Reviewed by Jenny & Gitte
Jenny: Cancer. It’s never an easy subject to read about. It crushes your heart and leaves you bereft because nearly everyone has witnessed first or second hand the struggles, pain and suffering associated with this insidious disease. But sometimes reading about it can be a form of therapy and I have to say that’s what Breeze of Life was for me.
“…nobody told me with my body I would also lose my soul.”
I commend the author for her handling of this difficult subject matter. Kirsty Dallas certainly did bring us a story that was dealt with sensitively, with realness, beauty, love, passion, and a whole heap of humour added to break through the emotion you experience throughout the story.
“I’m just going to throw my future into the air and live each day as it falls. Some of those days are going to be pretty and I have no doubt that some are going to be ugly, but would you give up all the pretty days because you’re scared of the ugly ones?”
Breeze’s story taught us to live each day and be thankful for every minute we’re alive and to be especially thankful for the people in our lives who touch our heart and bring us happiness. To treasure each moment, to never give up and realise that sometimes what we need is right there in front of our faces.
The story of Harper and Bree really touches your heart doesn’t Gitte? Friends to lovers…sigh….
Gitte: It really did Jenny, cancer is such a hard topic to read about as we have all been affected by it one way or another and it sucks. Big time. However, it’s real, its life, and I think the story of Harper and Bree was an absolute beautiful example of how such an emotional topic can be handled with kid – gloves.
“…You are my heart, therefore, the one thing I am most possessive about.” – Harper
The writing was stunning, the emotions were handled delicately and very true to life. The story felt real and there was a perfectly balanced injection of humour and passion. In my opinion this is definitely one of those stories which should be read for the messages it conveys of love, hope, living life and taking enjoyment out of every day. Follow your dreams and LIVE your life!!
“I know a guy called Harper who makes his best friend feel utterly beautiful when all she feels is ugly.” Bree
Jenny: Breeze (Bree) is drowning in depression, fear and self-pity, and understandably so, as she has been bravely fighting cancer for nearly a year on her own with only her friend George, a father figure, supporting her through this ugly disease. and the rigorous chemo treatments has had to endure. Breeze is at her lowest ebb after the rigorous chemo treatments she has had to endure have taken their toll on her body and her soul.
Her best friend Harper, a surfing pro, reappears in her life after being informed by George of Breeze’s condition in a last ditch effort to bring Breeze some much needed respite.
“I’m not going anywhere, baby girl. We’re in this together from now on.”
Breeze has bravely kept her condition from everyone and instead chose to deal with it in her own way, but the reappearance of Harper makes her realise her error in judgement and she begins to see how much she missed having her best friend in her life. Harper makes her feel whole and witnessing this man slowly but surely chip away at her walls, enter her heart and give her the confidence she needs was just beautiful.
“You are going to live, baby girl, and you are going to live with no regrets.”
Harper decides the best medicine for Breeze is to take her on a road trip down the Coast of Queensland and New South Wales, stopping along the way to connect and enjoy life. I just have to say Gitte, I want a Harper in my life!! This man was sexy, funny, so giving and he completely stole my heart. Kirsty Dallas sure can write a beautiful hero that’s for sure. He was so patient and never, for one minute, did he allow Breeze to think she was anything other than the most special person, beautiful and sexy person in his world. He put his heart on the line and laid his feelings bare.
“Baby, I’m not going to lie. If this fucking cancer beats you, I will be crushed. Physically and emotionally beaten, but I promise you, I’ll be beaten but not down. I’ll go on, a big damn piece of me will be missing, you’ll take my heart with you and no other person will ever touch it. I’ll live for you Breeze, Until I see you again.”
All I have to say Gitte is…what a guy! Seriously! I want a Harper in my life. I loved him. What about you?
Gitte: Oh wow did I fall in love with Harper. What an amazing man….what an amazing friend and ultimately, what hopeful and motivating compassion. And you’re right Jenny. This Author has a knack for writing strong male heroes with such depth, empathy and spot on masculinity. I absolutely love this Author’s knack of that perfect balance.
