dancing: ballet means the world to her.
“The freedom you can find within the strict boundaries of technique makes me feel alive. I am happiest when I dance.”
Candace starts dating this guy, Jack, basically because her mother tells her to – and at first he seems like a nice guy, but Candace does not feel this “spark” towards him that she desperately wants to feel. Needless to say, Jack does not take her refusal of him kindly…
This is the pivotal point for Candace: when Jack rapes her, her world, her heart, her soul crumble to ashes and everything she used to be is, well…fading.
“I sit here, on the bottom of the shower, and everything I know about myself, everything I love, everything I am begins to fade.”
After this turn of events, we are shown how Candace struggles to get back to living instead of merely existing.
We get to experience everything with Candace, every step she goes through – in my opinion, the author very much excels at showing us how important mundane routines in life can be necessarry to a victim of such a heinous act. Your heart breaks every time she has a nightmare, every time she cries and seeks comfort in her best friend, Jase.
“I don’t understand what I did that was so wrong.”
Wiping away my tears with his thumb, he says, “You didn’t do anything wrong.”
“Then why did this happen to me?”
I find Candace to be a very believable character: in her own way, she IS strong, she has a beautiful soul and heart. I understand her fear of running into Jack again. I can even understand the guilt she feels, even though it is completely misplaced. I believe that is a very common conception many rape victims go through. I find her withdrawal from her friend, Kimber, incredibly sad, but, again, understandable and real.
It is not until Candace meets Ryan – the “hot-ass guy” as Roxy calls him – that she starts to really get better, though. From the moment they meet, you sense that these two will form an incredible bond with each other, and I must admit that theirs is one of the most beautiful love stories I have ever read. And even though the main story centers around Candace and her very emotional journey, the story of Ryan and their relationship is equally as important.
Ryan is a most swoon-worthy hero. He has the “bad boy vibe” going on but at the same time he has a truly amazing heart and he is not afraid to show it to Candace which is very refreshing. He has had to battle his own demons in his past and he slowly, but surely, makes Candace trust him with all of her heart by being very patient and sweet with her. The way he makes Candace feels…well, it is so heartwartming.
“You’re so fucking beautiful.”
I believe him when he says those words to me. I might not feel that way in a day from now, or even an hour from now. But right now, in this moment – I believe him.”
Yes, Ryan is perfect book boyfriend material. A protective alpha male who is also gorgeous, sensitive, playful…the list goes on and on. And true, he makes a very bad decision, but it is, in a way, necessary in order to make Candace take the final steps toward healing.
There are so many beautiful moments between Ryan and Candace but I do not want to give too much away – if you only read one book this year, let this be it. Yes, this is a long book, which I, personally, love, and you are not bored one single minute of reading it. I find it very refreshing, actually, to see a book that is 400+ pages, where the pace is never rushed but flows naturally. Not one sentence of this book is simply “a filler” – every sentence holds significance – and you want to savour it while reading it.
“Dropping his head to mine, he confesses softly: “You’re the only one I’ve ever done that with. You’re the only one I’ve ever made love to.”
Throughout reading “Fading”, I felt so many different emotions: anger, nausea, heartache, elation…I could go on. I find it absolutely amazing that this is E. K. Blair’s first novel because the way it is written…well, it is sheer beauty! Every character feels real, and I cannot wait to read “Falling”- Ryan’s story – when it comes out later this year. But first, I am looking forward to reading Jase’s story, “Freeing”.
I took a chance with “Fading”, meaning that I did not buy the ebook version – I went ahead and bought the paperback. I will never regret that I did because this book now sits on my Favourite Books shelf. And I have a feeling it will be the same with “Freeing” and “Falling”. Miss Blair: please do NOT hurry while writing “Falling” – please make it as beautiful a book as “Fading”. 🙂
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