Reviewed by Jenny
I’ve never been to New Orleans, but thanks to the descriptive beauty in the prose of Lynetta Halat, I feel as if I’ve just spent a couple of days right there, wrapped up in the lives of the Hebert Clan, their friends and loved ones and it was as if I lived this story…as if I became part of this story. I fell deeply in love with Celeste, Adrian, Archer, Paris and Finn. They completely and utterly stole my heart.
I’m mindful not to give anything away about this story because I really want readers to experience every captivating and moving moment the way this story was intended to be played out.
Celeste Hebert is a widow coping with life as a single mother with three beautiful young sons. I have to pause here for a minute and tell you that one of the true beauties within this book was the relationship between Celeste and her boys. I melted every single time there was an exchange or scene with them. I will take away some cherished memories from this book where these guys are concerned. They were funny, sweet, tender and very, very touching
“You and your brothers are my heart, Archer, and I need you to be very careful with my heart, OK?” – Celeste
Celeste is blessed to have her friend like Adrian in her life. Here is a man who stepped up to assist her in the upbringing of her boys when Celeste’s husband passed away. He’s a rock for Celeste and a friend and role model to her boys. But this man affects Celeste in other ways and denying that attraction gets more difficult the more intense her feelings become for him.e time.
‘I wish my kisses held healing power and with each one, every sadness, every insecurity, every pain of his would dissipate.’ – Celeste
I found the way this man took care of Celeste and her beautiful young men was utterly touching. He may be slightly younger than Celeste, but where these boys are concerned Adrian shows a maturity, understanding and loyalty beyond his years.
“All I want to do is hold you and protect you and love you. Will you let me do that, not matter the consequences?” – Adrian
Despite her life experiences and the fact she has mothered three children, Celeste appears quite charmingly naive in way. The intense, raw and passionate feelings Celeste feels for Adrian comes as a shock to her. He elicits a side to Celeste she never knew existed…one that has laid dormant for so long. In return Celeste brings out the warmth and tenderness in Adrian.
“We all have our own hurt, our own pain even if it’s not obvious to the world.”
Due to family interference, lies, deception and intimidation from outside influences, not to mention lack of communication on Celeste and Adrian’s part , these two have a lot of obstacles in their way on the path to happiness and if they are to have a chance, they need to stand strong, together, and fight for one another, ever if at times that fight may appear fruitless.
‘He hurts. I hurt.’ – Celeste
Celeste was such an engaging, strong and absolutely delightful heroine. Never underestimate this woman! She is true of heart and may come across quite demure, but Celeste possesses a tenacity you can’t help but admire. You know this woman would fight to the death for her little family. They are her life and I adored her for the fierce love and protection she showed them.
Adrian, the tortured man who carries baggage of his own, finds a calm, a solace and a love he never imaged in Celeste and her boys. Adrian has known his pain, and has experienced horrors no man ever should. Horrors that lay hidden deep below the surface.
“That kiss…that kiss was exceptional, and I’ll never forget it. As I stand here and as long as I live, it was the best I’ve ever had, the best I could ever have.”
The saying, you never know what goes on behind closed doors is never truer than in this book. It’s not only Adrian and Celeste’s relationship we get to delve into but those of her friends Farah and Bonnie. To be able to peek inside the lives of these wonderful characters, to witness their happiness, their pain and their struggles really does move you.
‘Taking one last look at myself, I decide that that was the one and only time Adrian Herbert, or any man for that matter, would make me hurt like that.’ – Celeste
I didn’t just read this story. I visualized it – I could see, breathe and felt every happy, sad, heartbreaking and sometimes tortuous moment. When these characters hurt, I hurt. The letters….let me tell you, I felt as if I was hanging over each shoulder, reading right along with them and experiencing every word written.
“You made me feel better than good. Cherished. You make me feel cherished.” – Celeste
I think it’s clear to see how completely intoxicated I was with this story. So I guess you’re wondering why not 5 stars? Well, there were a couple of scenes that whilst they tugged at my heart I felt I would have loved to have seen them fleshed out a little more. As much as it would have destroyed me emotionally, I really would have loved for this author to have taken me to the moment, and not just experience it after the effect. This author has an amazing talent and her way of describing a scene can completely transport the reader and take them to “there” and for me personally, I would have loved for her to have taken me there. As painful as it would have been I wanted to be present in some of those difficult scenes, to allow me, as the reader, to experience every painstaking, heartbreaking moment first hand. Whilst I know it would have left me emotionally drained to have read them, I feel confident this would have handled it with a mixture of strength and sensitivity.
Strength isn’t the ability to feel strong, Celeste. It’s the ability to overcome weakness.”
Everything I’ve Never Had is my first foray into the work of this author, and I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to experiencing more of her writing in the future. Prepare to love, laugh, cry, swoon and most all…”feel”. Beautiful. Captivating. Passionate. Engaging. Emotional. A must read!
Jenny: 4.5 wonderful stars
Arc supplied by author in exchange for an honest review.