Author: T.K. Leigh
Published by: Carpe Per Diem, Inc
Date published: Nov. 3, 2014
Book Length: 313 pages
Steam Rating: Steamy
Main Characters: Marley & Cameron
“This story is an emotional roller-coaster that will grip you from page one and will not let you go…even after you reach the end.” ~Becca
From the stars to the ocean…
That was Marley and Cameron Bowen’s secret code.
Twins born just five minutes apart, they have the perfect life… Until tragedy strikes just weeks after their eighth birthday and their father is killed by a drunk driver. Having trouble coping with the loss of her soul mate, their mother tries to find comfort in drugs and alcohol… And an abusive man with a penchant for underage girls.
No longer able to stand listening to his sister’s screams and cries every night for nearly three years, Cam takes matters into his own hands and they’re finally able to escape the nightmare.
They’re finally able to start over…
But the nightmare still haunts Marley. The years go on and she is forced to put on a smile, making everyone think that she is the perfect, well-adjusted teenager that she is supposed to be… Until she is faced with a painful reminder of her past during her senior year of high school and she’s no longer able to keep on the mask that she has been compelled to wear.
Heart Of Marley is a prequel novel to T.K. Leigh’s Heart Of Light.
RECOMMENDED FOR AGES 18 AND OVER DUE TO GRAPHIC VIOLENCE, STRONG LANGUAGE, AND SEXUAL SITUATIONS.
Guys…I honestly don’t even know where to begin with my review of Heart of Marley.
This book was so damn raw…
so real and honest and just plain heart-wrenching!
I literally spent the last 20% of Heart of Marley reading through constant tears!! I have not read a book that had such a strong effect on me in a very long time.
The subject matter is deep and dark but sadly realistic. The life that Marley and Cam have lived is more ‘normal’ than anyone would like to believe. Having dealt with abuse as a child, I found parts of this book very therapeutic and some parts extremely difficult to get through. The thoughts running through Marley’s head…the way she wore a mask to hide the truth…I’ve been there and hell even after all these years I still have days where I’m there.
I have to say that I was very surprised by the religious aspect of the book. I loved that T.K. gave a more realistic view of this situation than most books do. The first time I read the line ‘Turn to Him and He will help you through it. God is the only therapy you need.’ (Not word for word what T.K. wrote but you get the gist.) I honestly cringed. I always hate it when books/movies make it seem like therapy is a bad thing. I want to scream at the world and the people that have made that stigma a reality. Some things hurt…some things scar…and there are some things that you NEED to get help for and there is NOTHING wrong with that!
When T.K. took this horrible subject matter and managed to show the world the truth behind the lies…the damage that not seeking help can cause…I lost it. I have never wanted to find an author and thank them so much in my life. Heart of Marley gives girls, boys, women and men a voice and makes it clear that admitting that you need help is not a weakness it is a strength. Bottling your thoughts and feelings inside and hiding the truth from the world doesn’t help anyone. (Hell, just writing this review has me tearing up again….)
I want to stop my review right here and now and say one thing to T.K. Leigh if she reads this…Thank you! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your words, for this story, for taking the time to write something so difficult. Thank you for giving me a voice and reminding me that it’s okay to show your scars and it’s okay to ask for help. Thank you so very much for this book (as well as Heart of Light, that was just as amazing).
Okay, sorry for that guys…back to my review.
I’m not going to go into too much detail with the story line because honestly there isn’t much I can say that won’t be a spoiler. Cam and Marley are such amazingly developed characters. T.K. did an excellent job of depicting what someone growing up in this situation would be like. Everything felt realistic and was extremely well written. This story is an emotional roller-coaster that will grip you from page one and will not let you go…even after you reach the end.
Heart of Marley left me bawling and yet so deeply moved that I had to know more. I had to read Heart of Light and see what came next. If you can’t tell already, I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone and everyone that has a chance to read it.
