Widowed at twenty-five, Sawyer Hartwell has no choice but to return to her hometown. Broke and alone, the intention was to heal and find herself again, but how can she heal in a place filled with so much sorrow and memories she yearns to forget?
Dean Preston has regretted leaving Willowhaven since the day he rode off on his motorcycle six years ago, destroying the only love he had ever known. Returning too late, he's found small comfort in a new life with Lily, but with Sawyer back he's not sure of anything anymore.
The time has come for Sawyer and Dean to face the past, to learn from their mistakes. The road to healing is paved with old wounds, each one threatening to tear them down completely. Carrying their own scars close to their hearts, they must both confront what's gone before or lose their second chance.
The measure of who we are is what we survive. Who we become is up to us.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Mindy Hayes grew up in San Diego, California exploring her interest for singing and playing the piano. She first discovered her passion for reading when she had to take her first flight alone to South Carolina to visit her then fiancé. Mindy's love for writing followed shortly after. She and her husband have now been married for six years and live in Summerville, South Carolina.
“I wake, rolling to my side and feel for Grayson on the other side of the bed. My hand reaches for his bare chest, but he’s not there. My eyes open, taking in my old bedroom and I remember. Remembering is the worst part. There’s a brief moment between sleeping and waking where Grayson lives. In those few perfect moments, he’s not gone. He’s alive, and he’s sleeping peacefully next to me. I roll back to my side of the bed and let the tears fall down my face, into my hair, wetting my pillowcase. My hand stays splayed on the empty sheet beside me, stroking the material as I imagine him there.” – Me After You
From the very first page you become invested in Sawyer’s story. She’s so broken and she has so many little moments that people can relate to. I love her as a protagonist. She can be dark and angsty sometimes but she’s healing. That’s the whole point of this story. It’s about healing and doing what you need to do to recover from a tragedy. And of course there are two men that she’s loved and lost who are melt-in-your-mouth perfect. There were a few moments where I just wanted to thank Mindy Hayes for writing such wonderful male protagonists. Yes, I count her former husband, Grayson, as a protagonist because he’s such an integral part of the story. Then there’s Dean. He’s a modern love story. He’s lovesick and desperate and lonely and so incredibly sweet to Sawyer (most of the time) that you will fall in love with him just as hard as she did.
It’s all thanks to Mindy Hayes’ beautiful writing style. I love her first person narrative. It’s so emotional and beautifully written. She has this incredible ability to create poetry through her words – especially when it comes to Dean and Sawyer. You're left yelling at the page: "you were so perfect together. What happened? There has to be a reason, I know there has to be a reason. Tell me your story." And she does. She tells a beautiful story about two people who need to heal and are drawn to each other even after so many years apart. It’s a fantastic love story.
And speaking of gushing, here are my random notes while reading:
- Such a sad opening. Two pages and I already want to hug Sawyer
- Oh my goodness I'm already in love with poor Grayson. Her memories of him are perfect. I want some hot chocolate
- And then there's Dean. I'll tell you more about him in a minute
- Sawyer is such a believable character in my mind. Mindy just bottled up all that relatable, emotional energy. Brava
- As far as first kisses go: I'm a tiny bit melting around the ankles. It was pretty sweet
- Ah small town life: makes for great gossip
- "My heart recognizes him" - I mean, how beautiful is that line
- Poor Dean is the love struck darling
- So many questions that need answers. Mindy makes sure you have to keep reading
- Poor Lily. I feel like I'm going to keep saying that about her
- You gotta love a girl who can get away with making death jokes about your best friend's dead husband
- Every group has a Josh
- Damn it, Dean. Stop being love sick and sweet
- I can already see the horrible disasters that shall arise. I can't wait
- Yup, you totally love Dean through Sawyer's eyes
- I give up: Dean and Sawyer are now a favourite couple of mine
- Oh right, there's still so much of the story we don't know. I love this pacing
- Poor Lily
- Less Poor Lily
- It's a dandelion and I'm a puddle
- There's something about Mindy's prose that makes me want to write love poems
- I'm gushing again, aren't I?
- Crap. *hugs character I didn't really expect to want to hug*
- One sentence and I'm scoffing at Alice for inadvertently creating more conflict
- Definitely less Poor Lily as I go through
- I do appreciate that Mindy is trying to do justice to the relationship that Dean and Lily have. It can't be easy for them
- I didn't think it was possible to love Dean more
- "Holy emo Preston, Batman."
- I can tell this is going to end badly and I already love it
- Aiden you're a hopeless, endearing little turd
- Josh's new leap into jerk-dom is unsurprising
- Poor Lily
- Dean just tugs at your heart strings like a freaking harp
- Excellent: sex fantasies. We're making progress
- Dean willing to give and Sawyer not giving in return is kind of bugging me
- Much better - ugh, so gooey
- Her change was sudden but natural - I'll grant you
- Miscommunication - the sincerest form of relationship issues
- Jesus, Dean, I already love you. Stop it, already
- If that's really the reason you did what you did, I'm going to kick your ass
- What the f*ck?
- Don't do it.
- Holy sh*t. I'm speechless - mostly
- Sweetie, that's sweet but kind of stalker-ish
- Oh wow, I really wasn't expecting that last bit
As I was finishing reading the Epilogue this song came on and I actually laughed out loud at how appropriate it was so as a little bonus here is a song that makes me think of Me After You.
And a giveaway...