Blog Tour (Book Review, Excerpt & Giveaway): In Harmony by Emma Scott

{BOOK REVIEW}
Title: In Harmony
Author: Emma Scott @EmmaS_writes
Genre: New Adult
Rating: 5 Stars

Release Date: February 13, 2018

Synopsis

The root of all madness is an unbearable truth…

At seventeen, Willow Holloway’s life was torn apart. The happy, driven girl is gone, and she is left wracked by post-traumatic stress her body remembers even if she does not. When her father suddenly uproots the family from their posh penthouse in New York City to the tiny town of Harmony, Indiana, Willow becomes more untethered and lost under the weight of her secret. On a whim, she auditions for a part in the community theater’s production of Hamlet and unexpectedly wins the role of Ophelia—the girl who is undone by madness, and her love of Hamlet…

Isaac Pierce is from the ‘wrong side of the tracks.’ The town bad boy. Girls pine for his attention and guys are in awe of him. That he’s an acting prodigy only adds to his charisma. Isaac utterly disappears into his characters; the stage is the only place he feels safe from his own traumatic home life. He wants nothing more than to escape to Broadway or Hollywood, and leave Harmony behind for good.

No one can play Hamlet but Isaac, and when the director pairs him with Willow in acting class, they clash again and again—neither willing to open their hearts to anyone. But clashing leads to breaking, breaking leads to the spilling of terrible secrets, and soon Isaac and Willow find Shakespeare’s words mirroring their lives. When they are cruelly torn apart, neither know how this play will end—with madness and heartache? Or healing, love, and the discovery of who they are truly meant to be.

In Harmony is a standalone NEW ADULT love story, and is intended for readers 18 and up. PLEASE NOTE, this book contains sensitive material such as physical abuse, and the aftermath of sexual assault (off the page). Reader discretion is advised.

 

 

Grace Review
A beautiful and powerful story that captures the heart of the #MeToo movement. Cleverly set within a performance of Hamlet, two characters fight to escape their daily nightmares, using their talents to build hope for a brighter future.

Willow Holloway is a shell of her former self. Her spirit stolen by a boy she thought she could trust. With a forced family move due to her father’s work, she is given a chance to come out of that shell, in the small town of Harmony, Indiana.

“And I’m not latching on to anyone. I’m trying to . . .” Find myself in the dark.

Isaac Pearce has a well-established reputation in the town of Harmony – one as the son of the town drunk and abusive Dad, one as the brilliant protege of the Harmony Community Theater.

She gave him someone else’s words to speak.

It wasn’t immediately clear why the author chose to set her story in a play theme other than allowing her characters a reprieve from the daily stresses they yearned to escape. However, as the story unfolds, and you see how clearly Willow Holloway and Isaac Pearce’s characters circumstances emulate those of the characters they played, I could only sit in awe of this author’s creativity.

It wasn’t an exact portrayal of their current lives, we are talking Shakespeare here. However, Willow and Isaac both saw parts of their lives in Ophelia and Hamlet. The most obvious being how Ophelia’s father treated her and his views of Hamlet, mirror the characters real lives. This performance gave Willow and Isaac the opportunity to rage out against all that pain.

“Maybe we can live in the time before the play. Live where the story begins.”

I loved that this play gave Willow and Isaac an outlet to express themselves and the passion with which they embraced their roles. That passion along with their natural talent was impossible to ignore. With that said, it was surprising how clueless Willow’s parents, particularly her Dad, was with her situation.

While Willow and Isaac are the heart of this story, there was a number of side characters who I adored.
*** Angie – with her bold personality and funny shirt slogans, she’s the first real friend Willow has made since her assault one year prior. I loved how she encouraged Willow to take chances and explore her talents. She’s also there to support Willow thru each breakdown.
*** Bonnie – lacking good maternal support, Angie’s mom steps up in a big way for Willow without a second thought.
*** Martin – father figure, teacher, cheerleader, etc. His friendship with Isaac is exactly what Isaac needed to achieve his goals. I loved how he nurtured Isaac’s talents to give him the most opportunities for success.

This story captures the impact of abuse/assault on two young lives and how together, they rise above to create their own new path. A weighty subject, delivered with a delicate hand.

Going into this book, I didn’t have anything in the running for Best Book of the Year (it is only February). But now I do!

– Grace

*An ARC was received for an honest review.


“I’m so…not into being with someone right now,” Willow said with a nervous lilt to her words. “Not for a while, anyway.”

I heard a whisper on the breeze, or ever again. A heaviness in her eyes hinted she had lost something and had almost given up trying to find it.

She hasn’t given up, I thought, a fierce admiration welling in me. That’s why she’s doing the play. To find it again.

In that moment, I vowed to try to cut out all the egotistical bullshit and jealousy over Justin. The dance was out of range now anyway. I couldn’t ask her to go even if I wanted to. Which I didn’t. My job was to help her find what she was looking for in Hamlet, however I could. Even as it dented my eagerness to get the hell out of Harmony.

Willow shielded her eyes from the sun and squinted at me. “So what about you?”

“What about me?”

“Do you like anyone?” she asked, her voice a half tone higher than usual. She laughed. “That’s such a high school thing to ask.”

“No,” I said. “If all goes to plan, I’m leaving Harmony, remember? Stupid to start something now.”

“Sure. Makes sense.”

A silence fell.

“Yeah, so I probably won’t go to the dance,” Willow said. “I’m not good in that kind of situation anymore.”

“What kind of situation?”

She shook her head. “Never mind. I should get back.”

Willow started to scoot down off the block. I held my hand out to her to help. She hesitated for a fraction of a second and then took it. I held my other hand out and she took that too. I steadied her as she hopped down and then we were standing face to face. Close enough I could see her pale blue eyes had lighter shards of blue in them, like a topaz. Close enough to smell the sweetness of her breath—coffee tinged with sugar. Close enough to dance if we wanted.

“Thanks,” Willow said, gazing up at me.

“Sure,” I said.

I still held her hands. She didn’t let go.

“So,” she breathed, still not moving.

“Yeah.”

I glanced down at our hands. I hadn’t touched something this soft and good in ages. The sleeve of her coat bunched up and I spied a black mark on the inside of her forearm, close to her wrist. Willow drew in a breath as I turned her hand over. An X, about the size of a quarter, was stark on her pale skin.

She tugged her hands away. “I really need to get back.”

Every instinct cried out to take her hand again, to ask her what the X meant. To lick my thumb and erase it off her skin. I didn’t know what it meant but the sight of it made my stomach feel heavy.

“Willow—”

“I doodle when I’m bored. I told you that.” Her voice was sharp but her smile wobbled. “Let’s go.”

We walked the short distance back to town wordlessly. Back in front of the theater, Willow shouldered her bag and glanced around. “Thanks for today. I think Martin would be happy with our progress.”

“I do too.”

God, would he, I thought.

“So, I guess I’ll see you Monday?” she said.

“You have a ride home?”

“Oh, uh…” She still wouldn’t meet my eyes. “I was thinking of walking.”

“To Emerson Hills?” I said. “That’s a mile and a half and it’s getting dark soon.”

She raised her brows. “I’m not allowed to walk in the dark?”

“You’re allowed,” I said, “but I don’t want you to.”

Emma Scott writes romances with flawed characters, characters with artistic hearts: builders, poets, and writers of various makes and models. And love always wins. Always.

Where to Find Emma:
Website: www.emmascott.net
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EmmaScottwrites
Twitter: @EmmaS_writes
Instagram: @EmmaScottWrites
Amazon: http://bit.ly/EmmaScott

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