I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review
It's been a while since a book sucked me in from the first page the way Lingering Echoes did. The first few pages really set the tone for the novel. Allie is suffering survivor's guilt, coupled with a broken family life. The fact that everyone is having fun around her and trying to pretend nothing is wrong with this boating outing is almost comical. At this point the reader doesn't know about the tragedy that struck her last year. Though we don't know what happened yet, it's impossible to miss how upset and terrified Allie is, and yet her friends and family are ignoring it.
I felt so sorry for Allie, what she endured will be very difficult to recover from emotionally. Though her family means well, the way they go about helping her doesn't help much in Allie's eyes. Add to her emotional burden an older step-brother with a major attitude problem and a huge chip on his shoulder and it makes life horrible for her. I couldn't stop thinking, she really needed to handle one trauma at a time. Being stuck in a cabin with her father, his new wife, and her annoying son is trauma enough. Add in her tragic past and my heart bleeds for the girl.
Enter Damien, the mysterious yet gorgeous stalker. Okay so he isn't really a stalker but he does like to follow Allie around and seems to show up wherever she is. He has his own tragic past that he's hiding from. Allie and Damien have been through events that are difficult for anyone to understand who hasn't experienced them. They are drawn to each other, recognizing their own pain in the other. Damien is one of those closed-lipped guys and keeps his past a secret. When Allie discovers it and confronts him, he doesn't explain, just makes a grand statement and runs off.
While I really enjoyed the beginning of the novel, the middle lagged a bit. No worries though, since it did pick up again about two thirds of the way through. In fact, the last part of the novel is a real page turner. It was interesting how the point of view switched when it was time to reveal Damien's story. It kept us from experiencing that inevitable info dump that tends to happen in first person POV novels. It also allowed the reader to experience Damien's emotions and understand his motivations.
I recommend Lingering Echoes to everyone high school and up that enjoys a romance with a bit of mystery and suspense. This novel isn't a walk in the park; it can't be when the two main characters lives were shaped by tragedy. There is quite a bit of angst and emotion. I did find the ending rather satisfying, though, everything was wrapped up rather nicely. Don't miss the prequel novella Rumors (it's free right now on Amazon).