Hold Me Close by Megan Hart
Released: November 24, 2015
Reviewed by Mandi
This book hurt. I mean, it was amazing and I loved it, but it made my insides hurt. It made me feel all the things, as only Megan Hart can do. A big thank you to Pamela, who texted me and said – omg read this book – and at that time I didn’t even know there was a new Megan Hart book out. She warned me it was a tough read. I needed someone to hold me close as I read it.
This book tells the story of Effie and Heath, who were strangers until the day Effie was kidnapped as a young teenager by a man she was forced to call Daddy. Daddy kidnapped her right off the street at 3pm, drugged her and threw her into a dark, dank basement where a teenage boy named Heath already was. For the next three years, these two lived in this basement. They were drugged constantly, fed food (if any at all) that had drugs or other very disgusting things in it. Forced to live in their own filth. While Effie was not sexually assaulted by Daddy, Heath was made to do sex acts on other random drugged women and he was often beaten horribly. During these three years, Effie and Heath fell in love. They were all they had.
After the rescue, Effie and Heath continued their relationship, but with the trauma they went through, their life was greatly altered. Their relationship goes through ups and downs over the years. The book starts with them as adults. Effie even has a teenage daughter. She isn’t married, she still sleeps with Heath, but they aren’t in a relationship. And this is the crux of the book. Heath and Effie love each other. A love so deep, it’s hard for them to truly understand it. Heath wants to give up the world and live with Effie and her daughter Polly (Heath is not Polly’s father) forever. But Effie….oh Effie. She is afraid she only loves Heath because that is all she knew for three years in that basement. The only person she spoke to day after day, night after night was Heath. She doesn’t trust their love. She feels like she needs to date other men, and experience what it feels like to fall in love – a normal way.
That was the thing about love, though, wasn’t it? When you loved somebody, you wanted to give them everything you could. You wanted what was best for them, no matter what. You wanted them to move beyond what was awful and terrible, beyond anything that had ever hurt them. She would never be able to do that for him, nor he for her. They would forever and always be a reminder to each other of all the things Effie wanted them both to be able to forget.
The book flashes all over the place. Present day, in the past when Effie and Heath are being held captive, in the past after they are rescued. It really gives a deep insight into Effie’s life. How her relationship with her mother suffered so much after she came back home. How extremely altered her life is that as an adult, she still can’t eat something that she doesn’t see made, not trusting there isn’t something horrible inside of it. But all the while, she is this great mom who has a tremendous painting career. Megan Hart does such an amazing job at writing Effie. Her complexities are fascinating. She is stubborn, broken, loving, sad. And the angst – my god the angst. Heath wants her so badly, but Effie is so tormented and broken. So they try to live separately but it HURTS.
“I miss you, Heath.”
He’d closed his eyes to her kiss but opened them at her words. “Good. I hope it fucking kills you. Every day.”
And Heath breaks my heart some more:
“Haunt me,” he whispered. “Make me crazy for the rest of my life. But please, Effie. Don’t leave me. Just let me love you.”
“I don’t think I can…”
You are killing me Effie!!!
And while she loves Heath, she dates other men, as we see in this book. She also has a fuck-buddy (no other way to put it) named Bill. He is a police officer and I won’t give a lot away about him, but he is consistently in the story. You will see how it all plays out.
Megan Hart doesn’t make it easy – sometimes it’s horrifying. Sometimes it’s really sad. I’m not sure I smiled, but I was engaged the entire book. It’s dark and tragic, but with a HEA.
There are probably five million other things I’ll think to say – but I don’t want to give too much away about this story. It’s one you need to read from the beginning and hold on tight.