No, today isn’t a piece on George Michael, but rather this month’s Pandragon Review. Today I will be looking at a traditional Romance novel, something that I’ve not done in a while. Wake Me Up is a novel that has received critical acclaim and extremely positive reviews – and it just so happens to be written by one of my favourite authors!
You may remember Michelle Horst from my Vaalbara: Visions and Shadows review a couple of years back. Having spoken to her via Facebook and email, I can honestly say that she is one of the nicest people I have ever had the pleasure of speaking to, and a fanastic and inspiring author to boot!
Wake Me Up is a story about love across the pond, heartbreak and... well, I’ll save most of the spoilers for the review! So let’s get started on this review of Wake Me Up and I’ll tell you all why you should be reading this novel.
About The Author (written in the Author’s own words
Michelle Horst is thirty seven years old and is from the land of milk and honey.
She's been in love with reading from an early age. She has a passion for other cultures, but she has an ultimate soft spot for nature and animals.
She first tried her hand at writing in early 2009 and as the first words started to form into a book, she knew she was hooked. Dreams spilled onto pages, and that was the beginning of a wonderful journey.
One filled with joy.
One filled with passion and heart stopping moments.
But most of all, it's filled with such pride and peace as a story comes to life, and characters fill your life, living in the very walls of your mind, living in the minds of your readers. There is nothing as satisfying as that.
Thank you for each and every story you share with me.
Sunshine Smiles from around the world and back,
Not really a great deal I can say about this cover to be honest, but I don’t mean that in a bad way. It shows our main characters Aiden and Emma holding each other close. The models they got for this pretty much shows how I imagined the characters in the books. Not the most original covers, but it gets the point across.
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Twenty-two-year old Emma runs from a devastating life. Wanting to escape her demons with the help of her crazy friend Chloe, she travels halfway across the world.
Alone, Emma must make a fresh start in the small town of Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She doesn't let anyone near her, until Aiden.
Aiden gives her a glimpse of what love really is like, but then their little world is shattered when their lives collide and Emma gets caught in the middle.
Will Aiden cross an ocean for Emma?
Just as a side warning – this book has a lot of adult content and it is not suitable for younger readers.
What I liked
Firstly, I just want to say that I really liked Emma and felt so sorry for her. I don’t normally go for the Damsel in Distress type characters, as I prefer my female characters with a bit more confidence and strength, but – poor Emma! She really is one of those characters that you just wanted to give a big hug to! Her mother was just a monster and treated her like s*** the whole time and Emma just felt powerless to do anything about it. It really broke my heart seeing the mistreatment that Emma went through and I instantly fell in love with her, hoping that things would turn out all right.
Thank god for Aiden – the American Cop that becomes her knight in shining armour. Aiden is pretty much Emma’s strength in this novel, he gives her the power to stand up to that hag of a mother and shows that there are still gentlemen around in this day and age! But by the same token, Aiden also has his own demons to overcome – and Emma becomes his redemption as much as his love.
The chapters are written from the POV of either Aiden or Emma. This is something that I’ve seen in some other Romantic series, such as the Tallenmere series and it works really well. It makes the story that much more interested and as we would have one chapter from one character’s thoughts and then hear the next characters thoughts/reactions to what just happened. This added plenty of dimensions to the story and really delved into the characters (broken) psyche.
Now a problem that I’ve noticed in some Romance stories is that the author almost has to “force” the two main characters together without developing it. Not the case here! The romance takes it’s time to flow, mainly because Emma is too scared to commit to anything at first, given her abusive family history. Aiden has to prove himself to Emma to be worthy of her love, much like any real love story. I’ve always believed the essence of a true love story (or any story for that matter) is that the protagonists have to fight for their love and that there should be something that gets in the way. And there were enough emotional obstacles here to help build on the characters trust. And in the end, the fight is worth it! Have a box of tissues nearby when you’re reading this as the love story between these characters will definitely move you to tears.
What I didn’t like
One of the subplots was Aiden investigating a criminal underground whereby girls are going missing – and then Emma becomes one of the victims, leading Aiden to save her. Now as I mentioned earlier, I’m not a fan of Damsel in Distress storylines, so this point did annoy me a little bit. I guess it made sense within the context of the story – but it kinda cops out halfway through the middle and gets resolved a little to easily. Maybe it could have been expanded on a little more.
Secondly, after Aiden helps Emma stand up to her mother and move away with him, I didn’t really feel like the story had much else to go and just seem to go through the motions by the end. It could have maybe ended a bit sooner. Also, and this is just a personal thing, I REALLY wanted something bad to happen to Emma’s mother. She was just evil and I really wanted to see her get her comeuppance. I guess Emma leaving her evil presence was comeuppance enough – but I just felt like she deserved something nasty happen to her for what she did to Emma!
PROS (I’m a Dreamer):
- Characters instantly loveable.
- POV gives inside into characters.
- Romance is heartwarming.
- Guaranteed to bring tears out.
- Maybe a little too long.
- Adult content – not suitable for younger readers.
A moving and brilliantly written Romance novel. Proof that love can survive even across the pond. I highly recommend Wake Me Up for anyone who wants a tearjerking Romance with a heartwarming message. Go get yourself a copy now!
FINAL SCORE: 4.5/5