How did I get it?
Sent to me for the blog tour. Thanks to Bloomsbury!
Previously reviewed by the same author:
‘You make me feel like there’s something good in the world I can hold on to,’ Aaron says. He kisses me again, draws me so close it’s almost hard to breathe. ‘I love you, Gem. And I promise I’ll hold your heart forever.’
When Gemma meets Aaron, she feels truly seen for the first time. Their love story is the intense kind. The written-in-the-stars, excluding-all-others kind. The kind you write songs about.
But little by little their relationship takes over Gemma’s life. What happens when being seen becomes being watched, and care becomes control?
I was approached to read this book and thought it would be something that I’d really be interested in. Relationships like those in this book, don’t always work for me and make me highly uncomfortable. However, I recognise that books like this do have a place and I thought Karen Gregory handled the relationship with sensitivity. This book gripped me from the very start and hardly took me long to read at all.
It centres around Gemma, who is a confident prospective songwriter. She’s got a great group of friends and life is going well for her. She meets Aaron at her brother’s football game. He’s confident, sensitive and completely into her. Aaron always says the right thing and quickly she feels intensely for him. Everything seems brilliant, except that Aaron isn’t all that he seems. As time goes on, Aaron becomes a lot more controlling. Gemma’s friends begin to worry for her wellbeing…
There’s no beating about the bush here, I Hold Your Heart centres around emotional abuse. As a reader, we see Gemma spiralling and completely oblivious to what is happening to her. This is the case for many relationships like this. Outsiders can see what’s going on, but when you’re in the relationship, it is everything to you. Aaron manipulates Gemma and we see her former strong self shrink into the shadows as she becomes more and more insecure.
Controlling, manipulative relationships are not my favourite thing to read about. They make me intensely uncomfortable. However, I think it’s important that there are books out there that cover this subject. People should understand what love should and shouldn’t be and it’s clear throughout this story that the relationship is not healthy. It shows how a seemingly perfect relationship can spiral out of control.
Gemma’s friendship group are wonderful. I think Karen Gregory really showed how friendships are affected. I wanted to scream out at Gemma to trust her friends and keep them with her. Aaron’s behaviour isolated Gemma from her friends and it took her a while to realise what a great bunch of friends they were.
I Hold Your Heart is not an easy read by any means, but it’s utterly addictive and so important.
Would I recommend it?: