Short & Sweet Review: Breathe by Donna Alward

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Samhain Publishing Ltd.
Hero: Jace Willow
Heroine: Anna Morelli
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: November 2, 2010
Started On: November 5, 2010
Finished On: November 5, 2010

Though I have never tried any of Donna Alward’s books, I have had her title Sold to the Highest Bidder in my TBR pile for quite sometime now. And whilst I was browsing through Samhain Publisher’s website last month looking for new releases (not that I don’t have enough books to be read already), I found myself interested in this story and have been looking forward to its release since then. And I have got to say I am quietly impressed on all fronts with this story as it delivers what it promises and more with this quick page turner which I loved from the start to finish.

The Hero: Jace Willow, now owner of the Two Willows Winery grew up dirt poor with two parents who had always struggled to make ends meet and to provide for him the best they could. When Jace’s father is hired by the rich Italian Roberto Morelli to look after his stables, Jace lives vicariously through his children Alex and Anna Morelli who live a life of luxury that Jace can only dream about. Roberto had always made Jace feel that he would never be good enough and that resentment alone was enough for Jace to equal happiness with being successful and being able to provide for his family all the little as well as extravagant luxuries in life. Alex had been his best friend whilst Anna had been close as well but she had always meant something more to Jace until the summer that everything changes between them.

The Heroine: Anna Morelli had grown up feeling cossetted and stifled with expectations from her rigid and controlling father all her life. Anna’s mother had walked out on them when she had been quite young and it had been Alex who had being her savior back then. But when Jace had come along, Anna’s world had revolved around Jace and a friendship that was frowned upon by her father had bloomed into something much more the summer when Anna had barely turned 18. But when Jace leaves her to pursue his dreams of getting rich and making a name for himself, Anna does the one thing that she regrets more than anything else in her life. She ups and marries her father approved Stefano for whom she bears her two adorable children Matteo and Aurelia.

Storyline: When Stefano dies leaving Anna a widow with two children in his wake, the role of the grieving widow that she is forced to play when grief is the furthest thing from what she is feeling makes Anna run towards the one man she knows that she can count on. Jace is taken aback to find his beautiful Anna, the one woman whom Jace would lay down his life for at his winery with her two children looking for a place to regroup from all that had happened to Anna till now. Resentments that Jace had long since thought buried come to the surface making a situation fraught with tension that much harder to deal with making this story one of the most angst filled reads I have read of late – a fact which I loved.

The First Encounter: There is no mention of how or what happened when Anna and Jace had first met each other. But rather there are flashbacks and memories of a past that had built a strong and everlasting bond between two people who are definitely two halves of one soul.

Time period: This story has a contemporary setting and takes place in Canada.

Awareness between the hero and heroine: Though the sexual zing between Anna and Jace doesn’t take center stage in the story, nevertheless its subtlety makes the read one worth sinking into. With flashbacks into a time when the only thing that had mattered to both Jace and Anna had been each other, the awareness between Anna and Jace never ceases all throughout the story.

The turning point: Though at first Jace resents having his life intruded upon by the love of his life and her two children when Jace had been one who was adamant on the fact that he doesn’t want children, the move into his house and the close proximity between all of them proves to be Jace’s undoing. The deep hurt, resentment and anger that Jace had stored up all through the years reach its culmination and the healing process begins as a result of which Jace and Anna get a chance to make their love work, a second time round.

Ending: Jace and Anna get their happily ever after and a beautifully done epilogue had me satisfied on all ends by the time the story was through.

Likes: I loved all the characters within the story. Jace who had been hurt so bad when Anna had married another, who still opens up his door for the woman he loves more than anything in his life, who has a twisted vision of what is actually important in life was one of the best things about this story. Anna too drew me into her character, made me sympathize with what she had gone through and I loved her for the fact that she reaches out to Jace whose wounds are festering on the inside and had enough courage to face whatever it was that kept them from communicating truthfully with each other. And I just adored both Matteo and Aurelia who just invaded right into my heart right from the very first moment. The title is so very appropriate for the story such that there was so much emotion packed into it that I forgot to breathe at times or tended to hold my breathe in as two people who are definitely made for one another tried in their own ways to show the other that nothing means more to them than making the other happy.

Dislikes: None.

Recommended for: Those who love a romance that has so much emotion packed into it that you cannot help but hold your breathe in hoping against hope that the hero and heroine gets their happily ever after – and soon before you pass out!

Favorite Quotes

“Matteo, you’re in charge of helping your sister.” Jace issued the instruction while Anna stared in surprise. He handed them a plate with crackers, tiny pieces of cheese, and baby-sized pieces of proscuitto. He fixed a similar plate for Anna, only in adult proportions, and then one for himself.
It was simple. It was perfect.
A flurry behind them announced a family of loons taking off from the river. Matteo pointed at them with a finger and Aurelia’s mouth made an “O” in response. Jace looked at Anna and smiled.
And damn near broke her heart.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard | Kobo | Samhain


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