Some stories just resonate in the heart of the reader and NO LONGER MINE was such a story for me. Shiloh Walker is the first to admit this isn’t the most perfect written story but that was of little consequence to me. Sometimes perfect isn’t needed to get a story told that is so raw and real as the one of Nikki Kline and Wade Lightfoot. The beginning is already very dramatic and by chapter three Shiloh Walker already had me in tears.
A very intimate cast of characters conveys a very intimate story where Nikki works very hard for all the good things in her life. Nikki is in college to become a nurse, she is engaged to Wade Lightfoot who is the love of her life, and she is writing stories. Nikki is gradually shaping her life to the one she wants until she and Wade have a fight, and his following actions scar their love for life. Now Nikki faces a whole different future that demands all of her will power, her strength and zest for life.
Nikki is definitely a heroine who is dealing with intense emotional scars, but she is also resilient, trying to work through the pain and become a better woman. She is a successful author, deals with issues such as her books being available at pirate sites and has passionate conversations with her editor. Above all she is a very private person and I got to see a very personal side of her. One that I think will leave no woman unaffected and will make many emphasize with Nikki’s progress. Wade is the one who made such a grave error in their initial relationship and he has become a wiser man since then, owned up to his mistakes and tries so hard to be a good man. He is a good man; charming, carries his responsibility and his side of the story is almost as deeply affecting. He is a man who is willing to step beyond his boundaries to get back the one woman he so loves and that made him a hero of worth in my book. Together Nikki and Wade gave off the vibe they were meant for each other but both had to go through the motions to accept that fact.
With an emotional-laden theme such as losing a child a story can easily get heavy handed. Though NO LONGER MINE is no easy read by any means the sheer tenacity of the characters was inspiring, held hope for the future and I empathized with them from first till last page. The motivations and the internal and external conflicts are all told with a ‘no hold back’ writing voice. It was like the author didn’t want to deny the reader any facet of the emotional process and I truly went through all the rough ups and downs with Nikki and Wade. I was completely wrapped up in the desperate attempts of Wade trying to connect again with the only woman he ever loved. Opposite of him is Nikki with a whirlwind of feelings pounding against the darkest corners of her heart. It saturated the pages with a pain that ran so deep I wondered if she would ever feel the beauty of life again. The step-by-step progress of Nikki coming to terms with what happened, of Wade getting through to Nikki, of love lost and found again is an unequivocal force behind a romance that rings so true to real life.
There are a handful of family members and friends who are connected to either Wade or Nikki but it is the latter two who really shined in the spotlight. The conflicts, the misunderstandings, the Mars/Venus moments are giving an incredible picture of two people torn apart. They both don’t know exactly what to do to make the situation better, yet they feel a love that demands to be shared with that significant other and a pain that needs to be shared in order to heal. At times I found Nikki a little too stubborn or Wade’s temper flaring a bit too much, too soon, but in the end it made them human, flawed and very recognizable in their actions. After such an intense build up I would’ve loved to have gotten a more prolonged ending. I wanted to revel in that long awaited blissful moment where Nikki and Wade got their happy time. I did get ending that was a wonderful one; it brought closure, a new beginning but the celebration of romance and love found again felt cut short somehow. Perhaps above all it is a personal thing that I would like to linger in such a HEA moment though.
NO LONGER MINE delivered a heart wrenching, yet beautiful griping tale where love received a second chance. Two real, utterly wounded and flawed people had a difficult road to follow to get reunited again as lovers. This is a story that is a diamond in the rough in regards to the incredible potential Shiloh Walker has for storytelling.