The beginning of the story was the most cliche of all, but it gave the story a beautiful frame. Savannah is sitting with her soon to be married little sister Scarlet. Scarlet is reading an article on how to make sure the guy you're with is "the one" for you forever. What starts as random facts Scarlet is trying to see if apply to her relationship with her soon to be husband Trent becomes the exact frame - with most chapters having a title from this list. Savannah's love for Asher and him for her is something neither of them expected would happen but it did, with every sentence from that list crossed.
Savannah grew up in the small town of Danvers. But she dreamed big, wanting a career as an investigative reporter. She actually got what she wanted most, only to lose it horribly when she found out the HUGE story she wrote was a sham - the manipulative act done to her by her (ex)boyfriend. She runs back home, licking her wounds and trying to think HOW she could salvage her failing career. It seems the right kind of phone call is all she needs to start seeing a future again. It's not exactly her field.. she has to write a human "all American" story for the coming 4th of July. It takes her only a minute to realize she could talk to the "Hermit" living not far from her. He is suppose to be a war hero, someone who was part of this town before he enlisted and now, a Hermit no one has seen for 8 years besides Miss Potts who helps him around.
Asher has been on his own for years. His parents died when he was young so after he got hit by an IED losing a part of his arm and extensive injuries in his face he returns home to find the world outside has no use for him. Going once into town was enough to show him how people would treat him from now on so he decided to live as someone who isn't fit to live in the society should - as a Hermit. His days are mostly filled with working out / psychotherapy and reading anything and everything. He rather enjoys his life and his routine so when Savannah knocks on his door asking to interview him about his injury he isn't thrilled to say the least. He has no interest in interacting with the outside world, and yet, the beautiful Savannah intrigues him and Miss Potts encourages him to TRY and speak to her.
They agree to meet 3 days a week for an hour. But even after the second time it's obvious to both of them there is a connection between them that is more than a reporter and informant. When Savannah looks at him she sees a man, not just a man with a disability and disfigured face, but a MAN, a very special man. Asher sees a woman who actually SEES him, who he is, rather than who he looks like. She surprises him from the start with how much she is able to look past his looks but also with how she understand him, and how little she cares for the negative way he sees himself and what he can achieve (or rather, CAN'T) in life.
The romance between them was sweet and honest. I loved the way it progressed and I loved getting both of their POVs. Though they knew each other for a short while the time they spent together and the things they talked about brought them closer in a very unique way. I guess most people don't talk about such heavy stuff when they meet and since they kept talking about his past as she was writing the article she kept being throw into his personal life and exposing herself as well.
The article takes a different angle than she originally thought it would by the request of her editor. I'm not going to write about that because I feel I'll be giving away too much, I'll just say it has a huge impact on Savannah and how she considers what is happening between her and Asher.
I loved the family interaction between Savannah and her sister, I had them both in my mind a little bit like the TV show "Beauty and the Beast" with Kristin Kreuk and Jay Ryan though I gotta say I didn't see Asher as Jay, it was mostly Kristin Kreuk as Catherine and Nicole Gale Anderson who played her sister Heather. I also really enjoyed the "older" women with their "older wisdom" - Savannah's mother was so amazing, the kind of loving person who only sees the good in people. She was the only one in the family who approved right from the start of Savannah and Asher. I also loved Miss Potts to pieces! what a feisty woman! :) Miss Potts was Asher's grandmother best friend and his guardian though I don't think anyone would have ever guessed she will become his best friend, care taker, grand/mother and confidant. She is an extraordinary woman. Which is why I found myself running in my head a love story between her and Asher's doctor McCaffrey from Maryland (though I'm not sure if they are even close in age..).
The relationship Asher and Savannah builds heals them both. It teaches Asher he can look for more in life, he can do more than he expected to ever be able to, and it teaches Savannah a lot about herself and the things that matter most in life. Though the road was quite painful for the both of them, it ended as every fairy tale does - with a sweet Happily Ever After, and though these fairy tales tends to be more sticky than the regular romance HEA, the journey they both went through and who they came out in the end was absolutely beautiful.
I have just one issue with this book. It's silly and it doesn't even affect how MUCH I loved this book, and yet I can't ignore it.. When Savannah asks Asher about his name he explains it's a biblical name meaning "Happiness". Well, my native tongue is Hebrew, so though I don't remember Asher's background (besides he was one of the 12 original settlements) I AM certain his name does NOT mean Happiness. Osher means Happiness.
HIGHLY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. A beautiful love story, the sweetest fairy tale told in the most sensitive way possible :)
Additional Details: Kindle Ebook, 295 pages, 9-10 October 2015 / On GoodReads