T.K. Leigh, otherwise known as Tracy Leigh Kellam, is the USA Today Best Selling author of the Beautiful Mess series. Originally from New England, she now resides in sunny Southern California with her husband, dog and three cats, all of which she has rescued (including the husband). She always had a knack for writing, but mostly in the legal field. It wasn’t until recently that she decided to try her hand at creative writing and is now addicted to creating different characters and new and unique story lines in the Contemporary Romantic Suspense genre. When she’s not planted in front of her computer, writing away, she can be found running and training for her next marathon (of which she has run over fifteen fulls and far too many halfs to recall). Unlike Olivia, the main character in her Beautiful Mess series, she has yet to qualify for the Boston Marathon.
Twenty Fun Facts
1. I wear a shirt when I write that has Shakespeare’s face on it and says “This shit writes itself.”
2. I am a middle child. I have a sister that is two years older and a sister that is two years younger.
3. My favorite movie of all time is Casablanca.
4. When I was 21, I did an internship working at Walt Disney World. Best seven months EVER!
5. I met my husband in the parking lot of a Jimmy Buffett concert. He was working. I was drinking.
6. My favorite beer is Blue Moon.
7. I love the Red Sox.
8. Every time I publish a new book, I drink champagne and watch Anchorman and Talladega Nights. It’s a tradition now.
9. When I was moving out to California from Connecticut after graduating law school, the hubs and I drove route 66 all the way from Chicago to the Santa Monica Pier. It was such an amazing experience, and I think there may be a book in it.
10. My pen name is a play on my real name. My full name is Tracy Leigh Kellam. I don’t think I need to spell out where T.K. Leigh came from. 😉
11. I have a yellow jeep wrangler that I love. Her name is Savvy J.
12. In my opinion, there is no such thing as too much coffee. Or peanut butter.
13. I am a sushi addict.
14. I am deathly afraid of snakes. I can’t even watch a movie with them in it or I’ll flip out.
15. My favorite New Kid on the Block was Donnie. I’m glad I picked one that aged well.
16. I am a huge proponent of “Adopt, don’t shop.” We have a dog and 3 kittens, all of whom we have found on the streets and saved.
17. One of my favorite TV shows is Arrested Development.
18. My favorite book of all time is The Great Gatsby. What can I say. I’m a sucker for a story with no HEA.
19. I currently have 8 works in progress.
20. You will all be seeing Cam and Jolene again. 😉
“Thanks for asking me to come. I mean, tonight… I mean, for asking me to go to the bonfire with you. Not for asking me to come. That doesn’t sound right.” My face flamed red with embarrassment.
He smiled at me and winked. “No but, if you ask me, it sounds good.”
I halted in my tracks, completely frozen in place. I can do this, I said to myself. He was just joking. He doesn’t mean anything by it. It’s just a harmless joke, Marley. Just a joke.
He noticed my reaction and turned to face me on the street. “I’m so sorry, Marley. That was completely inappropriate. I don’t know what possessed me to say that. That’s not the way my mama raised me. I really am a good guy. I normally wouldn’t joke like that. You’ve got to believe that I didn’t mean anything by it. Please.” He slumped his shoulders, the formerly confident Doug replaced by a Doug that was full of remorse. “I understand if you don’t want to come with me.”
My eyes grew wide, more in irony than dread or concern.
“I mean, you don’t have to go to the bonfire with me. God, I really hate that word right now.”
I giggled. “Me, too.” I raised my head and met his pleading eyes. I could tell that he was bracing for me to turn around and walk away from him, but that was the last thing I wanted to do.
“Come. Say it with me. Come…” I said to him. “It feels good.” Throwing my head back to look at the stars in the sky, I shouted to the heavens, “Come!” I raised my arms like an angel and spun around, screaming the word over and over again. I must have looked like a spectacle, but I didn’t care. I didn’t want one word to come between what could blossom into a good thing with Doug.
I slowed my spins, but the sky kept moving even when I stopped. I attempted to regain my balance, but soon found myself tripping over my own feet.
Two arms were around me instantly, preventing me from falling to the ground. “Whoa. Careful, Marley Jane.”
I closed my eyes and basked at the sound of his voice calling me Marley Jane. Cam called me that all the time, but there was something so warm, affectionate, and thrilling about my first and middle name rolling off Doug’s tongue. Focusing my gaze on his, I was met with his brilliant green eyes.
“Hey,” I breathed.
“You still haven’t said it.”
He scrunched his eyebrows at me. “Said what?”
A grin crossed my face. “Come.”