Release date: December 5, 2017
Publisher: Lake Union
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Something has been asleep in forty-year-old cattle rancher Aiden Delacorte for a long time. It all comes back in a rush during a hunting trip, when he’s suddenly attuned to the animals around him, feeling their pain and fear as if it were his own. But the newfound sensitivity of Aiden’s “wake up” has its price. He can no longer sleepwalk through life, holding everyone at arm’s length. As he struggles to cope with a trait he’s buried since childhood, Aiden falls in love with Gwen, a single mother whose young son bears a burden of his own.
Sullen and broken from his experiences with an abusive father, Milo has turned to acting out in violent and rebellious ways. Aiden can feel the boy’s pain, as well as that of his victims. Now he and Milo must sift through their pasts to find empathy with the innocent as well as the guilty, to come to terms with their deepest fears, and to finally discover the compassionate heart of a family.
There is a certain type of magic in every single Catherine Ryan Hyde book that I’ve read, an underlying feeling of hope that always restores my faith in humanity and leaves me feeling good about the world. It’s odd too, because she’s not afraid to tackle some tough issues that on the surface would seem dark, but the way she handles these issues makes you think, but also leaves you feeling sated.
Aiden is an empath, in case you’re like me and don’t know exactly what that means, it’s that he feels deeper than people normally do and in his extreme case, he actually takes on the feelings of animals. It all starts when he’s forty, he’s hunting as he’s done a hundred times before, but this time he can feel the deers pain, anxiety and fear exactly as if it’s his pain, anxiety and fear. He’s an highly complex character and the “Wake Up” that he experiences is tender, insightful and just so beautiful.
I always say the authors books are effortless reads and I’m going to have to say that again now because there truly isn’t another appropriate way to describe it. They’re more than a page turner, you feel like a dear friend is chatting to you, there’s an intimate quality to her writing style that really speaks to me. This was emotional without leaving you feeling emotionally drained which I think is a tricky thing to master.
I want to mention that there is some animal abuse, more accurately the mistreatment of animals here. But you need to know that the author is a huge animal lover and they always play a role in her books so there is nothing highly graphic and I promise you that it is really important to the storyline and totally necessary.
Overall rating: 5/5
Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.