Title – Harmony
Author – Drew Elyse
Publication Date – March 26, 2015
Series – Dissonance, #2
*Can Be Read as a Standalone*
Genre – New Adult/Contemporary Romance
Alex and Eli are ready to walk down the aisle.
Of course, their story did not begin with wedding bells.
Before proposals, before planning out I dos, there was a boy and a girl living in completely different worlds.
He thought she was a hot mess. She thought he needed an attitude adjustment.
He was burdened by the past. She was crumbling under the weight of the present.
He dreamt of something better. She had lost the ability to dream at all.
Before the bride and groom to be, there was a boy who was just trying to get by and a girl who hid her secrets behind a mask.
Now, the boy who fell hard for the girl with all the secrets wants to make her his wife.
Now, they both want to leave the pain of the past behind.
Now, they are just hoping to reach a blissful, wedded harmony.
Every once in a while you come across a book couple that is so unbelievably broken, so jaded, so overwhelmed by personal pain and grief that you find yourself almost desperate for them to get their happily ever after. Eli and Alex moved me in this way. Harmony is a beautiful masterpiece born from the chains of an ugly past clashing with the unbridled potential of the future. The journey isn’t easy for either of them and at times their realities were incredibly ugly. However the evolution of these characters was quite simply beautiful and Drew Elyse took me on an emotional ride that belonged solely to Alex and Eli. Drew’s unique voice and incredible character development lend themselves to the creation of an inimitable and meaningful story. My love of Drew Elyse’s writing has only grown with this novel. She expertly captures every emotion of the story and truly brings her characters to life on the pages of this novel.
“I had been into Eli since the first time I saw him. Too bad none of those fantasies were going to happen. He may have been tall, dark, and hump-me-handsome, but he also spent half the time I was around him acting like a total douche-canoe.”
Alex and Eli both took me by complete surprise in Harmony. In Charlotte’s book, Dissonance, the Alex and Eli we meet are very much in love and completely wrapped up in the joy and excitement of building a life together. Going back to before the first novel and seeing both of these characters so markedly different gave me a new understanding of their hard-won bliss. Drew Elyse allows us to experience Alex’s incredible transformation from a scared and broken little girl to a funny and confident woman. We also watch the ridiculously rude Eli being polished into the kind-hearted gentlemen we know him to be. Seeing their struggles and experiencing their changing feelings for one another solidified my connection with them. Drew Elyse has a knack for writing characters with personality, depth, and purpose. Her insight into her own characters is evident on each and every page and her love for them transfers effortlessly to the reader.
“Every part of my body, every part of my heart, it all hurt. Everything in me ached for the pain she had known. For the pain she was still trying so desperately to escape.”
One of my favorite things about Harmony was the manner in which Drew Elyse constructed Alex and Eli’s story. Drew has carefully woven together Alex and Eli’s past and present, creating a brilliant contrast between their personal history and united future. The juxtaposition of their tragedy and triumph resulted in an emotionally balanced story that was simultaneously heart wrenching and blissful. The result was a raw and passionate journey that was utterly breathtaking. Every moment of this couple’s relationship is ours to experience, painting a vivid and clear picture of who they are as both individuals and as a couple. Their pain was far more extensive than I could have imagined, but then so was their strength. Drew Elyse has once again swept me away with her wisely crafted storyline and her genuine characters, leaving me with a heart that feels absolutely full.
When I read Drew Elyse’s debut novel, I was absolutely astounded that it could be her first published work. That being said, I knew it could only get better from there and I definitely wasn’t proved wrong. I’d even venture to say that the second book in the Dissonance series, Harmony, blew my mind even more than Dissonance. It felt real, raw, and incredibly emotional. Readers are taken on a journey of strength, a renewing of hope, and learning how to love not only someone else, but figuring out how to love yourself as well.
“I had judged her so wrong in my attempts to fight my attraction to her. She was incredible, and I was going to make her mine. It was only fair since I was already hers.”
Harmony delivers the story of Eli, Charlotte’s brother, and her best friend, Alex. Because I read the first book in the series of standalones, I knew where these characters were heading. What I was not expecting was the tumultuous back story that led to how they got there. Alex was more broken than I ever could have imagined. The hardships that she endured at the hands of the people who should have loved her was beyond heartbreaking. In those past moments where she was forced to relive what happened, my heart shattered. However, it made me appreciate the strong, independent, caring, yet insecure, woman I came to know that much more.
“It took all my strength to stand, grab my bag, and walk out of the house, but I fought through every step. I could escape, and I damn well would.”
I was already a huge fan of Eli, but I absolutely fell in love with him in Harmony. The relationship he has with Charlotte is special, but the one he has with Alex is untouchable. His opinion of her transformed from one of disgust to one of utter adoration. He came to love this girl because he broke down every single one of her walls and learned to see the diamond underneath. There is just something about that protective, prince charming combination that knocks a girl off her feet, and I certainly found myself swooning over him.
“One thing she never needed to do was thank me. She had given me everything, I would do anything for her.”
Elyse takes you in between past and present moments in series of chunks throughout the book. She creates natural breaks in the story line and thank goodness she writes it this way. Some of the scenes are filled with such emotional rawness that your heart honestly needs the reprieve to something a little lighter and a reminder of how far this couple has come. I know some readers aren’t fans of the back and forth, but it most definitely serves a purpose in Harmony and I was grateful for it. The plotline is one not packed with a ton of action, but it was a story, heavy at times, that needed to be told, and I enjoyed the ride that Drew Elyse took me on.
“Wedding stress I could help with. How did I battle against something that was not ever there?”
Overall, Harmony will always hold a special place in my heart. It’s a love story, but definitely not your average one. The dual points of view helped to really understand their motives and desires, which resulted in an even bigger transformation of the characters. My heart began light and full, but was definitely put through the ringer. I’m happy to say that Drew Elyse was able to break my heart and then mend it into something even better by the end. This author has definitely earned a faithful reader in me, and I can’t wait to see what heartbreak she’ll get me through next!
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Don’t miss the first book in the series:
Read our reviews HERE
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Drew Elyse spends her days trying to convince the world that she is, in fact, a Disney Princess, and her nights writing tear-jerking and smutty romance novels. Her debut novel, Dissonance, released in August of 2014.
When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found over-analyzing every line of a book, binge watching a series on Netflix, doing strange vocal warm ups before singing a variety of music styles, or screaming at the TV during a Chicago Blackhawks game.
A graduate of Loyola University Chicago with a BA in English, she still lives in Chicago, IL where she was born and raised with her boyfriend and her prima donna pet rabbit, Lola.