Review: Collared by Nicole Williams

My Thoughts

Compelling and poignant—a testament of tenacity,
resilience and the healing power of a once-in-a-lifetime love.

4halfstars

Synopsis

Mar-22When a seventeen-year-old girl vanishes,
A community is shaken.
Parents turn desperate.
Friends hold vigils.
And the boy who loves her searches.

When a year goes by,
The community is recovering.
Parents feel hopeless.
Friends feel helpless.
And the boy who loves her continues his search.

When ten years go by,
The community has forgotten.
Parents cling to the past.
Friends move toward the future.
And the boy who loves her . . .

Brings her home.

Jade Childs spent ten years in captivity, but now that she’s back, the real battle for survival begins. The media shadows her. Flashbacks haunt her. Her old life evades her. Her so-called new life rejects her. She spent too many years in the dark to recognize the light. She spent too long repressing her feelings to remember how to express them. She spent a decade abandoning hope and cannot dare letting it back into her life. Jade’s not just defined by what happened to her—she’s collared to it.

When the twenty-seven-year-old woman is found,
A community wants to know the story,
Parents want to forget the story,
Friends want to be a part of the story,
And the man who still loves her faces the greatest challenge yet: letting her go.

My Review

Nicole Williams delivers a compelling story of one girl’s journey back from captivity. A life stolen, a future hijacked, hope vanquished. Jade Childs spent ten years chained to a life she had not chosen. For too long her identity was suppressed, her feelings shut off, bright memories pushed to the dark recesses of her mind. She was a girl fractured by fate, who never thought she’d find a way back home.

“He’d broken me… My will, my spirit, my soul, whatever you call it. All of it. He broke it.”

We first meet Jade at seventeen—spirited and in love with her boyfriend Torrin. He was her anchor, her everything. They’d promised each other a forever full of happiness, laughter and love.

Until the night she was taken. She wouldn’t see Torrin again for a decade.

“That girl, that life—that boy—they’re all gone.”

The Jade that emerged was a different girl—a shadow of who she was. A war of emotions consumed her as she struggled to connect with her former life, with her family.

“Find an emotional tether. Someone you trusted before and someone you can trust now. A person who can connect you to your past but can pilot you into the future. Someone who can pull you back from the ledge when you find it and from the dark when it finds you. Find that person, hold on tight, and don’t let go.”

But the boy she loved so deeply, so long ago, understood her still… in a way no one else could. Everything had changed, however, and despite how much she needed Torrin, she would have to let him go. The man who’d taken her had stolen their happy ever after too.

With every day she worked through, Torrin was there by her side, tempting old habits and barely restrained emotions. Their love was epic, palpable. Their togetherness felt so wonderfully right despite the ever-present challenges.

We see this fractured girl struggle to pick up the pieces of herself, but ultimately find the courage to forge a new life after the unimaginable.

Williams is a master when it comes to chemistry and connection. I felt deeply invested in Jade and Torrin from the beginning. The story unravels in ways that made my heart ache. Unexpected surprises make the complicated more complicated. Yet I rooted for her, rooted for them, rooted for a happy ending in all its glory… they deserved it. The story concludes probably in the way it should, happy and hopeful but laced with a heartfelt pang difficult to let go.

Jade’s story is poignant, dynamic and complicated. I loved the underlying message of resilience and hope. Loved the evocative writing. The novel quickly reminded me why I love to read books by Nicole Williams—she consistently delivers deeply felt romance in stories that are unique, gripping and unforgettable.

“So you sacrificed your whole life for me?”…

“I’d sacrifice this life and every life I have coming for you.”

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