saving-ella

SYNOPSIS

Ella

“As a child, I had dreams. Knuckle down get good grades, and eventually get a scholarship to study art. One day my art would grace the walls of my very own gallery. I know, perhaps a wild and fanciful dream but never-the-less it was mine. At just thirteen years of age that dream was destroyed. My dad died and rather than grieve, my mother saw this as an opportunity. A chance to have what my dad could not give her, money and possessions. I wanted to hate her for that. God knows I tried, but I just couldn’t, no matter how much she disappointed me. All my hate was spared for Marcus, my new step-father. They say that eyes are the window to the soul and if that’s true, Marcus’s soul was pure fucking evil. 

I ran, I escaped, I survived.”

Jax

“For the past nine years I served my country in Afghanistan. My hands were washed with blood and death, I had seen enough brutality to last me a life time. But I still couldn’t stay away from my mom’s shelter. Helping the beaten and solemn women who graced Mercy’s doorstep became my new mission. 

The night a tiny, fragile girl with long dark hair and beautiful brown eyes literally slipped across our doorstep, I found myself spellbound and speechless. She looked like an angel stepping from the squalor of an avenging storm. I knew she would be terrified of me; all the women who stepped over the threshold of Mercy’s shelter were scared of men. But my powerful and rugged appearance belied who I really was. I had always felt the need to protect and nurture and I knew with a little laughter, a healthy dose of respect and plenty of understanding I could help this angel. 

All I had to do was keep her safe, cherish her, love her. It all seemed so easy.”

Saving Ella is available to purchase below:

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saving ella

Reviewed by Jenny and Gitte

Gitte: This is the first book we’ve read by this Author isn’t it Jenny and wow, it was truly beautiful but so very heart-breaking and emotional. I loved the writing style, the story and the characters. It started with intensity and intrigue and had a near perfect relationship build up which never felt rushed. I just couldn’t put it down to begin with. I was swept away as Jax and Ella’s story unfolded and we learnt of their pasts. Ella’s just plain broke my heart.

“Somehow my heart already felt the weight of his loss. Without warning the most important thing in my world had been taken from me and I felt horribly alone.”

The one person she loved and who loved her in return is no longer in her life and everything she knows changes when she becomes a victim of cruelty and violence.

“Where Daddy’s eyes had been gentle, full of love and fun, Marcus’ eyes were full of ruthless hate and indifference.”

Jenny:  Yes G, and don’t we just love it when we pick up that random book and we’re so richly rewarded with an engaging and wonderful story with characters that are so relatable.

I really liked this story about healing, finding strength in yourself and not being afraid to lean on someone, to know that there is someone out there who is willing to help, accepting it, knowing that you matter, and in the process opening your heart.  The story flowed well and apart from a small part around the middle of the story where is seemed to drag, I was invested in Jax and Ella’s journey.

Gitte: Ella did everything she could to escape her home life; escape Marcus. She lived a wild and irresponsible life outside her front door as a defence mechanism, a survival tactic throwing defiance back at Marcus. I suppose in response to the horrific control, abuse and terror she suffered at his hand and mind. The feel of the knife, drugs, alcohol and sex numbing the real pain and hurt.

Every time Ella tries to escape and get away from the clutches of Marcus and the ignorance and obliviousness of her Mum, she’s rounded up and found by the various people Marcus has in his pocket. He has connections everywhere and Marcus wants Ella for unfathomable reasons.

When Ella finally manages to escape I think I held my breath until I knew she managed to do it, until I knew she was safe. My heart pounded and I was chanting ‘be safe’ in my head.

Enter Jax….and what an entry, I fell in love with this gentle but fierce giant of a man.

“It’s all in the eyes. No one can hide what lies there, but it takes someone special to be able to see it…”

He happens across Ella near the Women’s refuge where he works and which is run by his Mum. He sees an ‘Angel’ and brings her home. I just knew this was it, didn’t you Jenny, he’d keep her safe; he’d help her heal. But it wasn’t an easy journey for Ella who lives day to day not daring to plan ahead, the only plan being surviving. Nor was it an easy one for Jax really either. It was fraught with drama and violence; fear and issues of trust.

“…from the pits of despair they shall rise stronger.”

There was so much beauty in the midst of the ugly. I had tremendous respect for Ella, she was so strong and independent yet so very broken inside. She had been beaten down; a woman living in a shell trying to survive whilst running from pain and violence. Trying re-build a sense of normality. Just trying to live life; a basic right. Just wanting to feel safe.

“These were mine, I pointed to the light scars that laced my forearms like a horrifying web of pain. They were my lowest point….I pointed to the deep ugly scars on each wrist. This was him. He drugged me, and he cut me. He told me it was to prove that he owned me and controlled me.”

Her story really broke my heart and made me fall in love with her saviour Jax who’s got his own demons!!

Wasn’t Jax an amazing man Jenny?! A heart of pure gold, a patience that knew no end and a protective streak and humanity that was proven time and time again. He was a hero in so many ways wasn’t he?!

“Please let me protect you…”

So yeah, I loved this story, I only had a few issues of the middle dragging and the 4 missing years, but overall I thought this was a beautiful and gut-wrenching story of overcoming a horrific past, healing and giving and accepting love and trust.

“I don’t really know what normal is….”

Jenny:  Jax was certainly amazing Gitte, and like you, I had so much respect for Ella.  This girl was indeed a survivor.  Ella had  suffered and been made to feel insignificant at the hands of a cruel and evil man.  Marcus…grrrr I hated that man with a passion.  But Ella is made of stern stuff and would make the the choice that might eventually save her life when she finally escapes Marcus’s clutches. Jax would enter her life at a time she was at her lowest. He would offer her the salvation she so desperately craved.

“That’ s it angel. You’re safe.”

Hearing both voices via the alternative POV’s really did allow me to connect with both Ella and Jax. Each had such an engaging voice and I found myself looking forward both POV’s equally.

Ella was such a troubled girl, but she showed such strength and courage and this girl would not be  broken. Her past has made her vulnerable and her lack of self esteem is understandable considering what she had experienced but Ella always fought through.

Jax…..Gitte, you know how much I loved this man.  He had forged his own battles, fought them and instead of becoming jaded, he became the saviour of so many and especially Ella who would also have his heart.

“And this.” He pressed his hand over my chest, right over my heart. “this is the most beautiful thing in existence.”

This man brought me to my knees. He was so beautiful inside and out. This mountain of a man with the kind and giving heart completely won me over.

I would have no hesitation in recommending Saving Ella. .  I was completely invested, I loved the main characters and secondary characters and can’t wait to devour more of their stories in the next instalment of the Mercy’s Angels series.  As each book is about different characters, this can be read as a stand alone.

Gitte:  4 Stars
Jenny: 4 Stars


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