Book Review: 53 Letters for My Lover by Leylah Attar

53 Letters

Title: 53 Letters for My Lover
Author: Leylah Attar
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 353 pages
Rating: 4.5 stars

This is not your typical love story.
It’s not so black and white. Lines are crossed.
Walls are smashed. Good becomes bad.
Bad becomes very, very good.

Shayda Hijazi—the perfect wife, the perfect mother, the perfect daughter. For thirty-three years, she has played by the rules, swallowing secrets, burying dreams and doing whatever it takes to anchor her family. Shayda Hijazi is about to come face to face with the one thing that can rip it all apart, the one thing her heart has always been denied: Love.

Troy Heathgate—untamed, exhilarating, dangerous—a man who does exactly as he pleases. Life bends to his will. Until he comes across the one thing he would give it all up for, but can never have.

Born on the same day in opposite corners of the world, their lives collide. And nothing is ever the same again.

Spanning three decades, 53 Letters for My Lover is a fiercely sensual, emotional ride to the heart of an epic, forbidden love that defies it all—an intimate exploration of love, loyalty, passion, betrayal, and the human journey for hope, happiness and redemption.

“Sexy, intense fiction isn’t afraid to step out of the box.”

Contemporary women’s fiction: Ages 18+

AUTHOR WARNING: This book is a blend of women’s fiction and romance.  It involves infidelity and an attempted rape. If you are not comfortable with these subjects, this may not be the best book for you.

Grace’s Review
An introduction.
An attraction.
A touch.
A connection.
A kiss.
An affair.
A lover.
A soul mate.

The order may be a bit off, but this basically describes the relationship between Shayda Hijazi and Troy Heathgate, that spans several decades.

Like most readers, I have a hard time with cheating and being able to forgive such an act.  So I was unsure of how I’d react to this story. What surprised me is that from their first introduction, the connection between Shayda and Troy sizzles off the pages.  There is one scene where Shayda is looking out the window, Troy comes up behind her and their eyes lock.  Nothing sexual happens, but the sexual tension was so apparent, it caught me off guard.

As wrong as I felt their growing attraction was, I couldn’t help but quietly root for them to make it work.  Would I have done things differently if I was involved?  Abso-fucking-lutely!  But for this book, I put my judgmental thoughts aside and looked at how the story was developed and whether I connected with the characters.  Did I connect with the characters?  Abso-fucking-lutely!  I sometimes felt lost in the back-story but each time Shayda & Troy interacted, I was drawn back in.  Their chemistry is so strong, even the most innocent moments were sexually charged.  And you get the sense that they are meant to be together.

I choke back a sob. This is what he does to me. Open up the windows of my soul and push me out. Fly, dammit, fly!

Shayda was not in a loveless marriage. She cared for Hafez, and her two children.  But it was an arranged marriage, so the love seemed more friend-like, then the uncontrollable passionate love she felt for Troy.  While she was tempted by him on many occasions, their physical union takes more than a decade to take place.
How many heartbeats does it take to cross ten inches? To close the buzzing, zapping, charging up field between us?
He waits, not moving, not breathing.
I move, not thinking, not caring.
Anything to break free of this absurd, intense connection between us.

53 Letters teaser 2

Once it does take place, is where I struggled with why she stayed in her marriage.  I get that she’s scared to leave, but her actions didn’t seem fair to her husband, who was a bit remote, but still a nice guy.

And while I don’t excuse blame from Troy in their affair, he knew what he was getting into, there is no denying that his weakness is Shayda. He would lay the world at her feet.  As years pass and she still hasn’t fully committed to him, I understood his frustrations.

“So what’s it like? To have it all?”
“Like flying. Soaring. Until you come across the one thing you’d give it all up for, and can never have.”

It seemed every time Shayda would decide the time was right for them, it ended up that is was absolutely the wrong time.  And Troy is forced to wait and wait and wait.  One sad event after another unfolds in this love triangle, prolonging what should be meant to be. But I loved how Shayda finally makes things right.  Does is work out perfectly?  No, there is heartbreak.  And I only liked the story more because it felt real.

This story is highly emotional, and captivated me from page one.  No one is perfect in this story. Shayda and Troy make lots of mistakes. But in the end, these two are destined to be together, and it is beautiful to watch it come together.

“Beetroot Butterfly, you just made Scary Cherry the happiest man in the world.”
(Beetroot and Scary Cherry are their playful nicknames for each other)

53 Letters teaser

– Grace

*A complementary copy was provided by ATOMR for an honest review.



From His
FROM HIS LIPS (A 53 Letters Short Story) – FREE


Troy Heathgate has it all – brains, brawn and the kind of smile that just begs a ribbon. Everything but the woman he loves. But now he’s back and determined to possess her. There’s just one catch – she’s married to another man.
This short teaser story (9,500 words, 38 pages) is a re-telling of select scenes from ’53 Letters For My Lover’. It is narrated from the male point of view – raw and uncut.

***This is a companion to the full length novel. Although you can read it on its own, the recommended order is after the full length novel, as an extra glimpse into the hero’s perspective.****

About the Author:
Leylah Attar writes stories about love—shaken, stirred and served with a twist. When she’s not writing, she can be found pursuing her other passions: photography, food, family and travel. Sometimes she disappears into the black hole of the internet, but can usually be enticed out with chocolate.

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