Author: Debra Anastasia
Publisher: Omnific Publishing
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author's website: Link
He counts her smiles every day and night at the train station. And morning and evening, the beautiful commuter acknowledges him-just like she does everyone else on the platform. But Blake Hartt is not like the others . . . he's homeless. Memories of a broken childhood have robbed him of peace and twisted delusions into his soul. He stays secluded from the sun, sure the world would run from him in the harsh light of day. Each day, Livia McHugh smiles politely and acknowledges her fellow commuters as she waits for the train to the city. She dismisses this kindness as nothing special, just like her. She's the same as a million other girls-certainly no one to be cherished. But special or not, she smiles every day, never imagining that someone would rely on the simple gesture as if it were air to breathe. When the moment comes that Livia must do more than smile, without hesitation she steps into the fray to defend the homeless man. And she's surprised to discover an inexplicable connection with her new friend. After danger subsides, their smiles become conversation. Their words usher in a friendship, which awakens something in each of them. But it's not long before their bond must prove its strength. Entanglements from the past challenge both their love and their lives. Blake's heart beats for Livia's, even if her hands have to keep its rhythm. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love never fails. Love never fails, right? In an interwoven tale of unlikely loves and relationships forged by fire, Debra Anastasia takes readers into the darkest corners of human existence, only to show them the radiant power of pure adoration and true sacrifice. Complicated families and confused souls find their way to light in this novel, which manages to be racy, profane, funny, and reverent all at once.
Poughkeepsie is a little different from most of the books that I normally read. If you read the blurb above you'll see that the story contains matter that might not necessarily be something that one would wish to read. Readers usually turn to books to escape reality because let's be honest, sometimes there's no fun in reading something that will make you feel sad. I like to step out of my comfort zone once in a while and read something different and that is exactly what I experienced with this book. In today's society, it's hard to believe that someone would actually take the time to stop and get to know a homeless person for who they really are. That is such the case for the character of Livia McHugh who takes the time to look at Blake Hartt and realizes that there is so much more to him than the homeless man at the train station. While this is honorable on her part, I still felt it was unrealistic because Livia falls head over hells for a man that she really doesn't know anything about. It's obvious that Blake has issues and she doesn't learn of this issues right away. I think she should have been a little more cautious instead of being blown away by how beautiful and misunderstood he was. And yes I know this is fiction, but I think a little common sense could have been shown. But when it comes to falling in love, common sense isn't sometimes shown is it?
I feel like the true stars in this book are the secondary characters. They are the main foundation of the storyline as Livia and Blake find themselves relying on those characters for help and support. Blake's two foster brothers Beckett and Cole may have completely different lives, but the ultimately want what's best for their family. Beckett has one of the worst imaginable jobs that I have ever read for a human character. He's murdered people, he's a pimp, and he sells gun. He does all kinds of illegal things, but you still end up caring for him because he cares for all of those around him. He also provides the comic relief to the story, because this story is pretty heavy at times. The reader can rely on Beckett to say some of the craziest, zaniest things that will have you laughing out loud. Cole on the other hand is a religious man and chose that path to make up for all the bad things he has done in his past. He is the one that is weary about Livia at the beginning and you can understand why. He warns her that Blake has his issues and that she needs to be careful not to make him more fragile than what he already is. Along with the characters of Mouse and Eve, they add depth to the story and entertains the reader with their past and their connection to the other characters. I enjoyed their stories more than the main characters and it was because of them that wanted to continue reading the book.
I'm giving Poughkeepsie a rating of:
Life is complex and this story is complex as the author weaves real life circumstances into the storyline. The characters are real and the things that they experience in their life could happen to anyone. It truly makes you stop and think about the world, the people in it, and yourself. You never know what someone is going through or has experienced and maybe just smiling at that person could make their day. I think the overall message of what this book is truly about will be understood by the reader. My main problem was that the writing felt too simple at times and it made the beginning of the book hard for me to get through. I also felt that Livia was a tad too naive and that made me hard to connect or like her character. It's when the secondary characters get a chance to shine that book became truly entertaining for me. Although I had some problems with this story, I'm still glad that I took the chance to read it and step outside of my comfort zone. Looking back on the story I can now appreciate that it was different and think that others will feel the same way when they read it.