Shattered Rose, by Tammy L. Gray

Shattered Rose (Winsor #1)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

BOOK DESCRIPTION:  When obsession and love blend, and darkness consumes the mind and spirit, is it even possible to recognize the light? 

Set in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, nineteen-year-old Avery Nichols embarks on a journey of love, loss and recognition that perfection is often an illusion. She gives all she has to the one man who cannot love her back, but still refuses let her go. Now another fights to give her everything she doesn’t believe she deserves. 

Jake is complicated and damaged, fighting to find his way after the loss of his mother, and despite his every attempt to stop it, Avery gets behind his defenses and forces him to feel once again. He doesn’t want to love her, but can’t let her go. Parker is genuine, honest, and falls for Avery the moment he sees her. He wants nothing more than to love her, if she would only let him.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  T.L. Gray is a freelance writer who also serves as the pastor’s wife at Tabernacle Baptist Church in Ennis, Texas. It was her desire to see young girls know and experience Christ’s unconditional love that led her to write her debut novel, Shattered Rose. She strongly believes that sometimes the greatest stories are told from the heart of those who have lived them.

SERIES: Winsor Series, Book 1  (Book 2, Shackled Lily, is set for release in July, 2013.)

MY THOUGHTS:  Unfortunately, this story is all too often truth instead of fiction, happening in the daily lives of girls who struggle to strike a balance between love and obsession, between healthy choices and dangerous fixations.  I recognize so many people in the pages of the book, so many real faces that are caught up in the destructive cycle Avery faces.

In this way, the book becomes not only a great read that draws you in and makes you want to yell at the characters to make certain decisions, but it also becomes a beacon of hope to those desperately lost in a long dark tunnel that twists and turns and winds back around to where it started.

The descriptions of Avery's thoughts and reasoning as she battles her eating disorder and obsessive relationship give us a raw look at the labyrinth she's running through.  Every choice is a crossroads, and rooting for her to take the right path is unavoidable.  She's the girl-next-door who needs someone to believe in her, someone to throw her a lifeline and introduce her to the One Person who can clear up her confusion by grabbing her hand and walking her out of the dark maze.  But will she open up to that possibility or continue down the self-destructive path that seems so much easier to take?

Anyone who works with girls or young women should read this book, not only to gain sensitivity to that girl everyone knows who just won't stop making bad choices, but also to be reminded of the difference simply reaching out and showing unconditional love can make in someone's life.

I found this book enthralling, and I loved the author's style.  Her passion for sharing truth with women shows through in her writing and in the video below.  I look forward to reading the second book in this series, which seems to spin off of one of the minor characters.  Keep 'em coming, Mrs. Gray!  You've gained a fan!

PARENTAL RATING:  I consider this a strong PG-13, but I need to emphasize that the G does stand for guidance--you moms and aunts will want to read this one first.  It's brutally honest about the reality of eating disorders and obsession, with some spicy details about how far sexual attraction can go.  The author didn't cross any lines in terms of the details, but use your judgment about whether or not it's too much for your teen.

**I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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