Sierra by Taylor Dean
June 13, 2012
Genre(s): Romantic Suspense (Adult)
Have you ever been lost in the woods?
Alyssa Fontaine’s life, loved ones—everything familiar and dear—are brutally taken from her.
Taken captive by two men, she endures a horrific nightmare. A new life is forced upon her and even a new name.
Just when it appears that no hope is in sight, she is saved by an unlikely twist of fate. Trapped in the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains, life will open its arms to her again and she will embrace it. She will find love such as she never knew existed.
Sierra is a heart-wrenching story of the power of the human spirit to survive amidst impossible circumstances and severe losses. It is a story of survival . . . and hope.
This book includes mature subject matter that may not be appropriate for readers under the age of 18.
I noticed this book the week it came out, but after reading the summary, I wasn’t sure I could stomach it. Taken captive by two men, she endures a horrific nightmare… I’m sure I don’t have to tell you what I assumed. However, over the past couple of months of watching reviews pop up, I noticed that not a single one of them mentioned the subject matter I was trying to avoid. Surely someone would have brought it up, right? So I took a chance, and it was worth it.
Alyssa is on vacation with her family when tragedy strikes, and in what feels like mere moments, an idyllic scene does in fact become a nightmare — not the nightmare I was worried about, but certainly heart-wrenching at best. One moment is all smiles and happiness, and in a cruel twist of circumstance, everything is almost instantly shattered. Alyssa is taken from her family, driven to the middle of nowhere, forced to walk through miles and miles of wilderness, and quickly losing hope. Despite the unimaginable circumstances, she tries (and ultimately fails) to escape twice, until it’s clear that there really is no getting away from her captors. But just when it seems that there’s no escaping a violent fate, salvation appears in the form of a remote cabin and its lone resident.
Alex has secluded himself deep in the woods, away from civilization and his own tragic past. The last thing he expects is for two incompetent criminals to come bursting through his door at dinner time, and certainly not with an abused captive in tow. I don’t want to give the whole story away, but I’m guessing it’s obvious he saves her, right? Only now he has an injured, devastated woman in his home, and his separation from civilization doesn’t exactly make it easy to return her home. He’s arranged his life so that there is virtually no contact with the outside world. No phone, no radio, not even a car or road to carry them out of the wilderness. So until his annual delivery of supplies is made by helicopter next year, they’re stuck. That should give them plenty of time to fall in love, right? The falling is slow, of course. Two people bound by circumstance and sharing in tragedy have more on their minds than romance, and Taylor Dean expresses that in her characters so well. There’s heartache, frustration, friendship, and a slow build, all the while shadowed by the fear that one of Alyssa’s kidnappers may return.
In may ways, the tale is told perfectly, unfolding at just the right speed and pulling you in. Alex is understanding, protective of, and careful around Alyssa. They’re strangers, after all, and while they’ve been thrown together and managed to survive, there’s no rush to a happily ever after. When it finally does come, though, things are a little too perfect. The things Alex says, while exactly what we want to hear are… well, they’re exactly what we want to hear, in a way that stamps out the otherwise realistic flow of their relationship. He expresses his emotions too completely and in ways that even the most sensitive men rarely do — I mean, what grown man living the life of a hermit on a mountain freely uses the word “frolick”? Unfortunately, that’s pretty much the way the whole story wrapped up — a little too neatly, conveniently, quickly… While the bulk of their tale was a measured climb, the conclusion was jarringly sudden and strayed from the otherwise perfect pacing.
Taylor Dean certainly knows how to spin a tale. There’s heartache, danger, healing, and romance… basically all the things for which we escape into books in the first place. She doesn’t shy away from grief and loss, but she doesn’t throw readers into a never-ending angst party either. I loved the characters, and I couldn’t put the book down until I’d read the very last word. Now I just need to go get all her other books, and I’ll be a happy camper.