“Well Breeze, I’m adopting a different attitude…..I’m not going to accept that you will die sooner rather than later. I will only accept life.” – Harper
So yeah, poor Harper wasn’t dealing. She was merely existing, keeping her illness a secret to anyone but George, the man she saw as a father.
“Sleep was where I wanted to live right now, so sleep I did.”
I was questioning her behaviour and secrecy as an outsider but I understood it one hundred percent. Truly understood it. However, it always raises the question of: by sparing people the truth are you not inadvertently hurting them by you silence?
I loved her relationship with George and the tenderness with which he cared for Bree was truly heart-warming.
“Have an open heart and open eyes….” – George
When George took matters into his own hands by calling Harper, did he do right? Absolutely. Sometimes what we really need and want can be buried underneath so much pain and suffering we are unable to grasp it ourselves. Harper isn’t dealing, how could she be? She needs help but who would willingly ask for it, do we even realise we need it? Or does the realisation of our impending mortality already propel our subconscious towards it as super-fast speed so that we miss out the in-between? The good bits?!
“I couldn’t help but feel ugly, so I was ugly. My eyes saw what they wanted to. I could cover all the mirrors in the world and wrap my head behind all the fabric I could get my hands on, but if I didn’t feel pretty inside, I would never feel pretty outside.” – Bree
Harper almost took charge of making Bree live life to its full potential the minute he came home to her. But this guy didn’t judge. Sure, he felt let down and angry about being kept in the dark but these two had first and foremost a beautiful friendship that grew into love. Love of the pure unblemished kind that still remained and burned strong.
Bree, despite not wanting Harper to see her suffer and the effects of her illness, is comforted by him being there. However it takes some convincing for her to be taken out of the protective cocoon she has immersed herself in, living in the grip of her illness.
“You think you can waltz in here and make everything okay? You’re going to what, fix me? Make it all go away with your pretty smile and easy going attitude? I have cancer Harper, it is going to kill me.” – Bree
“You didn’t tell me. I thought I was your friend. Hell, I thought I was your best friend.” – Harper
“I can’t do this…..” – Bree
Such and emotional and beautiful journey that is without doubt a must read. I loved every minute I spent with Bree and Harper and could not put this story down. I was living it with them and I felt every word. The few issues I did have did not take anything away from the messages and their importance in this story. They were small niggles really. You felt the same didn’t you Jenny?
Jenny: I did indeed Gitte. I had to see how these two fared. I HAD to know what life had in store for Harper and Breeze as they faced life, love and tragedy together. I just couldn’t leave them and the author made me feel as if I was right there with them. Yep, I was in that Jeep, singing at the top of my lungs, sharing their touching and tender moments, crying with them during their sadness and fears and laughing with them during their banter. It truly was a wonderful read. I shed a few tears and my spirits were lifted.
“I lay there for the longest time simply listening to the strong beat of Harper’s heart, like a melody that sang of life and happiness…”
So, why am I not giving this book 5 stars? Well, there were a couple of things in the story that did irritate me just a little and if it wasn’t for those, Breeze of Life would have surely been a 5 star read for me. The first being the “inner woman” monologue. It felt out of place and I sometimes found it a bit distracting.
My second issue related to drama which was introduced towards the end of the book. I won’t go into detail because I don’t want to do spoilers. The added drama at this stage of the story felt unnecessary and only served to niggle me. The story held its own, was beautiful and captivating in itself and for me, I just didn’t feel the added drama was required. But these were minor hiccups in what was a truly captivating and memorable read and I will always remember what it was I loved about this book and how much these characters and their journey touched me.
What really hit home was what I took from this story. To me it reiterated that age old message that we might not here for a long time, so let’s make sure we make EVERY minute count and never take life for granted. I absolutely recommend picking this one up. It really is one for the soul.
Jenny: 4.5 stars
Gitte: 4.5 stars
ARC provided by author in exchanged for an honest review