Published by Entangled: Amara on 25th February 2020
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How do you define yourself when others have already decided who you are?
Six years ago, when Camden Daniels came back from war without his younger brother, no one in the small town of Alba, Colorado, would forgive him—especially his father. He left, swearing never to return.
But a desperate message from his father brings it all back. The betrayal. The pain. And the need to go home again. But home is where the one person he still loves is waiting. Willow. The one woman he can never have. Because there are secrets buried in Alba that are best left in the dark.
If only he could tell his heart to stay locked away when she whispers she’s always loved him, and always will…
A soldier’s return to his hometown at the plea of his father turns out to be a lot more complicated than it seems; along the way he needs to face his own demons in a small, hostile town that’s drying up, a family who thinks the lowest of him and a woman whom he’d always wanted but lost before he could even get her. That, in essence, is Rebecca Yarros’s ‘Great and Precious things’—a story of odds so large that they can’t seem to be overcome by a man who’d been dealing with a constant, upward climb all his life.
I had an inkling that ‘Great and Precious Things’ would make me cry ugly tears, or at least put me on the verge of that a few times, if Yarros’s last tearjerker of a book was any indication of how this would go.
It seems that I was right: there is angst, tragedy, perceived betrayal in what looks like a simple homecoming story, except that a small town doesn’t forgive and forget, especially after they’ve had a taste of how a hell-raising teenager (or rather, a poster boy for destructive shenanigans) can behave—and hell would freeze over before man who had finally grown up could actually behave in a mature way.
But there is a monumental task facing Camden Daniels apart from his familial obligations and emotional roadblocks and it’s Willow Bradley – the very person he’s sworn not to ever see again given the guilt he carries on his shoulders – who steps up, and helps steer him through it all.
And that’s perhaps, the most enjoyable bit that had been juggled perfectly here.
Yarros writes both Cam and Willow so sharply and so painfully clearly that their turbulent emotions, emotional insecurity and confusion jump off the page; they stand out not as an easy friends-to-lovers pair but rather, as a ‘written-in-the-stars-type’ pair suffering such a slow burn revealing the extent to which they’d loved each other throughout the years.
It’s easy to get lost in this drama of unrequited love, missed chances and a heroine so determined to finally fight for what she wants. It’s even easier yet, to love this masterfully-written story and its heartburning bits that I immediately wanted to re-read the moment I finished it.