Long Way HomeTitle:  Long Way Home
Series:  Mangrove Island (Book 1)
Author:  Neve Cottrell
Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Published:  October 19, 2014
Publisher:  Tropic Turtle Press
My Rating:  5 Stars
Source:  Personal collection, Amazon Free
Synopsis:

Tyler Barnes can’t believe his eyes when Alexis MacAdams walks back into his life. His high school crush left Mangrove Island seventeen years ago and never looked back. He’s held on to the memory of her, even though she never gave him a second glance.

Now Alexis is back for the holidays and Tyler is determined to make a lasting impression before she slips away again. He soon learns, however, that her broken heart needs to heal before he has a chance to win it. Can Tyler convince her to risk her heart for a second time?

Read on for my thoughts on Long Way Home.  No true spoilers, promise

Alexis left home right after high school graduation.  She hasn’t looked back for seventeen long years.

Life doesn’t always turn out the way we expect it to.  Alexis learned that lesson well.  While she may have moved an ocean away from her family, her roots – she still decided to return home when her world fell apart.  She didn’t expect her parents or her sister to understand her any better now than they had on the day she left the island.  They had never really understood her.  She was the brainy, never content, always knew better than anyone else child that they once knew.  And still was in their eyes.  She was cold.  And aloof.  And so scared.  But she wouldn’t let her family see her emotions or how their reaction to her still hurt after all these years.

Tyler had never left the island.  His music was still his second love, and he still played guitar and sang at several bars in the area.  He tended bar, played his music and for the most part had a good life.  But his first and only love was Alexis.  Oh, she never looked twice at him during their high school years.  And his king-sized teen crush made him the brunt of many jokes.  But, there it was, he loved her and always would.  No other woman had ever come close to the place she had, unknowing, in his heart.

He couldn’t believe it.  Here she was, right in the bar he was bartending that night.  Still as beautiful, still as aloof, still his love.

I wasn’t expecting this novel.  I was expecting something light, easy reading, fun — I wasn’t expecting a story that tore at my heart like this one did.  And I’m so very glad that I picked up this novel for the Free Monday Pick Feature.  So Glad.

When we first meet Alexis she comes off as such a cold, unfeeling woman.  Too uppity to smile at a clerk, or to say an automatic thank you to a driver.  She had the cold stone bitch down pat.  But there were little cracks here and there to indicate that much more was churning beneath her surface.

At 35 years of age, Alexis should have had her life pretty well mapped out.  At one time she had.  But that time was gone now.  She had come home to heal, to mend fences and maybe if she was really lucky,  to find what was missing in her relationship with her family.

There was a lot going on in Alexis’ life.  Slowly, ever so slowly over the course of the story we discover what sent her back home.  It is heartbreaking, and yet Alexis survived to learn to live again.

If you get the chance to pick up Long Way Home, I really hope that you do.  It is not the light, easy story that the cover and the blurb make it sound like.  There are major “feels” here and a love worth waiting for.

This one got a rare 5 outta 5 from me.  I think it’s that good.

Look for the rest of the novels in this series:

Mangrove Island series ~
Book 1: Long Way Home
Book 2: Far From Home
Book 3: No Place Like Home
Book 4: Heart of the Home (coming soon)
Available at Amazon for the Kindle