Saving Each Other, by Stacy Mitchell
Published: August 4th, 2017 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform **Revised and re-edited for 2018**
About the book:
What would you do if the most important people in your world were suddenly and violently taken away from you?
Two cars demolished, two families destroyed.
Dani Adams and Ean Montgomery were each forced to see the same grief counselor on a one-to-one basis after a drunk driver killed Dani’s husband along with Ean’s pregnant wife and six-year-old son.
The rules: Communicate only through text messages, and never reveal their real names or any other personal details.
In an unconventional twist of therapy, Dani and Ean were each given a private cell phone and only the first initial of each other’s first names. They were then instructed to reach out to one another in order to share their grief…to heal.
Neither planned to contact the other, but with all hope and the will to live gone…
Over the course of a year, through texting alone, they form a unique bond. Friendship blossoms into something deeper. They were never supposed to meet, but fate had other plans. And in their world of loss and despair, something amazing began to grow.
But can the love they found triumph over the deep, soul-twisting pain that never seems to fade?
Revised and re-edited for 2018. Saving Each Other is a full-length contemporary romance novel told from a dual point of view. And, while it’s a story about hope, friendship, and how the power of love can piece you back together after you’ve been shattered into a million unrecognizable pieces, it’s a story about loss and may be a trigger for some people.
Wow, what a novel… Saving Each Other is the debut novel by author Stacy Mitchell that tackles the heavy topics of grief, loss, tragedy, and moving forward. I loved the unique idea of this story with a grief counselor giving Dani and Ean each a cell phone with the other’s number, just for the purposes of texting one another if they need to process the tragedy that affected them both. Only knowing each other as “D” and “E,” what begins as a reluctant text from E, turns into an incredible story of support, friendship, healing, and love.
First of all, let me address the trigger warnings and heavy topics. This novel includes the death of adults and a child. The events that transpire at the beginning of the novel seem unimaginable, although it is, unfortunately, a possibility in the world in which we live. It is difficult and heart-breaking, but do not avoid this novel because of it – this novel is incredible and the overall joy and peace throughout the story outshines the difficulty in the beginning.
Each of the main characters is broken and grieving early in the novel, but I want to focus on the amazing characters that Stacy Mitchell reveals as the story progresses. Dani is beautiful, smart, creative, and now raising her young daughter on her own – with the help of her in-laws and many great friends. Unsure of where to go professionally, since she and her husband worked together in their design business, Dani is very thoughtful about what she wants to do next and what she wants next for her and Dani. As Dani heals more and more, the reader gets to see that she’s actually hilarious, spunky, fun, and incredibly loving.
Ean is also creative, smart, talented, incredibly handsome – but initially – incredibly sad and lost. An architect that began designing outdoor furniture, Ean was realizing and embracing his true passion but then avoids it. Just as I got to see the “real” Dani come out throughout this story, I watched Ean become lighter, more carefree, and also absolutely hilarious. Whether the banter between them in their texts, or Ean’s banter with his friends, I slowly but surely realized that this man was not only sexy, gorgeous and a huge flirt – but also amazingly funny.
Saving Each Other is such a beautiful portrayal of fate, soul mates, Kismet – whatever you prefer to call it. Throughout the novel, parallels between their lives are constantly revealed, making the story so magical. Ean and Dani get to know each other in various ways, which I don’t want to spoil, but when the climax of their relationship comes to fruition, prepare to be crying and jumping for joy at the same time. There is so much love and emotion within this novel, I truly cannot find the right words to explain it, but I know that from the time I sat down this morning to read it, I hardly moved until I finished it. I was completely sucked in and entranced with this story and the amazing writing from Stacy Mitchell.
The biggest surprise of all was when I finished the novel and realized that this was Mitchell’s debut novel. Nothing about Saving Each Other even remotely reads as if this is her first novel. The writing is genuine and real, the characterization and imagery and incredible, and the pacing and flow is perfection. With this being her first novel, I cannot imagine what the next will be like as she continues to develop and discover herself as a writer. According to the end of the book, a second will be released this year, and I am already dying to get my hands on it. By the way, I am a seasoned beta reader, hint, hint!
Saving Each Other is a must-read that I strongly recommend without any reservations. This is a story that will grab you, move you, and give you all the feels, but more importantly, this is the chance to become familiar with an incredible debut author that I hope and feel, will become a household name.
*Many thanks to PR By the Book for providing a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review!
Excerpt from Saving Each Other by Stacy Mitchell
The place D and I have been forced to go for counseling is called “OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center” and is about a half an hour away from my home. My mom insisted on driving me. And while she hasn’t read anything about the accident, she spent the entire ride, before my first session, alternating between trying to force me to read the articles flooding the Internet and trying to persuade me to attend the court proceedings. I’m not going to read what some scumbag has to say about my family and I’ve made everyone promise they won’t either. I’m also definitely not going to the trial. The minute I see the man who murdered my family, I’ll lose my shit and that wouldn’t be good for anyone, especially me.
“OUR HOUSE” usually holds group sessions, but because our sessions are court-mandated and high profile, D and I were able to meet separately with our counselor, Elizabeth Macintyre, on a one-to-one basis.
Since we’re both barely hanging on by a thread, Beth did something very extreme and very risky. She came up with the idea that connecting us with one another could help us get through the grieving process. Her thinking was that since we’re both going through the same thing, we could potentially help each other. She explained to us—that to her—this was worth the potential loss of her license.
She gave us each a new cell phone that contained only each other’s new phone numbers along with the first letter of our first names. She wanted us to have a dedicated line to one another and her only stipulations were that we only communicate through text message and never reveal our real names or other personal details. This I agreed to because I had absolutely no intention of ever contacting her.
Except today. Today I have to. So I turn on my phone and type:
D, this is E.
I can’t believe I’m actually doing this. I don’t see how it’s going to change anything but I can’t stand this anymore. I’m at my breaking point. I’m in constant pain. It feels like a huge band is crushing my chest and getting tighter every day. All I do is cry! Everybody’s been trying really hard to help get me through this, I know that. I just don’t have it in me to give a shit.
I lost it with my mom yesterday. Said things no son should ever say to his mother. All she did was ask me to move in with her, and I lost it. It got so bad that she ran out of the house crying with a very mad Riley on her heels. Sure she’s asked me before, but that’s no excuse. My dad laid into me, took Po, and left. I’m now truly alone; being sucked into an inescapable vortex of grief. I’m so lost.
They haven’t been by yet today and I hope they don’t come by at all; this way I can die in peace. I’m falling down the rabbit hole very quickly and that’s why I need to contact D, the only other person who could possibly understand what I’m going through.
So I continue.
I wasn’t planning on contacting you, but here I am. I’m sure you feel the same way since you haven’t reached out to me and I don’t blame you if you don’t respond. It’s been almost a month since my world ended, and let’s just say, unfortunately, suicide isn’t an option. Even though I really wish it were.
I push aside my tears but not my pain; it refuses to leave. I take a deep breath and keep typing.
I’m dying. With each second that passes, I keep dying more and more. I never leave my house, I just sit near the door waiting for their return. So yeah, I’m contacting you. Are you going through the same thing? Why did this have to happen? How am I ever supposed to move on or whatever the hell that even means.
Through my agony I type the plea that just might save my life.
I know I said I don’t blame you if you don’t respond, but at the same time, I really need you to text me back. I’m scared, sad, lonely, and extremely desperate.