Can a guilty conscience keep wounds from healing?
Fine arts major, Candace Parker, grew up with a mother who thinks image is everything, and her daughter’s perfection will never be good enough. About to graduate college and pursue her dreams of becoming a professional ballerina, Candace decides it’s time to let go and have a little fun. But fun is short-lived when a brutal attack leaves her completely shattered.
The memories that consume and torment Candace are starting to destroy her when she meets Ryan Campbell, a successful bar owner. He feels instantly connected and tries to show her that hope is worth fighting for. But is Ryan harboring his own demons? As walls slowly begin to chip away, the secrets that are held within start to become painful burdens.
At what point do secrets become lies?
(17+) This book contains mature subject matter that is not suitable for those under the age of 17.
Fading is the story of Candace Parker, a college dance major who's entering her last year of college. She dreams of winning a coveted solo performance in the spring show, so that she can then pursue her dream of dancing professionally. Her relationship with her parents is strained, at best, as they continue to refuse to support her career choice. Fortunately, Candace has two incredible best friends in her roommate Kimber and her number one confidant, Jase, and she can't wait to spend her last year at the University of Washington with them.
Candace's world comes crashing down late one night when she's attacked, assaulted, and violently raped after a fraternity party. She's taken to the hospital, and will only allow the nurse to call Jase, no one else. She holes up at his place for a while, effectively shutting everyone else out of her life as she can't bear them to find out what happened to her. She spends all of her time with Jase and his boyfriend, Mark. She is withdrawn, and refuses to let anyone else in.
It's not long before she's introduced to Ryan Campbell, a friend of Jase's and Mark's. Ryan is immediately drawn to Candace, and she hesitantly returns the interest. It's been so long since she's really allowed herself to feel, and she's terrified to let Ryan all the way in.
Will Ryan be able to break through her defenses and show her that she's worthy of love, or will the attack continue to haunt her, not allowing her to trust or to love?
Fading was a very difficult, emotional read that I know will be on my mind for days. Reading the graphic details of Candace's attack devastated me and ripped my heart out. I was a sobbing mess, and E.K. Blair wrote it in such a way that I felt like I was there, like some sick voyeur on the sidelines desperate to break through and save her, but I couldn't get past the invisible wall that was holding me back.
Watching Candace deal with her PTSD as she shut everyone out was equally as hard. In any other case, her actions could be seen as frustrating, but it's written in a way that you can empathize with Candace even if you wish she'd make different choices. No one knows how they'd deal with a situation like this, so we really can't judge. All I know is that this girl had me in tears over and over again.
Ryan was incredible. His patience, love, and understanding with Candace were breathtaking. He was her savior, just as much as she was his. I loved their relationship, but I would've liked to have seen a little more relationship development rather than having Candace recall things that they did. I would have liked to have seen those scenes. Regardless, I connected with these two completely and I can't wait to see where they go in the future.
Jase and Mark were amazing side characters. I could read a whole book just about them. They're played in integral role in Candace's healing, and they also added some much needed light-hearted humor in what was a very emotional, highly charged book.
For a debut novel, I am very impressed with E.K. Blair's writing and storytelling. I will definitely continue to read more of her work. I cannot wait for the second book to come out. Ryan's POV may just break my heart even more.
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