Author: Kim Karr
Release Date: May 7, 2013
What if a ‘Once in a Lifetime’ could happen twice?
Suffering from a past full of tragedy, Dahlia London's soul has been left completely shattered. Happily ever after is a far cry from reality in her world. But, when she is reconnected with her past, the bonds that form are irrefutable.
When River Wilde, lead singer of The Wilde Ones, comes back into Dahlia’s life, the intensity that fires their relationship combined with underlying feelings that have never died lead her to believe she has met her soulmate.
Struggling with confusion as old connections fade and new ones begin, Dahlia's grief begins to lift--but guilt remains. River wants to be the one to mend all that is torn within her.
But with a past that is never really gone, can their future survive?
Well... so much for judging a book from what's written on its back cover. From the blurb, you sort of get this idea in your head of what to expect from a book, and surely I'm not the only one to think this way. So when I read Connected's blurb, I felt like I knew what I was getting myself into. After all, it's not exactly a story that you don't often come across. I'm not saying that it's bad thing, since novels about loss and grief are usually the most realistic (since pretty much every person has gone through those) - it's just that I wasn't really expecting anything at all to shock me, and moreover, a part of me wasn't expecting anything surprising from this novel.
Yup, I was wrong.
Off the bat, I liked Dahlia. She's such a strong character, and she had a powerful voice too. Most of the book was told in her point of view, and as I progressed with my reading, I ended up connecting to Dahlia more and more. Reading about her life never felt like an abysmal chore that I had to push myself to do. I love how she was loyal to her boyfriend - sure, she might have met this local rock star that she had this intense connection with, but she chose to stand by her relationship. She chose to continue to be faithful, even though there was a slight hiccup in the begging. Not enough novels explore the choice between attraction and honest to goodness love, and I can't help but marvel over Dahlia, despite having the means and opportunity to throw her relationship away for this other guy she certainly had chemistry with, never did so.
I loved how Karr portrayed Dahlia's grief - it was true to her character, and I really did feel Dahlia's despair at losing the man she loved. It was in these particular part of the novel in which I truly connected with Dahlia, and I think that that is partly because of the way Karr wrote this character. Furthermore, I loved how Karr also explored that love doesn't have to be a one-time thing in a person's life - you just might be lucky enough to get to have it in your life, even though you may have felt like that you have lost it forever.
I liked River enough, though I admit that I understood him more after reading the final few chapters of the novel which were told in his point of view. It couldn't have been easy to see someone he connected emotionally with in the arms of another guy, yet he dealt with it in stride. Years later, he comes across the same girl, and this time around, even though she's available to be with him, she's carrying a lot of baggage from the death of her fiancee. River never had it easy, but it was so obvious that he thought Dahlia was worth it, and I loved how well he treated her. I also loved how sensitive he was to her grief and everything she went through.
I kind of have a love-hate relationship with cliffhangers, but this one blew my mind. (Yes, this book ends with a cliffhanger.) While I felt like it came out of nowhere, in hindsight, it was hinted at during certain points of the novel (but of course I was too dense to put two and two together) and I think that's a good thing. Too many novels nowadays contain plot twists that are completely off the mark, and I'm glad to note that that wasn't the case this time around. Anyway, I was honestly shocked beyond belief, and I can't wait to see what Karr brings to the table in her follow up novel.
The writing was strong and steady for the most part. Sure, some dialogues were stilted, some scenes too draggy, but overall, the novel wasn't difficult to read. I did have a bit of a problem with the pacing, however, - the beginning was perfect, the middle was certainly a teeny bit too prolonged, and the end was whiplash-fast (if I was reading a regular paperback I probably would have ended up tearing the pages) - but again, overall, I believe that Karr told an intriguing and highly interesting story.
Rating: 3.5 Stars