Life is beyond our control. It can bring joy, laughter, and happiness, then turn around and rip your heart out of your chest without warning.
Abel Matheson received a cold dose of life’s reality six months ago when the man he loved most lost his fight against cancer.
Free-spirited, easy-going Abel doesn’t know how to cope with the rotting, festering grief growing inside him. What was once an easy life has become a struggle to put one foot in front of the other.
His grades are slipping, his job is suffering, money is tight, and the nightmares plaguing his sleep are relentless. Something has to give. He can’t keep going like this.
Desperate to end his suffering, Abel falls back on old habits. Self-destructive habits he knows are wrong.
Every time he tries to stand, he ends up face-first in the mud.
On the advice of a counselor, Abel makes attempts to find a support system to help him handle his grief. Unexpectedly, during his quest toward healing, Abel makes a connection with the most unlikely of people.
His mind wants to rebel against the man who stands before him. Run far and fast in the other direction. But his heart forms a bond that annihilates his fear.
Why this man of all people?
Sometimes you find help and love where you least expect it.
Once again, Nicky James takes on an incredibly difficult and sensitive subject and handles it with such respect and tells a truly beautiful story. Abel is drowning after the death of his husband, Landon. He knew it was coming, knew it was how their story would end. But, despite his promises to Landon to move on and not despair, his life is falling apart around him. He’s flunking out of school, he’s struggling with money and his job is in peril as his depression gets worse and worse. He’s turned to alcohol to quiet his mind and nightmares, which just makes everything worse, but he doesn’t know what else to do. His relationship with his brother is strained. His friendships are nonexistent. He tries to seek help but isn’t satisfied with the advice he’s been given. He can’t find it in himself to properly grieve.
This is the story of Abel spiraling out of control, hitting rock bottom, and slowly climbing his way back out. It’s not a romance, exactly. Yes, there’s a romantic piece to it, but it isn’t the predominant driving force behind this book. And I loved that. I was a little concerned that we’d get a, “Abel finds love again and is saved,” story, which is an incredibly unhealthy way to get over a loss, but that’s not what this is at all. It’s Abel finding a support system, no matter how much he tries to push it away, and using the hand extended to him to pull himself out of his black pit.
There are lots of triggery aspects to this book, but as mentioned above, they are handled very respectfully and honestly. As someone who has recently experienced an unexpected loss, I can attest to the validity of what Abel goes through. Grieving is crucial; you can’t “man up” and ignore it and expect your life to continue. The author uses very subtle and realistic language to show what happens when you don’t grieve from Abel’s POV. I was incredibly impressed with the accuracy.
This book was full of emotion; it made me ugly cry, made me smile, made my heart hurt for both Landon and his eventual love interest, as both of their pain was so realistic it felt like I was feeling it. I can’t recommend this story enough. Note that New Beginnings: Abel’s Journey is a follow-up of No Regrets. While it can technically be read as a standalone, I strongly urge you to read No Regrets first to fully appreciate Abel’s story. Plus, No Regrets is a fantastic book.
A copy of this book was received in exchange for an honest review on OMG Reads.
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So here’s the thing, you know how I’m always saying you have to be careful with books even when they say standalone because sometimes a person’s journey in a book really starts before the book you’re reading … I’m telling you this now and you should listen. But you don’t have to if you don’t want to. But it will be your loss 🙂
Second thing I want to touch on before I tell you about the greatness in this book is the **TRIGGER WARNING** … pay attention to it, k. The author put it there for a reason, so …
Okay then … so this story is going to gut you. But it will also lift you up. This was an incredibly uplifting journey full of gut-wrenching turns. That’s the best I can do with a description that doesn’t tell you what happens. This is one of those books that you will feel when you read it. The anguish and the hurt and the sadness along with the joy and the love will all be felt more than they will just be read. It is some powerful prose.
Again, I can’t stress enough about the warning in this book. I sobbed the entire way. I knew the triggers were coming and it still gutted me at times. But it is such an uplifting story of growth and hope and heart …. A lot of frikkin heart!
Copy provided for blog tour review
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Nicky James lives in the small town of Petrolia, Ontario, Canada. She is mother to a wonderful teenage boy and wife to a truly supportive and understanding husband who, thankfully, doesn’t think her crazy.