Thank you to the publisher who gifted me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
When Gemma meets Aaron it is the first time she feels truly seen. Their love story is of the intense variety, the love-at-first-sight kind and excluding-all-others kind. The kind of love story that you would write songs about.
Bit by bit their relationship takes over Gemma’s life. What happened to you when being seen becomes being watched and care becomes control?
I began reading this book on a 4 hours plane journey and the time flew by thanks to this book. This is one of the first books in a long time that I didn’t want to put down because not only had the story captured me but I had to know what was going to happen next.
This book tackles emotional abuse and relationships head on. It also delves very deeply into how a seemingly perfect relationship is far from it. Viewing the love story as an outsider it is very easy to become frustrated with Gemma not being able to see any red flags in her relationship. This book shows that when you are in a relationship like Gemma’s the red flags can be hard to see. Having sadly been in an emotionally abusive relationship in the past this book felt very similar to my own relationship and made me realise how blinded I was to be in that relationship.
Both Gemma and Aaron are extremely important characters and they are representative of so many different people in the world. Gemma has a strong and emotive voice. I saw so much of myself as a teenager in her, not only that but I know of so many other people who will relate to her, her story and her friendship group. Gemma is a character I will be thinking about for years to come.
Aaron is someone I am now scared of. He is a guy I was in a relationship with 5 years ago. 5-years-ago me fell for the lies, promises and just thought it was normal. Although Aaron wasn’t exactly the same as the guy I was with he is very very similar. I don’t want to mention much about his character because going into this book it is good to have fresh eyes on his character. There are so many more characters in this book I enjoyed reading about but you will have to see for yourself!
The most terrifying part about the plot of this story is the short amount of time that it takes up. This is one of the main things behind a toxic relationship and it is shocking how quickly you can get caught up in one. As this story is shown as part of a fictional plot, it allows the readers to consider their views from a safe environment. I am also hopeful that this book allows readers to recognise worrying behaviour. I am also hopeful that it will ensure that other readers won’t be sucked into a relationship like Gemma and Aaron’s.
The subplot of this story is also wonderful. I loved reading about Gemma, her country singing and the competition she was in. This subplot allows you to see the real Gemma and you can really see how much she is being controlled by Aaron.
Once again Karen Gregory has captured me with her words. She always manages to give her characters authentic and extremely relatable voices. I thoroughly enjoyed that this story was told from the perspectives of Gemma and Aaron. It added another aspect to the story to read from Aaron’s point of view. Karen has written a book that teenage me needed when she was in the same situation. I am hoping that this book falls into the hands of people who need it most.
I Hold Your Heart is an extremely important book and has so many important messages throughout. These about what love should be and what you should expect to give and get in a relationship, reasonably. It also shows how fast a relationship can spiral to being controlling and abusive. It shows how easy it can be for you to be caught up in a relationship like this and how hard it can be to get out of one.
I am going to be recommending this book to so many people because it is a story that people need to read but also a story that sadly many people will relate to.
This post was a part of the I Hold Your Heart blog tour! Be sure to check out the other posts in this tour!