The story of a man who desperately needs forgiveness and the woman who brings him hope.

WITHERING HOPE by LAYLA HAGEN is available to purchase below 


Withering Hope


Aimee’s wedding is supposed to turn out perfect. Her dress, her fiancé and the location—the idyllic holiday ranch in Brazil—are perfect.

But all Aimee’s plans come crashing down when the private jet that’s taking her from the U.S. to the ranch—where her fiancé awaits her—defects mid-flight and the pilot is forced to perform an emergency landing in the heart of the Amazon rainforest.

With no way to reach civilisation, being rescued is Aimee and Tristan’s—the pilot—only hope. A slim one that slowly withers away, desperation taking its place. Because death wanders in the jungle under many forms: starvation, diseases. Beasts.

As Aimee and Tristan fight to find ways to survive, they grow closer. Together they discover that facing old, inner agonies carved by painful pasts takes just as much courage, if not even more, than facing the rainforest.

Despite her devotion to her fiancé, Aimee can’t hide her feelings for Tristan—the man for whom she’s slowly becoming everything. You can hide many things in the rainforest. But not lies. Or love.

Withering Hope is the story of a man who desperately needs forgiveness and the woman who brings him hope. It is a story in which hope births wings and blooms into a love that is as beautiful and intense as it is forbidden. 

Withering Hope

Jointly Reviewed by Jenny & Gitte

✯✯✯✯1/2 Emotional Stars

“Every person means the world to someone. That makes us vulnerable, but it also makes life a gift. I had no one who could give me that gift. Now I do.”

Well wasn’t this story a surprise and a half! We were really looking forward to getting stuck in after being intrigued by the synopsis. Aimee is on her way in a private jet to marry her best friend Chris on a holiday ranch in Brazil. Sadly, disaster strikes when the jet crashes into the depths of the rainforest taking Tristan – the pilot and Aimee with it.

“I used to believe that the experiences life throws at us shape us. Now I think that it’s the way we cope with what life throws our way that shapes us.”

Aimee plans everything in her life, but this was one situation no one was prepared for. A rescue seems nowhere in sight and with the dangers of the unknown perils of the jungle; how long will any hope of survival last? Whilst the desperation, the angst, betrayal and the terror is at a high; a sudden protective love of the soul mate kind emerges.

‘Being on the brink of losing everything had the remarkable power of setting me free.’

Fighting for survival in the jungle brings fighting for the truth; self – realisation and discovery as well as true love and the journey is fraught with a passionate intensity and building emotions. Whilst ‘practical and sensible’ Aimee fights with her conscience she realises she cannot deny her truth. And Tristan, the stoic quiet force of a man who has a secret past and hidden feeling learns to open up and trust. Well, the beauty and the pure romance shone in the latter part of Withering Hope.

‘Tristan slipped into my soul the way mist travels in the forest after the rain: unseen, unstoppable, and ubiquitous.’

“You don’t need anyone. You’re like a star, Aimee. Stars shine from within. They don’t need anything else.”

So we have to be honest and say that we really struggled with Layla Hagen’s writing style in the beginning. Due to the significant lack of dialogue, the pacing and almost statement like sentences as well as being told the story rather than feeling a part of it, well, we just didn’t connect nor did we feel much of the emotion displayed by the characters Tristan and Aimee.  At one point we were even sadly thinking of putting it aside for another day as it seemed we hadn’t actually really learnt anything about our characters which ultimately prevented us to feel anything for them or feel involved in the story…..

“Because I’ve found something here I’ve never had before. Hope. You gave it to me. And I have you here. You’re more than I’ve ever had, and more than I’ll ever wish for.”

Then…..THEN…..everything changed somewhere around the halfway point. It actually became so incredibly intense and emotional we had tears leading to complete ugly crying which lasted long after finishing.  The story became utterly captivating and so powerful an alarm could have gone off next to us and we’d be shushing it so we could finish reading. We cannot express how utterly amazed we were with how a story that wasn’t wow-ing us became everything we love. It grabbed us and demanded for us not to give up; experience and understand just how much love, pain and devotion it had to offer. And it did and we felt it! So, we say to you, if you feel like us and struggle please…please keep going because we promise you, you will fall just like we did. Aimee and Tristan’s love will burrow deep into your heart.

“I’m not a star,” I whisper. “I’m a satellite rotating around you. You’re the star. I need your light to shine.”

**Reviewed honestly from an ARC copy provided by the author, with thanks.**

♥  ♥

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