We don’t believe that our lives can change in an instant—until they do.
Olivay, widowed for a year and sleepwalking through life, meets Henry by chance. She takes him to her Los Angeles loft, thinking it will just be for the night. But the following morning, bombs detonate across the city; mayhem and carnage fill the streets; and her loft is covered in broken glass and her own blood. Henry is skittish, solicitous, and strangely distracted. Who is this man she’s marooned with as the city goes on lockdown? Why is she catching him in lie after lie? Is he somehow connected to her husband’s death and the terrorist attacks outside?
With eloquent and suspenseful prose, Olivay explores the wreckage of loss and the collision of grief, desire, and terror in its aftermath. As the characters get pushed outside their comfort zones, forced to walk the thin line between destruction and salvation, Olivay keeps readers guessing what will become of Olivay and Henry until the very end. Paperback
Published: July 7th 2015 by Lake Union Publishing
Three and a half stars: A stunning, haunting, psychological, character driven book that will leave your head spinning.
Olivay can still smell the blood and the burnt asphalt. It has been a year since a motorcyclist ran over her husband, smashing open his head and killing him on the sidewalk, as a nightgown clad, Olivay cradled his head and begged him to stay. Since then, Olivay has been living in fog, trying to overcome her grief and find her way. A bright spot occurs unexpectedly when a handsome stranger stops at her table in the cafe she frequents. He asks to join her. Normally, Olivay would decline, but something about Henry draws her to him. The two chatter happily, and Olivay begins to see light through the fog. One thing leads to another, until the moment when the two find themselves trapped in Olivay's apartment after a terrorist bomb goes off in the streets of L.A. Olivay begins to wonder who exactly is this man she is marooned with and what is he hiding?
What I Liked:
- Olivay is one of those novels I am having a hard time finding the words to describe. This is a beautifully written, suspenseful, character driven, psychological work that will keep you addictively turning the pages until the stunning finale. This isn't a book for everyone, and some people will be confused and perplexed over the ending. If you are a reader that enjoys intelligent, well written, thinking books, this is a book you should try. It is one that grabbed me and wouldn't let go until the last sentence, and even now, I am still contemplating over what happened.
- This is a book that relies heavily on suspense, tension and underlying secrets as two strangers, who are attracted to one another, are thrown into a chaotic, life and death situation, where in order to survive, they must trust each other. Yet when the pieces start to fall into place, Olivay begins to wonder how well she knows this person, and if he is telling the truth. It is slow burning book that is full of questions, secrets and mystery. It is the type of read that drops a few tidbits of intriguing information every chapter, that will make the reader want to know more. It is a read that requires patience, but if you like a good psychological read with plenty of suspense try this.
- At the heart of the story, are two emotionally damaged and psychologically scarred individuals. They are deeply flawed and in turmoil. Olivay is depressed and still reeling from the death of her husband, but was she truly happy in her marriage? Henry is more of an enigma, and the truth of his past isn't revealed until the second half, and even then, it isn't to Olivay. As the book progresses, the two learn to trust each other, to a point, and there is a strange sexual undercurrent between them. It is a dance of tension, sex and secrets that leads up to a haunting and stunning finale.
- The writing is lovely. It is full of rich descriptions and lots of details. The way the author executes the plot is brilliant and sophisticated. It moves at a slow and steady pace. With plenty of moments of terror as the attack unfolds and the disturbing aftermath. It all leads up to a moment ripe with tension, and then it ends, leaving the reader in a tailspin trying to decide the fate of the two. All I can say, is you have to read it for yourself to experience the brilliance and sophistication of the story.
And The Not So Much:
- This isn't a read for everyone. It is slow and sometimes the pace even drags as the reader is overly anxious to learn the truth. The story is complex and deep, and it all leads up to an open ending, where the reader is given all the information, and left to determine the final fate of Henry and Olivay. If you are not the type that likes a book that takes it sweet time, and leaves you wondering, this isn't for you.
- I was bothered that I never knew for sure what about Will and his actions before he died. Were Olivay's suspicions true?
- Henry still kept many of his secrets close, and I had some nagging issues with him after the book was done.
- This is such a strange story, I still can't quite put into words how I feel about it. I think what bothers me is that much of it is up to me to decipher, and I always wonder if I have truly grasped the author's intentions. I guess I will never know.....
Olivay is one of those books that will stick with me for a long time to come. It is a thought provoking, psychological journey, ripe with tension and driven by strong and interesting characters. This isn't a book for everyone, but for the savvy reader who likes a sophisticated and compelling story, this is definitely a read to take a chance on.
"Once her mother stopped abruptly, and said she should listen, try really hard to listen how the whole of life was contained in a song---the rise and fall, the violence and forgiveness, the suspense, the tension, the not knowing how it might end until you felt that very last note."
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review.
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