Standalone – emotional story of loss, second chance at love and friendship

TBB 5 Star Rec


Memories are precious, and for Sian Bennett, they are fleeting. On 22 February 2011, a 6.3 magnitude earthquake rocks Christchurch, New Zealand. Sian was there, along with her husband and baby son. What happened that day is a mystery; all she remembers is waking up in hospital five months later, alone.

Two long years pass, and the memories continue to disappear into the black hole that was opened up the day of the quake. Life becomes a perilous journey lived on a tightrope that stretches between the past and the present. Retreating to a lakeside cottage in Rotorua, she shies away from a world she no longer understands.

When Luke Lancaster moves into the derelict cottage beyond the trees, he respects his reclusive neighbour’s silent plea for privacy. Now half a world away from his native North Carolina, he has seen war, misery and chaos. Along with his dog, Geezer, he lives with a few ghosts of his own.

What begins as a fragile friendship leads to a much deeper connection, in which truth, lies, love and pain are intimately bound. Even in paradise, shadows lurk.

A slow-burning tale of loss and love, stoked in the flames of fate and superstition, it is ignited by the power of hope.

Available to purchase below:

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Reviewed by Jenny & Gitte

In the Shadow of Satellites

“I don’t’ know how you feel. No one does but you. That’s all yours, just like what happened to me is all mine. But I know what it feels like to try so hard to keep it together when you’re really falling apart.”

This is our second book by Amanda Dick and once again, we found ourselves moved implicitly by her words. In The Shadow Of Satellites is an emotional story of love, loss and hope, and it’s a story we felt with every ounce of our hearts.

You know you’re on a good thing when you realise you’ve highlighted an author’s stunning words from the very first page. When you’re instantly gripped into a story that hits your heart so readily you find an instant connection to the characters and ache for their welfare, there’s no greater feeling.

‘They’re together. I’m not with them, but at least they’re together. It’s a small comfort, but it’s all I have.’

Sian Bennett has known profound loss. An earthquake claimed the lives of her beloved husband James, and their treasured son, leaving Sian to grieve their loss every day. Not only that, but Sian had the added pain of missing a chance to say goodbye, having life go on around her whilst she lay in a coma for five months, waking up to find her life had irrevocably and devastatingly changed forever.

‘I died once. We all did, all three of us. The only difference is I came back. I didn’t get a choice.’

Two years later, twenty seven year old Sian is living an isolated existence, spending her days reliving her memories. With the exception of weekend visits from her best friend Ana, Sian spends her days on her own, locked in her grief. It’s thanks to the strength, love, loyalty and determination of Ana, that Sian is able to exist in the present. Although still preferring to stay in the past, Sian manages to get through one day at a time, knowing she needs to move on but if living in the present means leaving her treasured memories behind….she just can’t do it.

‘A scar is a reminder of something that once hurt you. What do you call that which continues to do so, long after the physical evidence has healed?’

On one of Ana’s visits they meet Sian’s neighbour Luke Lancaster. Luke, an American, also prefers the solitude the island in New Zealand provides for him, as he too has suffered loss, carrying the pain and burden of his time in the army on active duty.  A friendship develops and a lot of honesty and willingness to trust is shared between Luke and Sian as love blossoms and takes hold.

‘I wake with the sun and go to sleep with the moon, but the in-between is what’s killing me.’

Despite his own pain and loss, Luke was so intuitive to Sian’s feelings, he understood her and in doing offered the glimpse of happiness Sian so desperately sought. The pull between them was powerful, it tender, moving, sad and so astonishingly beautiful.

‘The air of vulnerability that I rarely see surrounding him is suddenly neon. He battles demons just like I do, only he does it silently.’

Amanda Dick has written a beautifully emotion driven story, a true meeting of damaged hearts. Her words elicited such alluring vision and heartfelt sentiment, hitting every piece of our hearts. She vividly describes her scenes yet never allows over descriptiveness to overpower her story. The atmospheric feel of her setting was breathtaking; we were there, in that little cottage with Sian and Luke, living and breathing their story, putting our hearts on the line right along with them.

A stunning slow burn romance, a potent and beautiful story brought to life with meticulous detail and whilst there was an insurmountable sadness throughout the story, it never felt draining because at the crux was a story where we experienced the complexities of healing, the strength of the human spirit and the power of the heart to love again. A definite recommendation from us!

‘I can’t forget, because I don’t want to forget. Forgetting is what scares me. Remembering is everything.’

 * * * *

TBB Also recommends by Aamanda Dick
“We make sense, somehow. I don’t know how, but we do.”

The Trouble with Paper Planes


I’ve always believed in what I can see, what I can hear and what I can touch. Surfing was my religion and destiny was just a fairy-tale. But one summer, over ten days during the hottest February on record, all that changed. I found hope – the kind of hope that sustains you, even when you don’t want to be sustained.

The night Emily disappeared, I was branded. She became the girl on the ‘missing’ posters, and I became the one trying to keep everyone from falling apart. I thought that somehow it would keep me from being devoured by the emptiness inside me. Five years later, I was beginning to appreciate how deluded I really was.

Then Maia showed up. New in town, with a past as mysterious as she was, she reminded me so much of Emily that I couldn’t stand to be anywhere near her. What I didn’t realise was that there were forces at play that neither of us could possibly understand.

It takes a determined soul to alter destiny. There is a loophole, a back door, and the events that unfolded during those ten days showed me how that loophole can change everything. 

Do you believe in fate? If so, let me tell you my story. If not, what happened to me might change your mind.

Available to purchase below:

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