4.5 "Star Light, Star Bright" Stars!
Starless Nights is the second book in Kathryn Andrews’ Hale Brothers series. I was very much looking forward to reading this book considering the fact that I loved the first book in this series about the eldest Hale brother. Well, this author delivered in spades and this second installment to the series was every bit as emotional and enthralling as its predecessor. With a fluid, effortless and engaging style, this author has penned a tale about how one incident can change the course of the lives of two friends never giving them the chance to try and figure out exactly what went wrong, allowing numerous misunderstandings to determine the path they followed.
We meet Beau Hale, the middle Hale brother, in the first book. He came across as this carefree individual with very little cares in the world, someone who was always cracking a joke and making people smile. This Beau was simply a façade for the world to see. The real Beau Hale is broken and can’t seem to escape the haunting memories that often bring him to his knees. Growing up with an abusive father has left many emotional scars that Beau is constantly dealing with; however, losing his best friend and the girl who has always held his heart has been earth shattering for Beau. The little girl who used to star gaze with him is no longer someone he remembers fondly. So many broken memories.
Leila Starling moved to Anna Maria Island when she was a young girl, just eight years old. There she befriended a little boy who became her best friend and confidant. For six years they were inseparable doing everything with one another. They were childhood best friends, their relationship a depiction of love, purity, and innocence. Until, one day it wasn’t. Somewhere along the way things went so very wrong between Leila and Beau. Circumstances beyond their control and misunderstandings a plenty re-routed their childhood friendship and turned the sweetness of all that they shared into something bitter and damaging.
This story begins with Beau about to start college in New York City. He is following his dreams and is attending Columbia University to play tennis. His older brother, Drew, and his girlfriend, along with Leila, have already been there for one year. Leila is pursuing her dreams of becoming a fashion designer and is attending a prestigious school. Beau and Leila have not seen each other for over a year, essentially since Leila moved away for college. When they run into one another old feelings come rushing forward. Both Leila and Beau marked each other profoundly, leaving both painful scars and bittersweet memories in their wake. The cherished friendship they once shared is but a distant memory with both of them not really fully understanding what went wrong between them and left wondering why.
This book is written in dual POVs and seamlessly moves from the present to giving us snippets of the past. It was intricately weaved together and as the pieces slowly start to come together you begin to see just how much has come between Beau and Leila, just how truly complex matters are. One crucial and tragic event had a domino effect leaving pain and destruction in its path. We slowly learn what occurred to rip Beau and Leila apart and when the full picture is complete my heart ached for both of them. I will admit when I started reading this book I did get frustrated with Beau and Leila. They were not communicating nor were they attempting to hash out exactly what happened. However, as the story unfolded I began to understand all that they went through and I was riveted. This author did an amazing job drawing me in. I could literally feel the pain, torment, love and confusion Beau and Leila were experiencing radiating off the pages. It was excruciating at times but this is also a story full of hope and second chances.
All in all, Starless Nights is yet another wonderfully written story by Kathryn Andrews. This is a story about two emotionally scarred individuals who simply can’t let each other go. No matter the years they spent apart or the deep hurt they have caused one another the love they share is profound and not easily set aside. It is about two people who were living a life experience nothing but dark and starless nights to once again being able to bask in the beauty of the starlight.
*****A review copy of Starless Nights by Kathryn Andrews was generously provided to me in exchange for an honest review.