Dear Lord, Fighting Shadows the second book by Aly Martinez in the On the Ropes Trilogy DID NOT disappoint! I had been not so patiently waiting for this books release since I read Fighting Silence and I was truly unable to put it down.
Flint Page, literally just took a bullet for his brother’s wife Eliza whom Flint is in love with. It’s a bullet that changes the course of his life, leaving him with more emotions than he knows what to do with. At 19 years old, he has spent the better part of his life, abandoned by his piece of crap parents to be raised with his brother Quarry, by his brother Till. Flint is convinced he is in love with Eliza and finds himself bitter, angry with rage, and deeply sad that he can’t have her. He knows that the love is real and she should be with him, not Till. “I was lying face down on a hospital bed, drugged out of my mind, and pinning over my brother’s pregnant wife. The same woman, who was the closest thing to a real mother I’d ever known. The levels of messed up could not even be described.” He feels as if he is a third wheel, “Like so often in our lives, Quarry and I were just part of the package.” His anger and hardness comes from such a raw and emotional place that is only enhanced by the troubles his family has had to endure. “I’d had to fight for everything. The same everything that had absolutely never been enough. For God’s sake, hearing and walking weren’t even guaranteed for us.”
Ash Victoria Mabie, was living her own miserable life, being forced to do the dirty work of her father’s choosing. “I hated every single second of robbing people, especially the nice ones who seemed like they genuinely cared about me. It was freezing outside, and he’d offered me his coat. Unlike my father, who had taken my shoes and shoved me out of the car two blocks away.” She was willing to do what she had to though, in the hopes of avoiding yet another move, to another new place. She was never able to settle, never allowed to enroll in school, never able to make friends or connections. “I’d been begging my father for as long as I could remember to let me go to school. But he’d always answered with a resounding no.” In her short 15 years of life she had lived in 22 houses, trailers, apartments, etc. All she wanted was to belong, to be accepted, worthy, and have something stable. When she met Quarry, her life was about to change but would it be for the better or would it leave her alone and gutted.
After Flint and Ash are introduced they begin to see threw the others facades. There are light hearted moments like Ash continuously stealing Flint’s wallet and there are heart wrenching moments like when Flint makes the mistake of telling Ash why he avoids family functions. In their own ways they are each running away when they should be running towards each other. Their lives are filled with hurt, betrayal, insecurities, and most of all fear. The fear of love and not being enough. When the mistakes they make tear them apart and leave each one alone will they be able to find their way back? If they find their way back to each other will they ever be able to forgive? Can Flint ever truly love a woman other than Eliza? Is Ash even capable of sticking around and not running? This story is about so much more than love, it’s about the journey people sometimes have to take to find their true identity and destiny. It’s about not giving up, when the deck is stacked against you and you are lost, hurt, and confused. It’s about realizing that what you think you want and need may not be your true reality. How will I ever make it to the winter for the conclusion of this trilogy?
Review by @colleennoyes