IN SAVANNAH GEORGIA, THE GARDENS AREN'T THE ONLY THINGS KEEPING SECRETS.
"I want to know what goes on in your head," Adam said. "What do you think about? What are your dreams?"
"My dreams," Savannah said, picking up her spoon and stirring her coffee again. She stared into the swirling depths as if she could conjure up the specter of the girl who once had dreams to spare. "Funny thing is—I got everything I wanted."
Where do you go when you find out everything you wanted isn't what you need?
Savannah Palmerton picks up a brush and heads to an art class, desperate to find a piece of the girl she used to be, before the country club dances and the boring dinner party conversations. In 1963 the country is still playing in her innocence, but there are rumblings beneath the surface. The fabric of America is just beginning to fray around the edges. So it is in Savannah Palmerton's life.
Love, betrayal and family secrets create a lethal cocktail that has Savannah's world unraveling at her feet. Set against a southern backdrop of garden parties and civil rights marches, Paper Castles is a sultry mix of sweet-tea and murder. Sex and secrets.
Paper Castles is the best kind of love story. Where a woman must first learn to love herself.
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
This was my first time reading this author and definitely not my last. She writes with such honesty and grace. I was enthralled with the storyline, smitten by the characters, and was absolutely lost in the words.
“But moments couldn’t be caught. Wisps of laughter, precious seconds when the heart strained against the chest wall, overflowing with emotion-they were gone in an instant.”
It’s 1963. Socialite, Savannah Palmerton has it all. The husband, the kids, and the house. But on the inside? There’s a storm brewing deep within. Her tumultuous and failing marriage has taken its toll on her. She’s lost the strong woman she once was. She decides to take an art class. Painting is something she loves, and believes it will bring a piece of her back. She has no idea that that action would forever change the trajectory of her life.
“Why were you so reckless with our love? Do you know we’re about to lose everything?”
Once tragedy strikes, Savannah’s world begins to unravel. The façade and good wife routine is coming to the surface. For everyone to see. Family lies and secrets are revealed and its as ugly as it is heartbreaking. Savannah questions her love and loyalty. Hers is also questioned and challenged. Despite the heartache and darkness, she finds love. In a place she least expects. One that rises through the ashes. A love reserved only for her. But this love? It’s one that may compromise everything. But isn’t love always worth that risk?
“But if you bare your soul to me, I just might be able to save it.”
There is scene that absolutely moved me to tears. TEARS. I was totally in my feelings. Without going into too much detail, this scene involved Savannah’s nanny/maid, Neenie. As I mentioned before this story takes place in the 1960s. A time of discrimination and narrow minded-ness in our country. While the author brilliantly and so effortlessly captured this heartbreaking injustice, she also reminded us of the beauty and grace in the human spirit. Even at that time. That there were people ready to stand up for what’s right. That love always conquered fear. And just how much a good deed means to someone who was always taught they were a no one. This scene (and many others) have truly solidified her as not only a talented author, but a writer that can truly allow the readers to become part of a story she has masterfully crafted.
“After a storm is when you find the best treasures.”
Can we please talk about the writing? With its highly refined prose, the storyline takes twists and turns the reader never sees coming. It’s a perfect balance of romance and suspense. A story of a woman where life continues to throw situations that make her question everything about her, until she realizes that to love truly and deeply, she must first love herself. This gripping and poignant story is one that I read in one sitting. It was impossible to put down. The author’s voice in this story is unparalleled as she weaves a story with characters that you become emotionally invested in. All their highs and their lows. Her character development is genuine and fascinating, where no matter how big or small, they all play a vital part of this addicting story.
“I want to be the one to save you.”
“Then save me.”
Paper Castles is a mesmerizing and spellbinding story that immediately captivates the reader. It also challenges the reader. This isn’t the normal cookie cutter contemporary romance. Her talent shines in her ability to connect the reader to a story that takes place over 50 years ago. A very different world compared to today. The depth of emotions in this story are felt from beginning to end. I would call this book a game changer for me as it has left a mark on my heart that I will never forget. My love for this story and its characters is palpable. This extraordinary tale left me breathless as I was totally engrossed in this story of love, betrayal, loyalty, secrets, and murder. This compelling story placed me IN to the 1960s. My heart was broken, I fell in love, and I simply lived.
The telling of my story has a distinct before and after quality to it. My life, before, was a love story. A Hallmark movie, with a couple of I Love Lucy episodes thrown in for good measure. Boy meets girl in high school, sweeps her off her feet and marries her. But after 41 years of love and laughter, the bottom fell out with the uttering of one little word: Cancer. A love I thought I'd grow old in, slipped away in the middle of the night. Leaving me to ask, what now?
Thankfully the writing that sustained me through my entire life was there to catch me when I fell. At first I poured it all out onto the pages of my journal. A mix of words, ink, and tears tucked safely between the leather covers.
Here I am in the after part of my story. But the after is also the NOW. Eventually the purging of emotion led me back to another story that had been pushed to the back burner during trying times. Characters who'd been waiting patiently began to nudge and push. It was time to sit down at the computer and let the story be told. Let the healing begin.
When I ask the question, who am I now?... I realize though the road may have changed, I'm still a storyteller.
If it's one thing I know about, it's love. But I'm not interested in simply writing about; boy meets girl. My tag line is: Romance may be pretty but love stories are real. And that's where I want to be when I'm writing...down deep where the real story lives. Because love is messy. And glorious. I want to roll around in a story and fall in love. Want to come with me?
Three book besties who love to read and discuss books. We are addicted to all kinds of romance with Alpha Hero's, Kick-ass Heroine's and plenty of angst.
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