Title: Searching for Harmony
Author: Kelly Elliott
Series: Boston Love #1
Release Date: July 12, 2016
Firefighter and first responder Preston Ward thought he had grown immune to the job’s emotional burns. But when he goes out on a particularly tragic call, he realizes that some scenes are too devastating to forget. And yet, if it weren’t for that terrible night, he never would have met the woman who makes him want to risk his heart.
More than once, Harmony Banks has watched her perfectly ordered world torn apart by fate. Now she’s finding out that what she lost wasn’t as perfect as she thought—and it’s tearing herapart. The only thing that keeps her going is the kindness of a stranger: the firefighter who saved her life the night everything changed.
Preston isn’t like the men who have come before. For one thing, he’s far more genuine. And the love Harmony feels growing between them is almost too intense for her wounded soul. But if she and Preston can push past heartbreak, they’ll find that something incredible awaits in each other’s arms.
Searching for Harmony is a sweet story of second chances. Following a devastating loss, Harmony finds herself drawn to Preston, the man who witnessed the destruction of her world and feels compelled to help her learn to live again. As Harmony and Preston got to know one another, Preston’s patience and understanding allowed for an easy and authentic friendship to form between the two and I found myself feeling the first sparks of hope returning to the story. Their adorable banter and good-natured teasing left me grinning and I very much enjoyed their seemingly inherent understanding of one another’s feelings. They found their place in each other’s lives effortlessly, allowing for Kelly Elliott to quickly heat things up between them. Harmony and Preston not only seemed to share a frantic need that resulted in some great tension and plenty of electricity, but they also appeared to connect on a deeper level, keeping me intrigued and invested in their journey. The integration of Boston culture into the story was icing on the cake, grounding Searching for Harmony in a tangible setting and memorable community and giving readers something to hold onto amidst all of the angst.
“Something happened between us. Words couldn’t describe it, but I knew he felt it too…”
Harmony was a heartbreaking character. Her incredible loss and the resulting emotional devastation immediately gripped me, making me feel for her right from the start. Kelly Elliott did a great job conveying Harmony’s initial overwhelming grief and its lingering effects as she tried to move forward, giving her loss a genuine feeling that kept me connected to her. I enjoyed seeing the pieces of light filter back into her life as she spent time with Preston and was moved by how Kelly Elliott so thoughtfully intertwined those moments with flashbacks of the joy her life held before the accident. Admittedly, I was a little surprised (and disappointed) that Harmony never sought counseling at any point in the novel. Her incredible loss, newfound feelings for Preston, and lack of relationship with her parents are each reason enough to need help, let alone to have them all happening at once. As a reader, I not only needed to see her actively working to heal and not immediately depending on another relationship, but these were also all issues that deserved to be further explored in order to really understand the character’s reasoning and decisions.
“My body feels so alive when I’m with you, Harmony. My heart feels . . . complete.”
To be honest, I’m not really sure how I feel about Preston. A huge part of me adores him, grateful for the respect he showed Harmony as she tried to heal and the relationship he built with her brother Jake in order to help them both move forward. However, a small part of me is still caught up on his behavior during the first part of the story. There was too much disparity between his thoughts and actions in regards to Sherry that I couldn’t sympathize or connect with him at all initially. As we got to know him a little better, it was easy to get lost in his sweet actions and perfect words, but still we never really move past the surface of who he is. Between his family and co-workers, there was plenty of opportunity to explore Preston’s past, emotions, and fears and yet there’s no real heart-to-heart moment where I finally felt like I understood what made this character tick. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Preston’s charm, intelligence, kind heart, and sweet attentiveness, but the development of this character fell short for me, especially compared to what I’m used to seeing from Kelly Elliott.
“We have choices in our life that sometimes we aren’t sure of, Preston. The best way to know which choice to make is to follow your heart.”
While I’m sure some readers will love the angst, but overall lighthearted nature of Searching for Harmony, this book just wasn’t up to Kelly Elliott’s typical standards in my opinion. I’m a huge fan of this author so I was eagerly anticipating the emotional knockout of a Kelly Elliott book and this novel never really got there for me. I needed more from Preston and Harmony’s emotional relationship. While I adored their relaxed friendship and great chemistry, their relationship was too superficial for my taste. Each worked through their issues separately but they never sat down and discussed the emotional ramifications of Harmony’s loss or the guilt that ate at Preston with each other. This missing piece robbed their relationship of the depth it could have had and kept me from feeling the extent of their connection. Kelly Elliott’s writing, however, did not disappoint. She still paints a beautiful picture and brings this story to life with her words. Expertly balancing the dark and light of this story to leave readers feeling content, Kelly Elliott delivers bold heartache and quiet hope with this Boston Love novel.
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Don’t miss the rest of the series:
Fighting for Love (Boston Love #2)