06 Apr '12

A Nix Review – Poughkeepsie by Debra Anastatsia (3.75 Stars)

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Livia McHugh sees him every day on her way to work. The handsome, homeless stranger at the train station is invisible to everyone, but not to her. When a man starts abusing him one morning, Livia steps in to protect him. She doesn’t realise that in doing so, she has taken the first steps into leaving her old life behind.  Livia leads a seemingly happy life. She has a good job, a boyfriend who wants to marry her and a family who loves her. But how happy can she really be if she’s happy to leave it all behind for a homeless man who she knows nothing about?
Ever since he came out Foster care, Blake Hartt has lived life on the streets. Apart from his two foster brothers, he has had little human interaction for years. That is until the first day she smiled at him, made him feel visible again. Now he counts the smiles the pretty lady gives him every morning she sees him at the train station. The day that she speaks to him, his life unexpectedly changes and he falls into a world he never expects he could belong to.
As Livia and Blake take the first steps into friendship, they face challenges and obstacles. Not only do they have to deal with public disgust at their friendship, their family and friend’s concerns, they must also deal with the issues that the past have created. You see, Blake has been damaged by his experiences of the past, his mental state more fragile than Livia can imagine. When their feelings start to become more romantic, can they overcome the many obstacles that they face? And will Livia’s boyfriend really let her leave him for a homeless man without a fight?
With a backdrop of violence and pain, how will our star-crossed lovers find a place where they can just be together? 

Right, first order of business before I start this review properly. This was originally alternate universe Twilight fan-fiction and it had the same name. Whatever your opinion of that, there really is only one part of this work which I could identify as having been influenced by Twilight overtly and I wouldn’t have figured that one out unless I’d found out (by accident) the origins of this story. I have judged this book as if I didn’t know that information. I didn’t at the time of reading it, and making my notes, and I’m going to use my thoughts and opinions from this time, with no comparisons to that book.

Now, onto the review. This book is a whole bucket-full of crazy, but it was a crazy which I quite enjoyed. Blake is a mentally unstable homeless man. Interesting hero choice. I had problems relating to him as a hero because he was so fragile. We all know I am a bit Alpha fan, occasionally a couple of Beta’s make the list, but Blake was neither. He was sweet, but there was very little commanding about him. He sits at the station day after day because he wants to see Livia, even when he is getting cretins using his sleeping form as a target for idiotic games. Once she talks to him, he becomes the perfect gentleman to her. He walks her to her car at night, he is genuinely interested in what she has to say and he wants to be on an equal footing to her (he goes bonkers when she offers him food). All good so far, yes? Then we find his weakness. He believes that is skin is made of glass and therefore won’t go out in the sun. This means that all his good actions are slightly forgotten when he runs off at inopportune times (including one where she is left very alone). He never really inspired me as an individual character.

Livia is actually a really fun character to read about, especially when she seen with other characters. She is strong willed, non-judgemental and quite feisty. I didn’t feel that her friendship with Blake started because of stars and fireworks; I think it started because she feels sorry for him. She jumps into a situation in-which he threatened and that is where their connection starts. In-fact the whole story is pretty much her taking care of him; I’d label her the alpha heroine because she does everything I would expect an Alpha man to do in a romance with a heroine with previous-abuse. I liked the way she didn’t humour or ignore his obvious oddities, but tried to work with him on realising that they weren’t real. I liked that she stood up for him, and their relationship, time and time again. They were quite sweet together, but I only really could even imagine Blake as a character within his relationship with Livia, a relationship which it takes ¾ of the book to build!

There are a host of side characters that make this book far more interesting than the main couple do. There is Clay, Blake’s Foster brother and vicar’s assistant, who is very protective of Blake and suspicious of the motives of Livia. There is Kylie, Livia’s foul mouthed and incredibly amusing sister, a damaged young woman who craves affection in all the wrong ways. The most entertaining of all the side characters, and the one who kept me going at points, was Beckett. Beckett is the foul-mouthed, crass, violent, murderous drug dealer who is Clay and Blake’s other Foster brother. Beckett is the character seen popping a Viagra to “test out” the new hookers on his payroll. Most of Beckett’s scenes were incredibly useless to the overall plot but hell they were entertaining. There is no punches pulled in these scenes with Beckett; they are violent, crass and often disturbing, but he would do anything to protect his family. He was my favourite part of the book. I haven’t really mentioned Livia’s boyfriend in all this, but he becomes the baddie in the tale, the thorn in the side of this budding relationship. He really is quite an arse and an arse without the ability to realise the consequence of his actions. He becomes a little dangerous when Livia starts to be seen with Blake. I didn’t like him but I wasn’t supposed to!

Overall this is a very interesting read which did keep me turning pages. Although there were some parts which were superfluous to the major story they did keep me entertained, even engrossed at some points. I enjoyed the heroine’s character immensely and I applaud the author for flipping the usual dynamic and creating a strong woman to be in a relationship with such a damaged man.

Nix

One Response to “A Nix Review – Poughkeepsie by Debra Anastatsia (3.75 Stars)”

  1. This book sounds right up my alley! I don't know jack about the legality of selling fan fiction, at least not more than Dear Author tells me, but I do really love how it's brought out all these great storytellers!

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