Author: Sarah Buhl

Book: quintessence.

tl;dr recommendation: This book entered my veins and made me feel.

Book Blurb:

Think about a time in your life when everything was perfect, and it felt as though nothing could go wrong. Life fell into planned alignment. All of the ideas and hopes held most important organized as books on a shelf. Each book held a title bearing a phase in life and within its pages laid the plan for the future.

Now imagine life throwing something at that shelf—everything planned, everything hoped for, everything organized, now turning over as the shelf falls to the floor.

Fear of the unknown replaces the hope for a perfect future.

Karl Samson is not a stranger to roadblocks and disruptions in life. Having for a time let them consume his thoughts, he now lives life learning from his trials. He is the guy everyone thinks is a little off, even though his friends love him for it. He is the one helping others. He didn’t set out one day to find love—he was doing what he usually did.

Maggie Presley achieves, and that is what she is known for—her determination to move ahead. Then, she is faced with something even the most meticulous planner could not foresee. Maggie believed she knew what life held for her because she could create her future. However, life had other plans, and she learns that even the worst of circumstances have unexpected outcomes after you are reminded of life’s beauty. This is a story of life and how sometimes it takes a reorganization of shelves to find the future. It’s a story of love found even during the darkest points in life.

Longer Review:

This is going to be a bit more serious than my normal sarcastic review, but that’s because this book IS serious. It’s also seriously great.

While reading this my feelings slammed around my chest causing this incredible sense of peace combined with the worst sense of ache. Talk about an all consuming love. I could feel the love: it’s innocence, how it transcended all other things and how it wrapped it’s hands around Karl and Maggie to push them together. Their love was beautiful, heartbreaking and so fucking pure. Not in the virgin kind of way, but in the clean and whole kind of way.

This is a story about two people who are suffering but who choose not to suffer. That’s sort of awesome, right? I mean, these people have some seriously heavy shit hanging around them but refuse to get pulled into the depths of it. Instead, they choose to look around them and be thankful. They choose to fall in love. They choose each other.

This isn’t one of those she leaves him or he leaves her books because one of them said something stupid and then they go for weeks angry based on some stupid misunderstanding. No. You feel the love building for these two in this amazing way into a crescendo. There’s not a pinnacle dramatic moment, it’s a lot of little dramatic moments.

You should know that if you can’t handle reading about the realities of what veterans go through, then don’t read this book. [gets on soapbox] But you should. You really fucking should. [gets off soapbox]. Karl’s a veteran and he’s trying to figure out how to coincide the person he once was with the person he now is. This is raw. This is real. This is truth. This book gives some of the best insight into the inner workings of a veteran’s mind than I ever could. I know this because I could see my husband in Karl. In every heartbreaking, beautiful word.

Karl’s journey intertwines with Maggie’s as if they were presented to each other at the perfect time in their lives. They soon discover that they simply work better together. Some may think that this book is too much in that it talks about feelings a whole fucking lot. But I don’t think we see this type of love enough. I love a book about a quick fuck as much as the next girl, but this book entered my veins and made me feel.

Karl is steadfast and amazing while Maggie is determined and strong. They balance each other when they need balancing and they hold each other when they need holding. It’s good. It’s so so fucking good. There’s not a ton of sex, but there’s more love than you can imagine. Some of the writing felt a little stilted to me, but on the whole I succumbed to All The Feels while reading this, which is why it gets 4.75 stars. This book is gorgeous.

[I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review]