Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Review: No Longer Mine by Shiloh Walker

One woman, one man, and a love that won't let either of them go. . .

Born on the wrong side of the tracks and dealt a fair share of hardship, Nikki Kline never gives up a fight. Even when her reason to keep going is ripped from her, Nikki tries desperately to hang on. But when the man who broke Nikki's heart comes back into her life she doesn't know how much she can take. Especially since that man seems determined to win back her damaged heart.

Wade Lightfoot is a man who knows he's made more mistakes than most. As much as he would like to repair the damage he has done to those he loves, Wade also knows there is no going back. But when he sets out to put things right the last thing he is prepared to find out is that he had a son--a son he will never get the chance to meet.

When the truth is out and all the old wounds are bared, it seems impossible that Nikki and Wade will find their way back to each other. But true love is an undeniable force that even past hurts can't destroy.

In her dedication to this re-released story, the author comments:

"This book went out of print sometime in 2005 or 2996. Since it has been out of print I've had a number of readers ask me if I would ever release it again. My initial response was NO--capital letters, italics, bold font and all. It ws my first attempt at a full-length romance. It is not one of my better attempts either. It is rough, the characters are a ittle overdone, and sometimes I don't like either of them very much. But, like many writers' first attempts, it does have a special place in my heart, and part of what makes it special is the story itself. So while I know some of the flaws with this story, I knowI can fix some of them, fixing a lot of them would actually be changing the story."

There is no doubt, after reading this novel, that it is evident that in the succeeding years Ms Walker has honed her writing skills and put a great deal of work into refining her considerable talent. Yet I have to own up to being drawn into this story because it is rough, edgy, with emotions that are raw and in-your-face, and there just isn't much joy here. Yet there is an underlying grit in all these characters, especially Nikki's family, for coming through the hardships of poverty and social avoidance, their father's alcoholism, and her personal disappointments and wounds. Wade has also had to "live with the consequences of his choices" in a daily encounter with the hurts his mistakes have caused, not just to him and to Nikki, but to people who were also as undeserving of hurt and these two people.

There were times while reading this novel that I didn't think the pain would ever end. It was almost like a Greek tragedy: the longer it went on, the worse it got. And perhaps that is why I just kept on reading, because I was convinced that these two really nice people just couldn't end up bearing the brunt of all they had done or endured without some sort of redemptive force brought about by their love for each other. I think those of us who have lost a child--whether through accidents or sickness after birth or miscarriage--understand that there are holes in our hearts which may never be filled. It is a credit to the human spirit that even the deepest hurts can be healed to some degree. And this was my hope, even in these fictional circumstances, that kept me glued to the pages.

Ms Walker has given us a novel that forces readers to deal with the pain in these lives, just as we often have to endure pain in the lives of friends and family members, or even in our own experience. Writing is never easy--it is hard work--and writing about gritty, rough, and uncomfortable circumstances, whether caused by one character or another, takes a kind of literary fortitude. This story never lets up and while the plot is not necessarily inspired--we all have endured the fall-out that mistakes force on us or those we love--it is important that we encounter characters such as these. I know that I have learned much from the important people in my life. But I must admit that good fiction has been as instructive, or perhaps more so, than all the "reality" lessons I have encountered.

So I hope if you have not already done so, you will get a copy of this novel and settle in for some unsettling reading--reading that will hopefully increase the "human quotient" in each of us. I give this novel a rating of 4.75 out of 5.


Shiloh Walker said...

wow... thank you. I'm still amazed by how many people enjoy this book.

Thanks for the review.

Tracy said...

Great review. The book sounds wonderful. It's hard to read romance when there's so much pain involved but it's so true to life in some instances that it does shed a little light on reality.

Erotic Horizon said...

Wonderful review hon..

This story is my benchmark story for Walker book's - it was totally perfect for me....

I love her angst- and like you I just could not look away from the oncoming traffic of hurt, sorrow and pain becasue I had to know who picked up the pieces if there was any pieces left to pick up....

A wonderful book....