From the #1 bestselling author of the beloved Calendar Girl books comes the first in a witty, wise and emotionally compelling new series, where coming home is just the beginning… “Fly free.” For ten years those words, written on pink parchment paper in her mother’s...
Sometimes a book comes along that is so raw, so good, you have no choice but to sing its praises. For me, that book is The Love That Hurts by Nicole Strycharz.
I have a strong stomach. Those closest to me can attest that I can be as tough as nails. So, when I read a book like this one and find myself sobbing irrationally within the first few paragraphs, well, I can safely say that I may have bitten off more than I can chew.
“I’m doing this because I love you…” the words that set their story in motion.
Josefina and Ridge’s story begins “On the Day of the Dead,” how darkly and forbiddingly appropriate. Their first meeting is as most of the story goes…intense and frightening with the sense that you’re about to fall over the edge of a cliff with nothing to grab on to for safety.
The writing is lush, atmospheric and deep. It almost feels as if you’ve just spotted an oasis in the middle of a desert that you’ve been travelling for weeks. You can’t help but rush over to it and dip your toes in only to realize too late that it was a mirage and you’re in quicksand. With every chapter, every offense committed in the name of “love”, you find yourself sinking deeper and deeper into its pull. At first if feels like you can easily drag yourself free, but soon you are struggling, panicked because you know you’re going under. You know the quicksand is taking you and you can only succumb to it.
Ms. Strycharz is a magician of words. She skillfully takes one of the most difficult situations anyone could endure and navigates its dark waters with sheer perfection. I won’t lie to you; this book in NOT for the faint of heart. Her portrayal of domestic abuse is so frank and brash it is difficult to read at times without cringing or curling into oneself. It is so heartbreaking you want to scream, cry, hurl expletives at the wind, anything that might help you cope, but that quicksand is still sucking you down. The writing is so deceptive in its beauty that you can’t help but WANT your heart to break over and over, and trust me, it WILL break. The characters are so real and raw that once the story comes to an end you feel as though you have suffered a tremendous loss with them.
I hope I haven’t deterred you from buying this book. That was not my intention. But please, do know what you’re getting into. The trigger warnings are there for a reason. However, if you are brave enough to dive in, it will be worth every beautiful, terrible, seductive, heartbreaking word, I promise.
This isn’t Ms. Strycharz first foray into difficult topics like domestic abuse. With books like The Divorce, The Friend-Zone, The Co-Parent, she circumnavigates these topics like a veteran. Her Relationship-Quo Series is all about human emotion which she writes like no other. Each story is a testament to family, the depths of the human heart and highs and lows of every relationship you could possibly think of. As an indie author, her talent shines as bright as a star. So, if you’re looking for something that will tug at your heartstrings, make you laugh, yearn, or ugly cry (because you most certainly will), pick up one of her books and give it a shot. I recommend you begin with the first in the series, The Divorce.
When I started reading The Divorce for the first time, it came at a time in my life that had me feeling particularly sensitive. Jenzy was me. Everything she stood for, everything she did or said…was me. I related to her in a way that I don’t think I ever have with other characters. And Chris, despite being the biggest jerk ever, don’t we all want a Chris?
The story was like eating a piece of cake that’s far too rich. You take the first bite and you’re in heaven, the second bite is just as good, but by the third and fourth bite your throat is aching and your teeth are quivering from the sugary sweet richness that it’s almost unbearable to take another bite! But I was the fat kid who loves cake….so I stuffed the entire thing in my mouth and went to town.
All of Ms. Strycharz books are like this. Believable, relatable characters and ALL the feels. Please, do yourself a favor and pick up one of her AMAZING books today. You absolutely won’t regret a moment of it.
NICOLE STRYCHARZ – RELATIONSHIP-QUO SERIES READING ORDER
THE DIVORCE – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01FYR0DZU
THE FRIEND-ZONE – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MCX15BN
THE CO-PARENT – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06W9F3JQQ
THE SIGNIFICANT OTHER – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B071174N58
THE AFFAIR – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07T1DVS3T
THE LOVE THAT HURTS – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07XWVKB3Y