When I open a novel and the first pages are a "gotcha" like the pages of Goodbye, Orchid, I know I'm in for an exceptional read. Oh, my gosh! Is this ever one of those books! I have a book hangover from such an amazing story written with intricate details and emotional passages that took my heart and tore it to pieces. I find myself almost speechless trying to form words for a review. Wow! How Ms. VanDenHende took me into the emotional depths of her characters is beyond description. This is the story of Phoenix and Orchid. Perfect and ambitious Phoenix. Gentle and sweet Orchid. Just like the beautiful cover of this book and the shattering orchid, would these characters lives break into pieces and will they find a way to put their lives back together? I couldn't tear myself away from the pages. This was more than a casual read, this was an experience. One that touched me so deeply and even personally.
There are no guarantees in life and in an instant, everything can change. Phoenix's life is forever changed because of a devastating accident. The trauma he experiences is brutal physically and emotionally. What Ms. VanDenHende created in this story is a masterpiece in human resilience. It's not easy, pretty or quick. Sometimes deep and dark. But it's possible to rise from the ashes. She masterfully and meticulously takes the reader into the depths of Phoenix's recovery and his feelings for Orchid, through various stages. Not only the physical but the mental stages as well. There are so many emotions that were pulled out of me through her characters. Each character written with purpose and depth. I'm in awe of her talent and her exceptional ability to put me in the pages like she did. I especially appreciate her compassion for what these traumatic injuries do to people. This is a story that will be in my heart for a very long time.
This is an amazing read! My review is so inadequate for how powerful and emotional this book is. It was unputdownable from the first compelling page to the last touching words. Yes, Phoenix and Orchid expanded my heart. I want to thank Ms. VanDenHende for the honor of reading her story that so sincerly came from her heart and from the inspiration of combat wounded veterans. This is an extraordinary novel! One of the best I've read this year. It's so worth much more than five stars! This is my honest and heartfelt review of a book that ranks as one of my top 5 this year.