Publisher: Promised Land Books
Publication Date: 4/30/14
Rating: 5 stars
Tanya—a recovering alcoholic—meets Jack at a roadside stop on the way to her sister’s wedding. Hoping to drown her sorrows in the company of a stranger, she brings him back to her motel room.
The next day, shaken by the intensity of the experience, Tanya joins her sister’s bridal party at an upscale mountain lodge. There, she meets the groom’s family for the first time, including his brother, Jack—just home from the Peace Corps and reeling from his night with the bold, beautiful woman he thought he’d never see again.
Both at a crossroads in their lives, Tanya and Jack collide for one explosive weekend. Will they choose the safety of past regrets, or will they be brave enough to embrace the present—together?
If you ever wanted to know what became of The Bridge's Henry and Christa (and how could you not?) this is the story for you. If you were curious about Christa's troubled sister Tanya, this is a must-read. If you want another beautifully-written story from Rebecca Rogers-Maher that will completely consume you, you will want to read Tanya.
In The Bridge, Rebecca Rogers-Maher created an insightful, painful, and enlightening look at depression and suicide. In Tanya, we have one lead who is a recovering alcoholic. Every day Tanya must make the choice not to drink. Sometimes, though, the dark places inside her require fulfillment, which often results in dirty, anonymous sex. One such encounter results in a one night stand with her sister's soon-to-be brother-in-law, Jack. Jack was portrayed as vibrant and happy in The Bridge, and we quickly learn that Henry's perception of Jack is not quite how Jack sees himself. He feels a lot of guilt over his brother's struggles with depression. He also feels anxiety over the direction of his life. Over the course of a few days, this quiet, loving, smitten man and the woman who finds herself too dark, too dangerous, uncover each other, and possibly find exactly what they need.
If you're a "well-adjusted", healthy person, you might not understand those who are self-destructive, how deep the inner turmoil roots and drive to do things that aren't reasonable or healthy from the outside looking in. Tanya is a character who will challenge readers. She is not a nice girl, easy to like like her sister. She has harsh edges, she's smart, and she can be selfish. She's two years sober, and still struggling with guilt and regret. She is a character who reminded me that all heroines- all women -are not sweet, easy to love, or even likeable. As women, we are often taught to smile, even when we don't feel like it. To fake the niceties that make others comfortable. Never let anyone know you're unhappy. For some reason, maybe because she is not inherently sweet and soft, Tanya reminded me that it is okay to simply be. Even if you have the sharper edges or aren't quick with a smile, there is still another out there who will love you exactly as you are. The dark secrets don't scare them away, the hard-won smiles mean even more. Jack was that man for Tanya. He seems like the quintessential rich boy do-gooder. A man constantly in motion, always searching. Jack, though not as bleak as his brother Henry, is just as introspective, questioning, insightful. While Tanya assumes her darkness will scare Jack away, he loves what she gives him. She stills him.
Rogers-Maher offers a thorough story of a recovering addict, and I'm continually amazed how she can create such fulfilling, deeply-driven, insightful stories with so few pages. Of course, I would love more- her writing is gorgeous- but I never felt cheated or that the story is lacking. Tanya was a rewarding experience. Surprisingly, I think I cried more with this story than The Bridge. Tanya spoke to the parts of me that struggle. Jack's acceptance and love, his need for her, reaffirmed my belief that we all need love. Tanya reminded me that we all have a story to tell.
Favorite QuotesShe doesn't want to know why I'm here. She doesn't want to know who I am, or what I want to do with my life, or why there is so much waste and excess and emptiness in the country I though was my home, or how infuriatingly helpless I feel, or why after two years in Guyana, I'm pretty sure I won't ever belong anywhere. What this woman wants is a quick tryst with a stranger in a roadside motel room.
And despite all good sense and caution, I want to give her that. I want to take it, for myself, too. I want to obliterate from my brain every particle of restlessness and doubt.
I don't know who I was before this. I don't know what will be left of me when it's done. I am a single atom dying to be split in two. Begging to be obliterated by her, to obliterate everything around me.
It's love that's slicing into me, I know that. There's no stopping it even if I wanted to. I'm walking right into its clean blade with my eyes open.
I kiss her.
I know there is something wrong. Many things wrong. She won't talk about it with me, not yet. Not now.
Now, she is asking for something else. She wants what I gave to her that first night--escape, a lightning rod to pour her pain into.
It's something I can give freely. That I want to give.
She pours that feeling into me and makes me alive, too. Electrified. I would do anything she asked.
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