17 February 2015

Kyland (A Sign of Love) by Mia Sheridan

Dirt poor. Hillbilly. Backwoods hick. Mountain folk.

Tenleigh Falyn struggles each day to survive in a small, poverty-stricken, coal mining town where she lives with her sister and mentally ill mother. Her dream of winning the college scholarship given to one student by the local coal company and escaping the harshness of her life, keeps her going.

Kyland Barrett lives in the hills, too, and has worked tirelessly—through near starvation, through deep loneliness, against all odds—to win the Tyton Coal Scholarship and leave the town that is full of so much pain.

They're both determined not to form any attachments, but one moment changes everything. What happens when only one person gets to win? When only one person gets to leave? And what happens to the one left behind?

Kyland is a story of desperation and hope, loss and sacrifice, pain and forgiveness, but ultimately, a story of deep and unending love.

THIS IS A STAND-ALONE SIGN OF LOVE NOVEL, INSPIRED BY TAURUS. New Adult Contemporary Romance: Due to strong language and sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18.
There is a reason why Mia Sheridan continues to blow me away with every new book.  You see, whenever I read her stuff I am, myself, half agony and half hope.  Agonized because the faster I read it, the sooner it will be over, but hopeful because I know the story, storytelling and characters will envelop me like a warm blanket and take me on a wonderful, beautiful, tragic and uplifting journey.  Too much?  I don’t think so!

Tenleigh has been raised in a poor Appalachian town in Kentucky.  With her mentally ill mother and older sister, she has dreams of going to college and making a better life for them all.  Her ticket out is the college scholarship given annually by the local mining company.  She’s determined to win, and it has been her singular goal since she started high school.  Kyland has been raised in the same small town, and he wants the scholarship too.  He lost his dad and brother in a mining accident, and when he gets the scholarship he wants to leave Kentucky and never look back.  Things get complicated, however, when Tenleigh and Kyland form an unlikely friendship that soon blossoms into love.  They are each other’s competition, yet each other’s biggest supporter.  So what happens when only one can win and the other must stay behind?  Can they each realize their dreams and their purpose without losing the other?

This book was like reading poetry.  Mia has such a beautiful way to describe not only the character’s feelings and emotions, but the town, the scenery…the life of the Appalachian Mountains.  I was truly blown away.  The setting of this story is like a character in itself.  It’s not just the backdrop to this tragic and beautiful story, but an active part of the story too, and I thought that added another layer to this already very richly told story.  In my humble opinion, writing just doesn’t get any better than this.  Can I be Mia Sheridan when I grow up?  Either her or Margaret Atwood, I’ll take it.

The characters I knew would be great, because Mia just never lets me down in that respect.  Her characters are realistic, they’re deep, and they really engage you in their story.  I so wanted things to work out well for Kyland and Tenleigh, even though I wasn’t always sure how that would happen.  They are both such lonely, tragic characters and the connection between them is told so beautifully that I could feel it too.  To me, that’s central to any love story.  I not only want to read it and believe it, I want to feel it.  I felt every moment of this one. 

If I could give more than five stars, I would.  I know that no matter what else I read this year, it will be compared to this one and surely lose.  In fact, I’m a little scared to pick up my next book because I know that it just won’t be as good as this book, and that seems slightly unfair. Mia Sheridan is in an author league of her own as far as I’m concerned.  I might just sit on this one for a while and enjoy the post-book perfection bliss.  5 stars.


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