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Our Review

‘Della had to remember how to laugh without tears. Jacob had to learn to live without fear.’

Unrequited love. It may just be the most agonising love of all, and in The Son and His Hope, Pepper Winters sure did deliver the pain in her powerfully moving story. You name it, we felt it. Sadness, anger, frustration, heartache, and maybe, just maybe, a small twinge of hope, however fleeting it was. But our overall feeling? That would be the torment and sadness we suffered on Hope’s behalf. Hope broke our hearts. We wanted to give this beautiful girl a stern talking to, whilst at the same time hug her tightly to our chests and absorb her pain. It was torturous witnessing what Hope was put through.

“You’re Jacob Wild. The loner. The thief of hearts and the destroyer of hope.”

The Ribbon Duet is one of our all-time favourite love stories; just re-reading the quotes has the ability to send us into a flood of tears as we recall Ren and Della’s epic journey. It was unforgettable, and although satisfied with their story, we found ourselves desperate to hear more about Jacob. Feeling a closeness and love for him, we desperately needed to know if he found the type of love his parents shared and if he found the happiness we so wanted for him. We were thrilled when this book was announced.

Jacob Ren Wild was a boy born from loving parents. A couple who experienced a once in a lifetime true soulmate love, who only wanted for their son to feel the level of love they themselves had experienced and we too had an inherent need to follow Jacob through to adulthood to see how he fared.

The prologue begins from Della’s POV and it sure was a gut-wrenching start, one that saw us immediately transported back to the pain and heartbreak we felt in The Ribbon Duet, with Della’s need for her beloved son to feel love and live life emanating from the pages. A heartfelt mother’s plea for her son’s happiness and it hit our hearts.

Jacob met Hope Jacinta Murphy when they were both children – Hope was effervescent to Jacob’s surliness. These two were kindred spirits in that they had both experienced a deep loss, but whereas the loss had intrigued Hope, leaving her with a barrage of questions and why’s, Jacob’s loss had caused him to essentially shut down emotionally, afraid to let anyone in for fear of loss and pain.

“Love can sometimes be the worst weapon.”

Jacob and Hope’s paths would cross many times throughout the years with each meeting seeing Hope fall a little more for the broken Jacob, desperately wanting to be a friend and confidante for the closed off boy who preferred a solitary life in fear of losing those he loved. It’s easier to not feel than be hurt and bereft.

Hope was a beautiful soul. A sweet outgoing child, an inquisitive and caring teen, a forthright and compassionate woman who loved a man as closed off as she was open. Hope was persistent, seeing something in Jacob, feeling something in her heart that saw her continually be the butt of Jacob’s cold-heartedness and indifference.  Our hearts went out to her time and time again, and in the process, we became infuriated with Jacob’s treatment of her. The scenario of how many times can you kick a dog before its loyalty and love makes it retreat into a corner sprang to mind.

‘I tucked up the heartbeats of my pain and stored them deep in my aching chest.’

We had expected to be sobbing in the corner over Jacob’s story, to empathise with him and to connect with him on every level, knowing the loss he had endured, and there were certainly moments when this story brought us to tears, however, Jacob’s character pushed us to the limit and beyond. We love a broken and tortured hero. Now and then we even love a hero that’s a bit of an arsehole, but there is a fine line between arsehole behaviour and cruelty, and Jacob stepped over that line for us. His actions towards Hope were, for the most part, cruel and unkind, and not even his pov and inner monologue softened the blows, as his anger for Hope dripped from his thoughts. It was, at times, a bit unsettling to hear how he perceived and felt about Hope.

Now we completely understood Jacob’s unrelenting inability to open his heart for fear of pain, how the promise he made, and the weight of that responsibility weighed him down, and we absolutely understood the profound effect his loss had had on him, however, that couldn’t excuse the way he treated this poor girl who wanted nothing more than a bit of kindness and human connection.

‘Even in my hate, I wanted him.
Even in my rate, I needed him.
And that hurt me the most because my heart should be mine to command, not his to bury.’

Whereas Hope wanted to live life to the fullest Ren was afraid of living and loving in fear of losing it all, and we sympathised with Jacob’s feelings, we really did, but felt it was pushed too far, and we feared, as we moved closer to the end of the book, there could possibly be a point of no return for our feelings about Jacob. Could he redeem himself?

‘I kept people at a distance because I loved too much, not too little.’

This story was quite morose, and we felt utterly exhausted when we’d finished with tears streaming down our faces throughout, we found the need to pause now and again to calm ourselves when Jacob’s behaviour caused a wave of anger deep in our gut or profound sorrow in our hearts. Life at Cherry Hill Farm was shrouded in so much grief and sadness, mostly due to Jacob’s inability to express love, which was gutting because it should’ve been a place of warmth and love.

“Being afraid of love isn’t healthy. It will end up killing you. You have to be able to see that.”

We loved the snippets of Della and Ren and this aspect of the story was done incredibly well, as was Hope’s character. It was impossible not to love her and so every hurt she felt affected us deeply, which, bravo to Pepper Winters for writing Hope this way because we completely connected to her and felt so protective of her, hence our feelings for Jacob which wavered between sympathy and anger.

‘Why did he have to be so handsome? So brilliant? So wild.
My heart physically hurt. It wrapped itself up in a blanket of thorns, bleeding with need just to tell him.
To say thank you
I love you.
Don’t be afraid.’

We wanted to justify Jacob’s behaviour but for the most part, we couldn’t. We wanted to fully connect to Jacob, and at the beginning and near the end, we most certainly did. However, so much push/pull and sadness needed more light peppered through the story. The epilogue was stunning and beautiful, leaving us in a flood of tears, and we wish how we felt at the end had come a little sooner.

There was much we did love about this story in which Pepper Winters delivered an important message; grasp every day. The good and the bad, because every day spent with loved ones is a bonus and moment to cherish. We’re reminded to open our hearts, let love in, and to honour the memory of those who have gone by living every day to the fullest, to live in the now and choose love and happiness.

‘Be grateful for each day, even the dark ones.’


A Sweeping Standalone from New York Times Bestseller, Pepper Winters.

“Things you should know about me from the very beginning:
I was born to true love, witnessed the destruction it causes, and vowed never to let such agony happen to me. I am not a story-teller like my father. I am not a writer like my mother. I am just a son—their son.
I am happy being alone.
And that is all I ever want to be.”

The day he was born, Jacob learned his hardest and longest lesson.
It wasn’t a lesson a boy should learn so young, but from his earliest memories he knew where happiness lives, so does tragedy. Where love exists, so does heartbreak. And where hope resides, so does sorrow.
That lesson carved him from the kid to the teen to the man.
And nothing and no one could change his mind.

I first met him when he was fourteen at a movie premiere of all places. A movie based on his parent’s life.
He was stoic, strong, suspicious, and secretive.
I was only ten, but I felt something for him. A strange kind of sorrow that made me want to hug and heal him.
I was the daughter of the actor hired to play his father.
We shared similarities.
I recognised parts of him because they were parts of me.
But no matter how many times we met. No matter how many times I tried.
He stayed true to his vow to never fall.

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