Friday, December 12, 2014

The Ever After of Ella and Micha (The Secret #4) by Jessica Sorensen

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From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Temptation of Lila and Ethan comes a story of change, hope, and unbreakable vows.

The day Ella has waited for is just around the corner. It's the day she'll marry Micha, the love of her life, the light that guided her out of the darkness. It looks like it will be the perfect Christmas-until an unexpected package arrives with a harsh reminder of Ella's past. Suddenly Ella doesn't feel as confident about her future. Can she really have a "happily-ever-after" if she's never even seen one?

Micha will stand by Ella no matter what she's going through-though he worries that she might leave him standing at the altar again. When he's offered a once-in-a-lifetime chance to tour with his favorite bands for three months, Micha knows he can't leave Ella behind. But can he ask her to uproot her life to join him on the road?

Now Ella and Micha must find a way to balance their fears, their dreams, and their love . . . if they ever want to hear wedding bells.

Christmas came early for me! Of all of Sorensen’s titles, this series is my favourite (The Coincidence coming a close second) and with the way the previous book ended, I was desperately hoping for a happy ending for Ella and Micha.

I’ll try not to have too much spoilery here – at the end of The Forever of Ella and Micha, he was left waiting for her on the beach on the day of their wedding. She didn’t show up and Micha got into a panic as Ella has a history of running away. Ever After picks up from that point with Micha finding Ella in their house in tears because she realizes that as much as she wants to marry him, she also wants their dysfunctional families to be present. Micha is definitely relieved and also so willing to giving her what she wants, what she needs. They along with their friends Lila and Ethan make the road trip back home not knowing exactly what they’ll find, but hoping that being with their families brings some sort of comfort.

As I read Ever After, the one thing that kept running through my mind was how much patience Micha has for Ella. She’s constantly struggling with all her insecurities and pain. Coming home may have been her idea but it’s still a scary prospect for her to have to face where she came from - a very unhappy home life that included a mentally ill mother and a drunk father.  Micha himself doesn’t have very many good memories but the good ones are all centered around Ella.  The homecoming becomes more tense when a box containing her mother's journals is delivered to Ella from her grandmother. Ella starts reading them in hopes of understanding her better so she can get closer to the person her mother used to be. As she reads the journals, she worries it could drag her to a very dark place. But what’s hopeful this time is that Ella doesn’t shut Micha out completely, trusting him enough to confide in him. The last thing Micha wants is to have her shut down so he gently encourages her but never pushes her. Between flashbacks and breakthroughs, it’s comforting to see Ella become braver about expressing her thoughts and feelings. The flashbacks also show for just how long Micha has loved her and wanted to protect her.
Ella and Micha didn’t have the most ideal situation growing up. Yet they’ve both managed to carve out a path for themselves away from their painful past. This new path consists of trust, healing, support and most importantly, unconditional love. They don’t have it all figured out – who does? But they’re doing creating their life their way and they’re doing this together.

Anyone who has read Sorensen’s books knows full well that there’s a lot of angst, loss, and upheaval. On the flip side, there’s also passion and that tiny little glimmer of hope that expands as her characters push through. That’s exactly what she has delivered here. If you’re new to her writing, welcome and enjoy the crazy ride!

~ Bel

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