Standalone in a series, single Dad, second chance at love
I’m sorry for your loss.
Why do people say that?
When someone you love is taken from you, when a part of you dies along with them, you haven’t lost them like you would your car keys or mobile phone. They aren’t stuck down the side of the sofa or left in the ignition of your car for you to find later. You haven’t absentmindedly put them somewhere and forgotten. You will never lose them because they live in you.
The soul crushing hurt that burns your lungs with every breath you take comes from knowing where they are and not being with them.
The ugly and real definition of grief is being left behind.
I’m sorry they left you.
I’m sorry you are alone.
I’m sorry it hurts to breathe.
Loss; it doesn’t even compare.
She was my first love.
She is my last love.
I am an empty husk who pretends to be filled with enough love for those of us she left behind.
Our little girl and newborn son need me.
I am both mother and father now.
I am hollow and empty.
I am a shell.
So why does the girl with the face of an angel and eyes that mirror my emptiness, look at me like I’m her everything?
EIGHT is available to purchase below
Reviewed by Jenny & Gitte
“You’re not her.”
“No, I’m not her.”
There’s something so special about the Love by Numbers series by E S Carter. Whilst each book focuses primarily on a specific character, it is the extraordinarily beautiful family dynamic, at its core, which also captivates us. This, and the clever way in in which she dangles that little carrot about a ‘secondary‘ character in each book, teasing us into eagerly anticipating her next story as we follow each Fox-Williams man in his quest for love throughout Love by Numbers. We’ve followed Josh Fox-Williams through each book and after the unfolding events in One (Book #5), we knew Josh’s story was going to crush our hearts and so we had tissues at the ready and we’re glad we did, boy did we need them!
“We love you, Josh. We will take all your ugly and your pain and not judge you for any of it. We will not tell you your anger is unwarranted. We will not demand you to let it go. There is no cure for grief.”
In One, we glimpsed the heartbreaking moment Josh’s world came crumbling down around him, when Laura passed away, leaving behind a devastated husband, a bewildered sweet little girl, Ivy and a newborn baby boy, for Josh to nurture and tend to, whilst drowning in his own grief.
‘This house is saturated with her. She is everywhere, and yet, she is nowhere. Every morning when I wake up, she dies again.’
Whilst the Fox-Williams boys were all sporty and liked to put it about in their youth, Josh was the level headed slightly nerdy primary school teacher who married his first and only love, his high school sweetheart, Laura Miles. Josh was a deliriously happy husband, father and son and in Eight, that all comes crashing down as the reality and depth of his loss hits home. Josh’s grief was a tangible, living thing. It was bloody gut wrenching, leaving us a sobbing mess from the start. To witness this beautiful man grappling with his overwhelming grief and responsibilities was gut wrenching.
After shutting himself off emotionally, and allowing his brother Isaac to step up to the plate by taking on the responsibility of caring for Josh’s adorable children, while he sank further and further into despair, Josh one day realises he needs to make changes to bring himself back from the brink and decides to move to Ibiza, escaping to Nate’s (his brothers) villa with his children for a while to regroup.
“Life is complicated, ugly and often messy, but it’s also beautiful too.”
It is there he meets 25 year old Halle Richards, a soulful, sweet and beautiful woman who is dealing with her own issues and whom Josh is initially quite hostile towards, but is attracted to nonetheless. Their relationship begins with a burning passionate night, to purely satisfy their base needs, yet buids to an emotional relationship between the two.
E S Carter stripped Josh’s emotions raw, revealing the anger, despair, conflict, turmoil, hate, sadness and confusion Josh was feeling. Every emotion was felt, every tear we could shed was shed. We felt Josh’s loss and love for Laura with every beat of our heart and because of this, we did find the relationship between Halle and Josh played out a little fast once it came to fruition, and would have preferred it to have been a more slow build and in the moment, considering the issues they were both dealing with.
“You deserve more. More than a broken man who is in love with a ghost.”
However, that being said, it did not detract at all from the intense emotional pull of this story, which was sweetly peppered with tender, funny moments courtesy of two absolutely gorgeously sweet children. If you adore books with children, you will fall head over heels in love with Eight. Little Ivy and baby Arthur (or Arrfffuur as Ivy calls him) are two of the sweetest, heart stealing little children you could imagine with E S Carter capturing their personalities beautifully. Passionate, poignant and real, Josh’s story will break you and heal you, and make you believe in second chances and love. Another fabulous book in this wonderful series! E S Carter, you’ve done it again!
THE LOVE BY NUMBERS SERIES by E.S. CARTER
Available to purchase below
Nineteen Book One – our review | amazon us | amazon uk
Twenty One Book Two – our review | amazon us | amazon uk
Three Book Three – our review | amazon us | amazon uk
Thirteen Book Four – our review | amazon us | amazon uk
One Book Five – our review | amazon us | amazon uk
Eight Book Six – our review | amazon us | amazon uk