'Til the Last Petal Falls
(Once Upon a Reality , Book 1)
by: Elizabeth Rose
Length : 296 pages
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Suspense
Jolee Bellissa is a 21 year old English major graduate living with her soon-to-be penniless inventor father, Moe, in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. All that's waiting for her in this 'bubble' of a town is a relentless suitor, Gage Aristade son of a rich accounting CEO and notable playboy, and a part-time job at the local Tattered Cover. When she sees a job listing for a literature and poetry tutor for a shut-in adult student in Aspen, room and board paid with a $4000 a month stipend, she figures she has nothing left to really lose.
Adam Emile is a 33year old eccentric artist, whose paintings' beauty is only matched by their disturbing choice of focus. Scarred by a horrific childhood and holed up in the mountains to keep from embarrassing his wealthy and famous father, he is beginning to lose all sense of reality. As a last resort, his personal nurse Chip has put out an ad on Craigslist, under the guise of tutoring, for a new friend for his patient. Will the beautiful young woman who answers the ad change Adam and break the curse of his mental depravity? Or will the secrets he harbors drab them both into madness??
A dark twist on the beloved story of 'Beauty and the Beast'.
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My Thoughts :
Jolee's father is an absent minded French inventor who she takes care of much more than he ever has her. She is relentlessly pursued by a handsome playboy whom everyone loves (Gaston- meet Gage). She goes off to work in a mansion cut off from all society where she is to tutor Adam (the Beast) on books and poetry. Naturally he has a wonderful library. I loved imagining all the various staff as each of the ones I know from the movie. I could go on and on having fun pointing out who everyone is and how it is similar to one of my favorite Disney movies..
And then the similarities end.
Elizabeth has delved deeper and showed us the darker side of man. Adam is a tortured soul who survived horrific child abuse, the death of his mother and being sent to seclusion in the mountains with only people paid to be there as friends and family. Jolee is determined to save Adam with her love. To bring him out of his self-mutilation and violent mood swings. Surely love can save anything! Instead, as the reader, you are drawn into this abusive relationship so deeply that you feel like you are in sync with Jolee- you are the victim wanting to make excuses and defend Adam. If you just do one more thing , or change a little something- everything will be fine.
I personally was amazed at how drawn in I was. How I missed some of the signs and symptoms until the very end. Even I didn't realize how deeply disturbed Adam will turn out to be and how dangerous the world Jolee has placed herself in really is. This is definitely not a light read. It will pull you in and force you to face the hidden side of humanity. The dark side that we chose to turn away from and pretend it's not there.
A story of child abuse, self-mutilation, and domestic violence that will wrap it's tentacles so tightly around you, you will be left gasping for breath. I highly recommend this story and personally can't wait to read more as Elizabeth takes on other fairy tales and brings new things to light for us to see.
* 10% of all author royalties for this book will be donated to battered women's shelters in Colorado where the author resides. This is an impressive dedication the author has made! I hope you'll take the chance and read this amazing book !