May 102012

The Ninth Step by Barbara Taylor Sissel
Source: Review copy from author via Netgalley
Links: Amazon, Goodreads, Author’s website

Livie Saunders is fluent in the language of flowers; she taught the meanings to her fiancé, Cotton O’Dell, but then Cotton vanished without explanation on their wedding day forcing Livie to learn the language of desolation. Heartbroken, she buries her wedding gown beneath a garden pond and she resolves to move on, but there are nights when she slips . . . into a sequined red dress and a pair of stiletto heels, a stranger’s bed, a little anonymous oblivion that is not without consequence. Still, she recovers a semblance of ordinary life and imagines herself content. After all, Cotton told her to forget about him. Livie even maintains a friendship with Delia, Cotton’s mother, whom he also abandoned without a word of explanation.

Then, six years later, an unsigned card and a bouquet of irises signal Cotton’s presence, but his reunion with Livie isn’t as joyous as he had hoped. While she struggles to forgive him, Livie can’t hide her own past and how she has changed since Cotton left.

Meanwhile, Cotton is still haunted by the crime that caused him to flee…a crime for which the legal clock is still ticking. For a moment, it seems they can both forget the past and rebuild their lives together, but then Cotton goes missing again.

This was a very emotional and thought provoking read about forgiveness. How do you forgive yourself? How do you forgive others? Are there times when forgiveness should not be given?

The story also highlighted how childhood traumas and experiences can impact a person throughtout their entire life. You never really outgrow your past, it is always there affecting you. Everyone in the story dealt with their experiences differently, even with the events were similar or the same. It is quite remarkable for people can be very different from each other.

I loved the inclusion of flower language. It was subtle and intriguing, something I knew very little about. I found it added a little something to the story, but it a very sly and soft way. It felt very natural whenever one of the characters mentioned the language of flowers.

Overall, this is a great read that will have you thinking about it long after you are done reading.

Challenges read for:

2012 Ebook Challenge

2012 Self-Published Reading Challenge

  One Response to “The Ninth Step”

  1. Sounds interesting. I'm also intrgued by flower language. I think it's cool.

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