This book is part of a series; it can be read as a stand alone.
Miss Charlotte Marie Chastain, better known as Charlie, is not your ordinary frock wearing, every hair in place female. Miss Charlie is just a little odd and a tomboy of the first order; she does everything she can to not appear weak, dependent or female, wears pants, hunts, and swears like no-bodies business. Charlie has a hidden trauma that has cast shadows over her life and made her what she has become. Elijah (Eli) Sylvester, better known as Fixit around the fort because he can fix anything is considered slow, dim, a throwaway by most except Charlie. Eli spent his whole life being bullied. Eli is not slow nor dimwitted, he is actually very smart though shy, and he is Charlies best friend. Eli has loved Charlie for years; Charlie is clueless. That is, until she walks in on Eli naked. Wowzer, that was an eye opener for Charlie, both physically and mentally. Watching Charlie blooms from an unaware, emotionally stunted, awkward teenager in a 25 yr old body was amazing. Growing pains are hard in the teenage years, but for a 25 yr old this was especially hard; the trauma Charlie hides has stunted her emotional and mental growth for ten years. I felt I was watching a butterfly emerge from the cocoon. The Author, Beth Williamson, did a wonderful job portraying Charlie’s and Eli’s emotions. I could feel their uncertainty and insecurity, as well as their wonder and amazement.
Suddenly Charlie seems to have a suitor in the Forts Army Captain, she is amazed and uncertain, and to top it off, Eli (her Eli) is stepping out with Jane Flanagan. Charlie’s world has flipped on its axis. Suddenly Charlie is seeing Eli in a different manner, she is seeing him as a man as well as her best friend. Charlie and Eli have many adventures ahead. Near sexual attacks, marriage, adventures to other places when in reality Charlie is still running from the past, her fear, and insecurities. The love scenes are dynamite, get ready to sweat. How well, Beth Williamson, wove this tale of two people growing up and becoming aware of each other.
The theme of this book is acceptance and letting go of old wounds to form a whole life full of love and commitment for Charlie and Eli. Charlie must face her old wounds to move forward and have a complete life. I found I couldn’t put the book down, I wanted to know what happened next to Charlie and Eli, when would they find happiness, when could Charlie move on with her life without the trauma of ten yrs ago shading everything she did, what was the trauma that haunted her, why was another man following Charlie in the shadows seemingly guarding her?
I found the pacing of the book was spot on and the characters were so lovable and believable. I wanted to reach out and hug Eli and Charlie. I loved this book and look forward to the next installment. I would recommend this book for young adult to adult due to sexual content.
I received this book from the publisher and Netgalley in return for an honest book review.