River Wild by Samantha Towle
25 years old Annie Coombs leaves behind a violent and abusive husband hoping that her new self, under the name of Carrie Ford, will be able to build a good life for herself and the baby she’s expecting.
River Wild has known abuse too, while he was too young to escape it.
He carries a burden that weights down on him with shame, guilt and pain.
He keeps everyone at a distance because he’s afraid people will hurt him but Carrie Ford is different.
She’s good and kind even when he doesn’t deserve it and, little by little, she finds a way into his heart.
The prologue is heartbreaking and I respect the author so much for her trigger warning at the beginning of the book.
Without giving away the specifics, she gives a fair warning of subject such as child abuse, being part of the story.
I’ll give away a little bit more than she did to share my experience with this book, but I’ll definitely not reveal any major plot point in doing so.
The hero was abused when he was 5 years old.
The heroine was abused and raped by her husband.
I stopped fearing for my own life a long time ago.
When you no longer fear death but wish for it, you have nothing to lose. But, now, I’m having a baby; it’s not just my life anymore. I owe it to my child to give him or her the best chance in life.
It’s heartbreaking that she had given up for her own life but her resolution for the child she carries, is a testament of her inner strength still being there, under all the pain, sorrow and lost hopes.
I was a bit put off by a few things that follow her escape though:
▪ She’s running away and, instead of taking multiple busses to make tracing her movements more difficult, she just takes the first bus out to Texas and immediately settles in. Also everything runs way too smoothly (house, job and new life adjustments too easily dealt with)
▪ During her first meal out in town, a stranger tells her:
“Can I just say …” she continues. “And I’m only saying this with you being new to town and not knowing anyone, but decaf tea … there’s usually only one reason a woman round here drinks anything decaf, and that’s because she’s pregnant.
Yeah… a slim woman you’ve never met drinks decaf tea and THE FIRST THOUGHT that comes to mind is “hey, you must be pregnant! “
▪ The scene where River runs over her groceries? Unnecessary.
▪ Annie’s ways of avoiding crass language saying things like “fudge” or “C-U-Next-Tuesdays” was fun at first but soon became annoying.
All that said, I truly enjoyed Anne and River together.
My friend Alex said in her review that “he is an asshole to her while she kills him with kindness”.
It was well said and I actually believe that’s exactly why they fit perfectly together.
Annie truly ends up “killing” the asshole part of River showing him he’s worthy of love and kindness.
A man that went through what River did and lost complete faith in humanity and buried himself under so much guilt for so long… no other way to bring him back to life than meeting someone like Annie.
A sweet woman that had survived abuse and whose soul wasn’t tainted by all the ugliness.
I woman that knows pain but also love.
She’s never a pushover nor a doormat.
She always stands up to River, she knows she can speak up and he’ll never hurt her because of it and that’s a major thing for a woman who’s been hurt the way she has.
They push and pull, their exchanges sometimes fun and always filled with their chemistry.
I open my eyes. He’s staring straight into mine. Those dark depths of his are wide open to me in a way they’ve never been before.
Then, he closes them.
And presses his mouth to mine.
The softest of touches.
His lips brush over mine.
I sigh, parting my lips.
His tongue runs along the seam.
I curl my fingers in his shirt.
“Jesus, Carrie,” he groans.
I feel that groan everywhere.
He cradles my face in those big, talented hands of his and fits his mouth over mine.
My toes curl into the rug beneath my feet.
He kisses me hard and soft, all at the same time.
He kisses me like it’s all he’s ever wanted.
He touches me with reverence.
Like it matters.
Like I matter.
Buddy, a dog Annie adopts, was A GREAT addition to the story and the way she fusses over him…
“He needs a coat? Right now?” He glances over at my feet where the coat among Buddy’s other things sit.
“Yes. He might get cold.”
He looks at the temperature gauge in the car and then to me.
It’s currently sixty-five degrees.
“Fine. He won’t get cold right now. But he might get cold at some point.”
“He has fur, Red. That’s what it’s there for. And you do realize that you live in Texas.”
“Okay, so he might not need the coat, but it’s cute.”
Even though I wished the plot had less clichés (especially in the epilogue) and the ending wasn’t as rushed, I truly enjoyed the time I spent with Carrie and River.
Turning to me, he cups his hand around the back of my head and leans his forehead against mine. I close my eyes and breathe him in.
“Thank you,” he whispers.
“For being here. For being you.”
⭐ 3.5 Stars ⭐
~ My Ratings ~
Triggers: Child Abuse, Violence against women, Rape, Heroine is pregnant with husband/abuser’s child and falls in love with Hero while being still technically married to the scumbag she ran away from, Hero recalls in vivid details his first time in high school, explicit scenes.
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