Thursday, June 19, 2014

1 Year Anniversary Blitz: Fading by E.K. Blair

It's hard to believe it was a year ago that I read this amazing story!  It began my love affair with the Fading series and my slight obsession with anything written by E.K. Blair.  Fading remains one of my all time favourite reads.  For those of you that haven't read it, you really should and now is the perfect time to pick up a copy - Fading is on sale for just $0.99.

Can a guilty conscience keep wounds from healing?

Fine arts major, Candace Parker, grew up with a mother who thinks image is everything, and her daughter’s perfection will never be good enough. About to graduate college and pursue her dreams of becoming a professional ballerina, Candace decides it’s time to let go and have a little fun. But fun is short-lived when a brutal attack leaves her completely shattered.

The memories that consume and torment Candace are starting to destroy her when she meets Ryan Campbell, a successful bar owner. He feels instantly connected and tries to show her that hope is worth fighting for. But is Ryan harboring his own demons? As walls slowly begin to chip away, the secrets that are held within start to become painful burdens.

At what point do secrets become lies?

I'm going to do something I never do and that is start this review at the end of the book:

"Every 2 minutes, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted. Approximately 2/3 of assaults are committed by someone known to the victim. And only 46% of assults are reported to the police."
These statistics are incredibly alarming and it is heart breaking to think of the trauma and ongoing pain suffered by so many, often in silence.

Fading tells us Candace's story. A talented college student pursuing a career as a professional ballerina. Focused on her study and dance, Candace has a very small group of friends and doesn't tend to go out a lot - quite at odds with the 'usual' college life. Battling with the expectations of her parents, Candace studies hard to maintain a 4.0 grade point average. Her mother particularly, is focussed on appearances and does not consider studying ballet or a career as a professional dancer a path worthy of her daughter and does not hide this view from Candace. Frustrated, lonely and feeling like perhaps she needs to relax and live a little, Candace agrees to go out with someone who has her mother's stamp of approval. Despite her reservations and the lack of any real spark, Candace persists, with consequences more dire than she ever would have imagined. 

Fading is intense. It is heartbreaking, it is graphic, it does not shy away from the impact of a brutal sexual assault. Candace had her whole world ripped apart and Fading tells of her experience and her journey forward. She struggles daily, and is dependent on her best friend Jase. Candace loses a lot as she deals with her experience. Embarassed, guilty, traumatised she works hard to be 'normal' and move forward, but every day is incredibly hard.
"I'm fading." I feel the heat of my tears as they linger down my cheeks. "He took all my light, and I've been fading ever since."
With the support of Jase and his partner Matt, Candace exists. It is through her friends that she meets Ryan and as their friendship develops she begins to wonder whether she may be able to have a life after her attack.
"I've only ever truly let one person in - Jase. Guys have always made me feel awkward. I don't know how to respond to affection, and I wind up feeling embarrassed and shy. For the first time, I don't want to feel that way."
Despite the bleakness of the subject matter I loved Fading. Candace was an incredible character - strong in so many ways and yet so incredibly vulnerable. Not having had a warm and loving family experience, and being an only child, meant that she was slow to connect with people generally, but with Jase she had a friendship that filled the void of her family. Jase is a wonderful friend, dealing with his families inability to accept his homosexuality and working on re-establishing a relationship with Matt. He selflessly supports Candace and helps her as she recovers from the attack. The intensity of her trauma was palpable and this transferred to tension in my body as I read. I would periodically 'come to' as I was reading and realise that I had been gripping my kindle so hard my fingers were stiff and I had been sitting with muscles clenched in reflection of what Candace was experiencing.

Ryan is intrigued by Candace from the first time he meets her. He senses her vulnerability and is satisfied with what she offers him. He is gentle, supportive and carrying secrets of his own. He is persistent and patient and a perfect remedy for Candace if she can move beyond past events.
"I understand you and Jase, but I know how I feel about you". He takes a moment before softly saying, " I want you to need me more than him."
Feeling the need to defend myself, I say, "He's all I've ever had."
Taking my hand in his, he places it against his chest when he tells me, "You have me now too."
Fading will affect you. It is not a light and romantic read. It is a realistic story of one woman's horrific experience. I'm going to conclude this review at the same place I started, the end of the book:
"You just read about Candace who suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Flashbacks, Sleep Terror Disorder, and Nightmares. These are only a few of the effects one can experience after being sexually assaulted. There is help.
National Sexual Assualt Hotline: 1800 656 HOPE (1800 656 4673)
National Sexual Assault Online Hotline - to find more information and resources
National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service:
1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)

5 out 5 stars

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