Andrea Randall wrote a tough book here. It took me almost a month to read because the pain was so real to me. I could empathize with Natalie so much it hurt. It hurt to know that this character was thinking thoughts I have thought before about motherhood. It hurt to know that someone else could possibly be so depressed that to hurt one’s self was a viable option. It hurt to know how PTSD, even though it wasn’t her own, changed her life so much from the track it was on. This book hurt. But in the end it healed those hurts. Slowly, like real life, the pain began to disappear and hope took it’s place.
In the Stillness gives us the story of Natalie. Natalie is a mother and wife. She had plans to get her doctorate, but she got pregnant and had twin boys, Ollie and Max. She is married to Eric, who is finishing up his own doctorate. We get to see how Natalie feels about Eric and the loss of her own goals in order to have these beautiful boys and be a stay at home mother to them. She feels isolated, alone, like she should have never been a mother. She slowly realizes that she does not love her husband and, quite honestly, her husband does not love her despite him telling her that he does throughout the book. She begins cutting in order to relieve her pain, something she hasn’t done in many years, ever since her then-boyfriend, Ryker, went to Afghanistan after 9/11.
This story takes the reader on two journeys. It takes us on a journey through Natalie’s current pain. It also has flashback periods that take us on the journey of her and Ryker’s relationship in the past. Through both of these journeys we can see Natalie lose hope, gain hope, lose it once again, and in the coming together of these two journeys at the end, we see her gain hope, healing, and love. She grows exponentially. She makes her healing a priority. This is why I will not categorize this simply as romance, but also as women’s literature. This story is more about the growth of Natalie more than it is about any romance. The romance between her and Ryker is almost a secondary plot altogether.
This book made me cry. Simple. It made me cry. If it doesn’t bring tears to your eyes, well… I question your humanity. It is well worth a good read through and I definitely see myself picking this up again. In my own dark times I need to see hope grow and this is a great book for that. In the Stillness is available on Amazon.com for Kindle and in paperback.
Happy reading, all!