4.5 "Just One Date" Stars!
“It’s a heart. They always break at some point. Sooner or later someone will come along and shatter it anyway—might as well be you.”
is a stand-alone romance by Claire Contreras. This is a story about getting back up after life has thrown you a harsh curveball and ultimately gluing the broken pieces of yourself back together once again. It’s about second chances and jumping feet first into something you may have not been ready for previously. Ms. Contreras has penned a touching tale about two individuals who have to decide whether it is worth it to risk it all.
After experience the harsh reality of heart-ache and loss, twenty-five year old Estelle Reuben (a.k.a. Elle) is ready to start fresh and hopefully move forward with her life. The untimely loss of her husband has taught Elle that life is short and you need to live life to the fullest. It may have taken her one year to get to this point; however, that is what she is going to try and do as she moves on from such a devastating loss. Live her life. She’s a successful artist with her own studio, Paint It Back, and she is determined to find herself again. After all, this is not the first time that Elle has had to recover from heart-ache. She unfortunately has dealt with heartbreak previously and learned some hard lessons when it comes to love. What Elle is completely unprepared for is for the reemergence of the cause of her first heartbreak in her life.
Elle and Oliver have been in each other’s lives since a young age with Elle’s older brother, Vic, being the common thread between them. As they started to get older, Elle started to become more than just his best friend’s little sister to Oliver. However, she was always the forbidden fruit that Oliver was not allowed to pursue. There came a point where he no longer cared. He could not stay away from the beautiful innocence and allurement that was Elle. Oliver began to want things with Elle that he had never wanted before. But, real life and the pursuit of his dreams and ambitions were equally as alluring. Whatever was starting to blossom between them could not happen. After all, Oliver had to get his life in order and finish med school before he could think of anything else.
“I am scared. I’m fucking terrified of having Oliver in my life because the last time I let him in, I barely made it out with my heart intact. I wonder if he even knows it.”
With Oliver back in her life, Elle knows that she must keep her distance. Understanding how deep her feelings run for Oliver, she knows she would not emotionally survive if he were to leave her again. But, Oliver is in pursuit of what he claims he wants. And, that is her. Just like when she was younger, Elle is having a hard time keeping her distance and saying no to the seductive charmer. Oliver may be older but he is still very focused on his career as he is at the end of his residency and about to become a full-fledged doctor. Plus, the fact that she is still his best friend’s little sister and remains off limits is also a factor. They may no longer be their sixteen and nineteen year old selves; however, some things seem like they have remained unchanged.
“Everything can be falling apart, but in his arms, I’m whole.”
“We live in a galaxy of our own,” I whisper, kissing his earlobe. I smile when his breath quickens. “Where the storms pass, and the light fades, and everything ceases to exist except for us.”
This was such a heart-warming and emotional tale of love with two characters that found their way into my heart. I loved how Elle and Oliver slowly worked their way to a place where they were willing to take a second chance at what was between them. Elle may have taken a little longer than Oliver to be on the same page as him; however, I did understand her hesitancy. After all, I would also be cautious in her shoes. With this being said, Oliver was one determined fellow and Elle did not stand a chance against that steely resolve.
This was a beautifully crafted tale that took us into the past as well as focused on the present. I loved how Ms. Contreras gave us a sense of what Oliver and Elle were like as teens and how their young and fragile relationship blossomed and then abruptly ended. Elle was always someone that made Oliver what to step away from his carefully planned out life plan. Even as an adult, he had no idea how to handle the intensity of his feelings for her. It simply made him all the more endearing to me. As for Elle, I loved how selfless and compassionate she was. She had so much love to give and she was such a free spirit. Oliver just had to prove that he was worthy.
All in all, Kaleidoscope Hearts
was a gorgeous stand-alone romance. This may have been a story that focused on the love between Elle and Oliver; however, there was so much more depth to this tale than a simple love story. We all experience love and heart-ache throughout our lives. We all find ourselves having to pick up the pieces at some point and attempting to put it all back together once again. What such a journey should teach us is that there is beauty in brokenness. It is in our fragility and struggles that we can emerge even stronger. Just because there are a few flaws and cracks along the way, does not mean that the shattered pieces cannot be made again whole again.
“Every second counts. Live in this moment. This is life. This is what matters.”
****An advance reading copy of Kaleidoscope Hearts by Claire Contreras was generously provided to me in exchange for an honest review.