THE DARKEST PART (Living Heartwood)
by Trisha Wolfe
Summary: Pressing the boundaries of both the psyche and the heart, Sam and Holden embark on a dangerous journey that will test the limits of love.
Sam Wintry’s life used to be almost perfect. She was engaged to her childhood best friend and high school sweetheart, Tyler Marks, planning an amazing cross-country honeymoon during her college break. But after a hit-and-run leaves her in ruin, she begins seeing Tyler’s fractured, ghostly presence, and her family believes she’s losing her mind. Not until she completes their journey, stopping along the way to scatter Tyler's remains, will Tyler be able cross over. Only...is Sam ready for him to leave her?
When the black sheep of the Marks' family, Holden Marks, returns to check on Tyler's case, Sam convinces him to give her his brother's ashes. Despite their shaky history, she needs him...plus, he owes it to Sam and his brother. What she doesn’t count on is Holden’s relentlessness to go on the trip.
On the road, Holden realizes just how unhinged Sam has become. Dealing with her psychosis forces him to confront his dark past, making it harder to keep secrets hidden that should remain buried. Especially from Sam, the only woman he’s ever loved. And as Sam starts to unravel the truth, she begins to question if the brother she's unwillingly falling for again is in an even darker place than her.
My Thoughts: I love Trisha Wolfe's books, which are fantasy and are amazing, and when I found out she was writing a new adult contemporary romance, I couldn't wait to read it. In a sea of new adult contemporary romances available today, The Darkest Part is one that definitely stands out among the rest. Sam Wintry, Tyler Marks, and Holden Marks have grown up together on the island of Hilton Head South Carolina. Tyler and Sam are the same age and have been best friends since they were in diapers. Holden is almost four years older, and Sam crushed on him for years. Tyler has loved Sam ever since he can remember. Sam is an artist, she dyes her hair black, usually with a streak of color in it, and has her nose pierced. Tyler is preppy, clean cut, handsome, and is following in his father's footsteps to become a lawyer. Holden is the black sheep of the family. Hot, sexy, has a pierced lip, tattooed, and he is also an artist, a very good one, and the art is something that Sam and Holden have in common and have always connected through. Her freshman year in high school, things change between Sam and Holden and she thinks she has a chance with this boy that she has been in love with forever, only her dreams come crashing down around her and Tyler is the one who is there to pick up the pieces. Holden leaves the island after high school and they rarely see him anymore, and a relationship begins between Sam and Tyler, best friends and now lovers. Tyler is Sam's world. Now in college, they plan to get married, take a road trip for their honeymoon, and things seem to be looking up, in spite of a tragic situation that occurred six months prior, when the unthinkable happens and Tyler dies, and Sam's world comes crashing down around her.
It's now been months. Sam is a mess, a total mess. She has moved back home. Her mother has forced her into therapy after Sam admits that she is seeing Tyler, who is now dead, her dad can't handle the stress and isn't around much, and Sam has totally withdrawn within herself, communicating only with her dead boyfriend for the most part. After Sam has a bit of a breakthrough in therapy, she finally decides that the only way she can help Tyler, and herself, is to complete the road trip they planned on taking, bringing closure. She has researched all kinds of supernatural books and the like, and is convinced this is what she needs to do. What she doesn't count on his Holden Marks, the guy who broke her heart long ago, to make an appearance and insist on going with her. Feelings she had long since buried begin to resurface again, which further confuses Sam, especially when Holden seems to now care for her, after making it clear before that he wanted nothing to do with her. Holden has so many secrets himself, and no one is aware of the sacrifices he has made for his family.....for his brother. As the journey progresses, not only does Holden have to finally deal with the way he feels about Sam, he has to deal with her psychosis when she admits she sees and talks to Tyler, or is it psychosis? He also has to keep inside a terrible secret regarding Tyler's death, one that threatens to destroy him, and could possible destroy Sam if it is revealed. On their journey, so many things are revealed about their past. Sam finally comes to understand the dark things that Tyler and Holden went through when they were children, things that were so very awful. She also finds out things about Tyler that she never knew, and are devastating to her, on top of dealing with how she feels about Holden. Secrets, dark secrets are revealed, and when things regarding Tyler take a dangerous turn, Holden is forced to make Sam take a serious look at what is happening and her sanity, but will this make things better, or will the darkness destroy Sam and subsequently Holden in the process?
The Darkest Part is emotional, raw, dark, and passionate, and I felt each of those emotions with Sam and Holden through the entire novel. The novel is told from both Sam and Holden's point of view, which I loved. It was fast paced and I was hooked from beginning to end. I connected on a deep way with these characters, and grew to love both Sam and Holden. Tyler, even though he was dead, I liked him and also got really frustrated with him. There were twists and turns in this novel that I didn't see coming. The whole time, I was wondering is Tyler real or is Sam crazy, because it sure seems like he is real, or is he? I mean I think she is mentally ill, but yet, I am not quite sure. That is a question that you don't find out until the end of the book and it adds so much drama and mystery to the story. The Darkest Part also deals with some very heavy subject matter, which Trisha Wolfe has handled brilliantly. Then there is the creative aspect, and when you come to understand the meaning of the title of the book and what that encompasses......well it was beautiful. The romance was hot, and I loved the way the relationship was slowly built between Holden and Sam, and the fire and passion that consumed them. The ending was wonderful and I really loved it, especially the epilogue. If you are a NA contemporary romance fan, then you are in for a treat with The Darkest Part and I most definitely recommend it.
“I just wanted you to know that I was sorry I never knew the truth. Back then. That maybe if I had, then I might’ve understood your anger. You pushing me away. And I never would have let you.”
”As much as I’m doing this trip for Tyler, truth is, I’m doing it for me, too. I’m tired of being scared. Sick of living in fear. I’m doing this to set Tyler free, yes, to help him to cross over – but deep down, I know it’s about more.
I need to cross over, too.
Into the living.”
Into the living.”
I can’t have her. I couldn’t have her then, and I can’t now. She still belongs to Tyler. She’s making sure of that, too. By not dealing with his death in a healthy way, she’ll never heal and be able to be with anyone else. She’s not meant for me, but I can hope that, by the end of this trip, she’s able to move on.
He’s got some deep-seeded anger, a past that haunts him, and I don’t think I’m strong enough to wrestle his ghosts. Not while I’m dancing with mine.
You can read an excerpt here.
About Trisha Wolfe
I’m the author of the YA Steampunk DESTINY'S FIRE (Omnific Publishing), ASTARTE'S WRATH NA Historical/Supernatural, and the upcoming YA Utopian FIREBLOOD from Spencer Hill Press, October 2013. My NA Dark Fantasy OF SILVER AND BEASTS available May 2013.
I’m the creator of YA Bound, a promotional site for the Young Adult genre. Also a member of SCWW and The Apocalypsies.
A proud business owner, I'm partnered with my partner, my husband. When I’m not busy doing all of the above, I’m a wife and the mother of a gorgeous teen boy who's the sounding board for my male characters.
Check out the rest of this website for more on my books and bonus material. Follow me on Twitter @TrishWolfe.