★★★★★ 5 Stars ★★★★★
“The most beautiful art is often born from the most desperate of circumstances.”
Ally Prince is a 27 years old museum curator. She lives for her love of art and when she lands her dream job curating an exhibition by her favourite artist, modern sculptor Elpidio, she is beyond happy and excited to be given the opportunity to showcase his sculptures after admiring them for so long.
“His works… They are both the saddest and most beautiful pieces of art I have ever seen. Every curve of the marble comes from deep within the heart.”
She flies from her home in LA and goes to stay with her cousin Rome and best friend Molly in Seattle, where the exhibition will take place.
Elpidio is a lonely and reclusive man who learnt his craft in prison. He sculpts to help curb the anger that lives inside his soul. When his mentor Vin Galanti arranges for his work to appear in a début exhibition, he is reluctant to share his pain and grief that his pieces represent, but when he discovers that the show will take place in Seattle, he decides that maybe it’s the perfect time to face his past. – he has family that he let down terribly and needs to make amends with.
Elpi is lurking in the shadows watching the beautiful curator Aliyana Lucia arrange his sculptures in such a reverent way when he is spotted, something he never intended to happen, but Ally is determined to find out what inspired such sad and beautiful art. She simply cannot let him slink away and he can’t seem to find it in him to escape her either.
“Fuck porn. A chick as hot as Aliyana Lucia sitting in front of me, hair ruffled in a messy knot and shirt gaping, talking to me in Spanish was the hottest thing I’d ever fucking seen.”
They find themselves meeting every night in the cover of darkness, to talk about the art but discover they connect on a deeper level, which surprises them both.
“He’s the most inspiring, courageous, beautifully dark, tortured, talented sculptor I’ve ever encountered…”
It’s not long before they both discover that Elpidio and Aliyana are not quite who they made out to be and Ally discovers that not only was she unintentionally hiding her identity, but Elpidio was most definitely not the man she thought he was. The only trouble is, it may be too late now that he has taken root in her heart.
This book was so much more than a simple love story, it touched me so deeply how Elpi was so truly broken by his past sins, and how Ally vowed to show him that he was a good man who did bad things only to protect his family. She needed him to realise that he didn’t know any better, that he was just a child who didn’t have any other choices but to do bad things to survive.
Everything he did as a young teen was to protect and support his brothers. He doesn’t believe he deserves anything good in life whatsoever, but Ally gives him the one thing he never imagined he’d have. Hope.
He cannot understand why Ally anything to do with him, he keeps warning her to stay away, that he is trouble and a bad person.
“And even crazier, she loved my work… the twisted, fucked-up sculptures from my mind.”
But she sees him for the man he is today, a man who loves his family so unconditionally that he couldn’t possibly have a black heart. She will fight for him, and with him, to bring him the redemption she believes he deserves.
For him, she is the light who makes his darkness go away
“Lei era speranza…She was hope. La mia luce… my light.”
This book hit me right in the gut, it was so sad but full of hope at the same time. It was the perfect end to this series and by far the best book Tillie has ever written. Get your tissues ready for this one, it was an emotional one but heart-warming at the same time. This is a story about LOVE. FAMILY, HOPE and REDEMPTION.
I loved this book so much, it was just that good and it really touched my heart so deeply.
Told in dual POV, it is necessary to have read Sweet Fall first in order to truly understand the dynamics of the characters and the back story of Elpidio and Ally.
ARC gratefully received from the author in exchange for an honest review