Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Winter Blues- Jade Goodmore


Winter Blues is not a story of a love beginning, but a love surviving. It’s a story of imperfections and frustrations. A story that’s rarely told but often lived. A sometimes unpretty story, but then real stories normally are...

Away from all that they know, all that brought them together, Darlene and Reid find the only troubles their marriage has ever faced in their new home of Chicago. They find a test of loyalties, of strength, of love, when all that they expected to find was their happy ever after.

Where Reid finds their new life a breeze, Darlene finds it a storm. Reid powers ahead in his new publishing job, reveling in his success while he fails at home. Darlene is jobless, friendless, and increasingly Reid-less; trapped in a perpetual winter when all she craves is the warmth she’s grown accustomed to.

She finds comfort in music that has been such a huge part of her life, eventually performing at a local bar and striking up a friendship with its owner. That friendship threatens to expand into something more when everything Darlene is lacking in their marriage is offered to her in the form of the irresistible Blue.

Will she deny the consequences and accept him? Or will Reid fight the odds and find a way to recharge their relationship?

Happy ever afters are for fairytales...



Reviewed by Heather

…instead of fighting for our relationship it feels like we are simply accepting its decline.

Darlene and Reid are in a very rocky place. Reid got a new job and they moved across the country for a better life.  Things didn’t quite turn out as expected for Darlene.  She has no friends, has not been able to find a job, and her husband is always at work.  Darlene is sinking deeper and deeper into a depression.  Reid is clueless!  He doesn’t realize or refuses to see just how badly his wife is coping with this move and carries on with his life, business as usual.

Darlene tries to find her own happiness.  She starts playing music again, which has always been a huge part of her life and befriends the owner of the bar she is playing at.  Blue appreciates her music and provides the friendship and attention that she has been lacking for so long.  And here is where things really start to spiral out of control.  I’m sure you can see where this is going and it is no secret that this friendship leads to something more.  Will it mean the end of their marriage?

To feel loved is the richest feeling in the world, but when that love is taken away it takes much more than it ever gave.  It takes a part of who you are.

Darlene is losing herself.  She hates the person she is becoming but can’t seem to stop it.  Blue fancies himself in love with her and Reid... well he just may be too late.

If I was his friend I’d slap him on the back.  If it wasn’t my wife he was confessing his love to I’d congratulate him on his huge balls.  If I wasn’t scared to death that his subtle declaration was working I’d admire his creativity.  As it happens, I want to take his guitar and crush it into his skull.  Repeatedly. ~Reid

Winter Blues is not an easy read.  I would compare it in many ways to Thoughtless or Arsen.  If you enjoyed either of those books then I believe you will love this one as well.  Winter Blues dissects a marriage falling apart.  You can easily see the faults in both parties and how simple communication could have saved a lot of hurt.  It is a book that will make you wish you could jump inside and shake or slap some sense into these characters.  It is a book that has made me appreciate my own marriage and it is a reminder to never take that for granted. 

The only thing keeping Winter Blues from being a 5 star read for me are a few of the choices that Darlene makes, especially the one at the end of the book.  You will have to read it to find out what that choice was!  If you are like me and enjoy a book that ties you in knots and makes you FEEL then this is the book for you!  Jade is an excellent writer.  I seriously wanted to quote half of the book.  But, I won’t spoil it for you.  You need to read!  The very first chapter was genius and had me HOOKED.  Read it below!

Love is easy, marriage is hard, but trust?  Trust is the hardest.

Chapter 1

The room around us is buzzing with life and yet it’s the silence at our table that is deafening. We sit here as perfect strangers while the restaurant is teaming with spellbound couples. The delectable food and sweet surroundings do nothing to warm the chill that resonates between us, me and my date, Reid. There is no chemistry. Sure, he’s good looking, definitely good looking, but there’s only so much admiring I can do before it becomes awkward, right? Wrong. There’s not even enough of a connection between us for it to be awkward. He’s barely looked at me all night, let alone smiled or dared to indulge me in conversation.

“A rose for the lovely lady?” an aging man with a soft, French accent asks. He’s carrying a basket of individually wrapped flowers and watching Reid for a response. With a subtle shake of Reid’s head the man is excused and walks away apologetically.

Surprised by his lack of romance, and annoyed, I down the last of my wine. I can’t bear to eat anymore but my plate is practically full, so using my fork I slide the food from side to side in a bid to look interested.

The quiet between us is broken by the sound of his phone ringing from his pocket for the fourth time in the last hour. “I’m sorry, I should take this,” he says, at least having the decency to look embarrassed. I nod politely while biting my tongue. Literally. It doesn’t hurt. It’s numb from all the wine I’ve drank. Yet, even through a drunken haze I can see how pitiful this evening is.

As I watch Reid walk off to take his call I wonder why he even asked me to come tonight. I could have felt this shitty at home, but at least I’d have felt shitty in the comfort of my pajamas. I’ve made such an effort; lacy underwear, killer heels and a little black dress so unlike me. The natural curl of my long dark hair has been accentuated and my overly large blue eyes have a smoky silhouette. Why? To please a man that has turned up straight from work, briefcase and glasses included.

Filling our glasses with even more wine, I concede that there’s still time to turn this date around. It could go one of two ways; either I finish up early and admit defeat or I persevere and salvage the date, maybe even getting lucky. I guess I owe it to myself to try, I mean, it has been a really long time.

On his return I adopt my sweetest smile and he returns it, even if he does look a little bewildered. “Work,” he says by way of explanation.

“I gathered,” I reply, working harder than I should to hide my bitterness.

“So,” he begins, slipping his legs under the table and picking up his knife and fork again. “How’s the food?” He’s looking at my full yet muddled plate.

“Nice, I’m just not very hungry.”

“But the wine’s good?” he asks, looking pointedly at the empty bottle beside us.

Meow, Mr. Daley.

“The wine is excellent and very much appreciated.”

“Good.” He smiles a Hollywood smile. Hollywood, as in big and fake. He gets stuck into his food and I resume pretending to eat mine.

While he finishes I take a moment to appreciate the room around us. It really is enchanting. White drapes hang low from the ceiling, matching the crisp, linen table cloths and floral arrangements before us. Classical music hums softly in the background, synchronizing perfectly with the dim light of the candles to ‘romancify’ the restaurant. Couples around us are taking advantage of the sweet decor and atmosphere, besotted with each other, kissing and holding hands. I almost feel embarrassed to be this far detached from Reid. Why did he have to bring me here of all places?

We’re forty floors up and the amazing view has been a good distraction from the difficulty of the date. I can see the South Loop of Chicago spread out before me, grand but contained within the iron-framed window. It looks like a piece of contemporary art.

“Good, huh?” Reid mumbles, his leaf green eyes following my own. I hum in agreement. “Maybe we should take a trip to Willis Tower sometime. The view there’s meant to be pretty amazing.”

Another date? Because this one is going so well.

“Yeah, maybe.”

After several moments of unease Reid puts his cutlery down. “Are you finished?” he asks. I nod, declining dessert or coffee, so he requests the check to pay. We stand to leave and he politely offers me his arm, which I dutifully accept.

“Happy anniversary, Darlene,” he says, kissing me lightly on the cheek. “Here’s to the next five years...”

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