REVIEW – My Winter by Nikki Young

My Winter

Synopsis

At age ten, Leah Anderson was taught a hard lesson about life after the death of her father. Love, happiness and perfection only last so long, so why bother seeking them out.

Jaded by his death and the trauma it caused her family, Leah finds herself detached and indifferent about her life and about falling in love. In a safe and unfulfilling engagement to her demanding, perfectionist fiancé, Ellis, it all begins to wear thin. That’s when a handsome stranger comes into her life causing her to second guess everything she’s known and believed in.

Abruptly ending her engagement and accepting a date with the stranger, Leah finds herself in a very uncomfortable reality. Knowing that every choice has its consequence, Leah runs from her past and lies to her present to keep herself from falling in too deep.

But in the end, can she live with the choices she makes because they may ruin it all.

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Review

I love Leah. She needs this shirt. More on this later.

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Leah is running away from a lifetime of pain and settling. Pain from her father’s death. Pain from hiding who she is from her ex-fiancee, Ellis. Pain from not being forthcoming with her new boyfriend, Adam. Pain doesn’t move you until the pain from hiding hurts more than the pain of what you want. Much like that diet and exercise plan to battle obesity, a decision to get sober, or a divorce from a destructive spouse, the pain has to become intolerable sometimes before anyone decides to change.

Leah’s not there yet.

MY WINTER is distinctly Chicago-based, so those who are familiar with the little nuances of Chicago and its people will probably love it a little more than the average bear. From the South Side’s distinctly working-class philosophy to the snobbery of Winnetka and its country club connections, to living in the city because you’re young and free and don’t know exactly what you want other than a good beer at a good bar after work, you may find yourself nodding more than others. That said, you don’t have to be from the area to appreciate MY WINTER.

Ellis, Leah’s fiancee, is from the upper crust of Winnetka. Quite frankly, he’s a douche. When Leah leaves him, you’re not sorry. You’ll cheer for her.

You see, Ellis and his Polo-wearing WASP family are from this neighborhood. They like everything to be very beige.

Winnetka, IL

Winnetka, IL

Leah is from Chicago’s famous South Side and grew up in a house like this one. Her late father was a Chicago police officer. Her mother still lives in their home and every week her brothers, their wives, and Leah meet for Sunday dinner. Ellis doesn’t bother coming though…it’s not his scene. (Did I mention Ellis is a douche?)

Chicago's South Side

Chicago’s South Side

Enter a handsome stranger and the destruction of Leah’s house of cards. Of trying to be what Ellis wants. Of course, honesty isn’t Leah’s strong suit and her latest relationship hasn’t started all that honorably. Love is hard for Leah. Truth is harder.

Rounding out the supporting cast is Cari, Leah’s BFF and work partner, and Jimmy, their cross-country work friend (and sometimes love of Cari’s). Jimmy is sensitive and resepctful and exactly the kind of guy you’d want for your best friend. They are Leah’s family of choice. They support her and they call her on the carpet when need be (which is often). They’re true friends who accept Leah as she is…and ply her with copious amounts of alcohol whenever possible. Typical hilarity ensues, as do the consequences. Oh, and they love the F-word. Yes, yes they do. It’s glorious…

MY WINTER is a love story through and through. About falling in love for real…with yourself and with someone else. Full of sex and passion and beautiful moments, it’s as real an experience as Leah has ever allowed herself. Will it be enough this time?

5 stars

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Find Nikki Young and MY WINTER on the interwebz

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