Wednesday 28 January 2015

Review ~ Withering Hope by Layla Hagen.

Title: Withering Hope.
Author: Layla Hagen.
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: January 19, 2015.
Source: Review copy.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Purchase: Amazon UK | Amazon US | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

Aimee’s wedding is supposed to turn out perfect. Her dress, her fiancé and the location—the idyllic holiday ranch in Brazil—are perfect.

But all Aimee’s plans come crashing down when the private jet that’s taking her from the U.S. to the ranch—where her fiancé awaits her—defects mid-flight and the pilot is forced to perform an emergency landing in the heart of the Amazon rainforest.

With no way to reach civilisation, being rescued is Aimee and Tristan’s—the pilot—only hope. A slim one that slowly withers away, desperation taking its place. Because death wanders in the jungle under many forms: starvation, diseases. Beasts. As Aimee and Tristan fight to find ways to survive, they grow closer. Together they discover that facing old, inner agonies carved by painful pasts takes just as much courage, if not even more, than facing the rainforest.

Despite her devotion to her fiancé, Aimee can’t hide her feelings for Tristan—the man for whom she’s slowly becoming everything. You can hide many things in the rainforest. But not lies. Or love.

Withering Hope is the story of a man who desperately needs forgiveness and the woman who brings him hope. It is a story in which hope births wings and blooms into a love that is as beautiful and intense as it is forbidden.

I’ve not read a novel quite like Withering Hope before – it’s bursting with originality and unpredictability. There were occasions when I was sure of how things were going to turn out but instead there were lots of twists to keep on proving me wrong and making me quickly turn the page to see what was coming next. Aimee is on a private jet to the ranch where she will wed her fiancé Chris but a defect during her flight forces the pilot Tristan to execute an emergency landing, right in the Amazon rainforest. The fight is on for both characters to survive as they hope to be rescued, but there’s a lot more to the story then that.

The first third of Withering Hope, I was a bit disappointed with. Aimee and Tristan have seen the plane crash-landing in the Amazon rainforest. Nobody knows where they are and so they need to be looking for a way to be rescued, looking to survive. I thought we were immediately going to be thrown in with a sense of anticipation but what should have been tense and gripping to me felt a little flat and dull. I wasn’t really interested in either Aimee or Tristan at this point and since they were the only two characters, I struggled to want to keep on reading. It didn’t help me that it felt so slow to get going, although that did make it feel more realistic and believable I guess since it would be unfair to expect either character to have much clue on how to be rescued from the depths of the rainforest. I did consider giving up on this book but I’m a big fan of Layla Hagen’s writing so I persevered, and I was glad it got a lot better.

As the book continues, we finally get to see more from the characters than Aimee thinking about and mentioning her wedding at every opportunity and Tristan trying to avoid talking about it. The book is told mostly from Aimee’s perspective, with short chapters from Tristan’s POV. I really grew to like both of them as we learn more about them, the pasts they’re trying to escape from and the things that really make them tick. I loved how their stories were told, the little snippets they’d learn about each other since what else is there to do when you’re stranded with someone you don’t know very well with nowhere else to go? Both Tristan and Aimee proved themselves to be selfless and caring and there’s a bond between them which is slow-building and technically wrong, but one that feels right for both of them. The pacing of this is so beautiful to read. What could have been built purely with desperation was instead surging with hope and their connection was plain to see.

Towards the end, this book became absolutely breath-taking – Layla’s writing at her finest. At this point I could not stop reading as an incredible turn of events left me feeling all the emotions. Any time I thought there was a glimmer of hope, that feeling got torn to shreds seconds later and I was left trying to work out what would happen next as the story became more gut-wrenching as the pages ran out. This book has one of those wonderful endings that I could talk about all day.

Withering Hope is not told in three parts like my review might make it seem but that’s how I saw the book because if I was reviewing each part separately, they’d each get a different rating and a completely different opinion. I had such mixed feelings on this book but ultimately, it’s the emotional, stunning finale which is left in my mind and I will remember this book in that way for the way it made me feel and the way I’m still going to be thinking about this ending for days to come. Withering Hope is a book you might need to push yourself through at first but it will provide you with a powerful ending that makes it all worthwhile.

Review also posted on Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US

My name is Layla Hagen and I am a New Adult Contemporary Romance author.
I fell in love with books when I was nine years old, and my love affair with stories continues even now, many years later.
I write romantic stories and can’t wait to share them with the world.
And I drink coffee. Lots of it, in case the photo didn’t make it obvious enough.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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  1. Great review, Sophie! I love how original this sounds and action-packed, too! Survivalist stories are my fav and mixing romance with it is just awesome! :)

  2. Sounds like it's worth getting through the initial setting the scene part. I love books with twists.

    1. Definitely, once you persevere with it for a bit it's worth it :)

  3. Sounds like my cup of tea, thanks. :-)

  4. this is not my normal type of book, but your review made the edning sound really good, that I might just have to give it a read

    Serenity You


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