Genres: Coming of Age, New Adult, Young Adult
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Two names that didn't belong to us. Two shoes that did.
Intense and introspective, seventeen-year-old Hawthorne Macy knows all about being abandoned. She's felt the stark pain of being left behind by the people who are supposed to love her the most; her parents. Raised by her caring uncle on an old plantation, Hawthorne lives her life on the fringes of her small Southern town.
Until she meets his shoe.
Senior year, last period English class, and a pair of silent tennis shoes resting next to hers in the back of the room throws Hawthorne into a world she'd learned to stay outside of.
His name is Max Vincent, but in her mind, heÔÇÖs Heathcliff. The handsome eighteen-year-old boy behind the shoes will pull Hawthorne into a passionate and unforgettable adventure of self-discovery during a time when love seems impossible.
Shoes can tell a lot about a person. The journey they take you on can tell a lot about how they'll hold up.
You know one of those books that doesn’t necessitate big drama to be amazing? One of those stories so developed and characters who are so poignant that even though months have passed, they have taken up residence in your heart and mind? Yeah, this book is one of those rare finds. I stumbled upon this book by happenstance, and am thankful for my browsing that day.
What did I love most about this book? I’m not sure I can choose. Could it be the amazing spirit of Uncle Gregor and his extraordinary love for his niece? (Seriously, this man is truly incredible and would be a literary figure I wish I could meet in real life). Could it be the young Hawthorne & Heathcliff who discover each other and love? Or could it be the grown up versions of these beautiful souls, Max and Clare? If you answered all of the above, you would be correct.
The beauty of this story is that it is real with ALL OF THE FEELS but none of the unnecessary drama. You grow and cry with them. Their heartache is yours. The writing and story wrap you up in a warm blanket, snuggling you close as your heart breaks and wiping away your tears. It’s beautifully tragic and beautifully real. Add in a startling wit and insight, and I’m not sure you’ll ever be the same. I’m certainly changed by the story.
You only commit to shoes?
Faces leave. Shoes walk away. You learn a lot about people by what they wear on their feet. I’d rather see what’s going to leave that what I’d miss if it left.
And if the shoes don’t walk away?
Then the face matters once it’s earned.
Even after all these months, the imagery of shoes by the door and what they represent still sticks with me. The story slowly seeps into your pores and stays with you. The characters are so beautifully written, you have to remind yourself they are fictional (but not really). I think they’ll always remain with me, in my heart. This book is on my must re-read, long TBR be damned.
Do yourself a favor. Go stumble upon this book and author. For my sake.
~Review by Loredana
“Hawthorne and Heathcliff” by R.K. Ryals has tugged at my heartstrings until they broke, leaving nothing but an emotional, ugly-crying mess behind.
The amazing thing is that the author did that without pulling out the emotional sledgehammer like so many others do these days.
There was no over-the-top drama.
Instead R.K. Ryals was chipping away at my heart with a pickax – page after page until I was drowning in my own tears.
Not because the book is just sad and filled with heart-break. It has that too, but it’s also sweet and heart-warming and deeply touching. Once the tears snuck up on me they didn’t leave anymore. And there were all kinds of tears – happy, sad, melancholic, angry, heart-broken.
The subtlety with which the story evoked all those emotion in me really impressed me. I felt everything the characters were feeling, plus my own emotions on behalf of Hawthorne and Heathcliff.
It was impossible not to get swept up in their story and not to get attached to them. By no means were they perfect, but their flaws made them real and relatable. I couldn’t help but love both characters.
Both a little broken, they were wise beyond their years, exhibiting an understanding for life and each other that left me in awe.
Hawthorne was a young woman whose life fell to pieces when she was a little girl. The only person she could ever count on was her uncle Gregor. Having only him, she didn’t trust others and didn’t let them in, effectively closing herself off. This has made her an outcast, a girl considered a freak by many. Her solitude didn’t mean she was unhappy or unable to s
how emotions though. She just focused it all on her uncle. She was smart and insightful, bordering on philosophical. Her musings were not only entertaining but have given me food for thought.
But despite all the love from her uncle and her rich inner world, her life was limited by the fears that festered inside of her.
Fears that Heathcliff was hell-bent on conquering. Though he was a popular guy, he wasn’t a jock or meathead. Instead, he was thoughtful and sensitive, with an adventurous and fun-loving streak. He was exactly the person Hawthorne needed. He was the one to wake her up and make her live her life to the fullest – with all its ups and downs. With all the heartbreak and happiness.
And he did it in a time when she needed it the most.
But it wasn’t just him changing her life. She did the same for him, encouraging him to be who he wanted to be and to follow his heart. Even if it meant his heart would lead him away from her.
Their dynamics were realistic and riveting. There were no grand gestures – no trips to the Eiffel tower, no proposal jumping from a plane. It was the little things that made what they had so special. Little things that made their feelings for each other tangible. The things that get easily overlooked in the search for romance.
But Hawthorne and Heathcliff both noticed them and felt them. It was the small things that made the biggest impact on their lives.
Their relationship was cute and at the same time passionate. It was tender and loving. But also clumsy, yet romantic. And it was deep and profound. It was real love.
But until the end it was unclear – for them and for me – if the connection they shared would prevail through the challenges and years ahead of them. It nearly wrecked me. But it was more than worth it.
Beautiful, philosophical and touching.
6 in-love-with-Hawthorne-and-Heathcliff stars.
~Review by Paula