It Ends with Us…
SOMETIMES THE ONE WHO LOVES YOU IS THE ONE WHO HURTS YOU THE MOST
Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up – she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.
Ryle is assertive, stubborn, and maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily, but Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing.
As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan – her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.
With this bold and deeply personal novel, Colleen Hoover delivers a heart-wrenching story that breaks exciting new ground for her as a writer. It Ends With Us is an unforgettable tale of love that comes at the ultimate price.
This book contains graphic scenes and very sensitive subject matter.
It Ends with Us is a novel that I read some time ago but put aside to review later. Even now, I find it difficult to put my thoughts into words, but it’s such an incredibly important novel that I feel it necessary to write up a review, even if it is only for my own benefit. I want to acknowledge how incredibly brave it was for Colleen to write a novel like this, so intensely personal to her, yet I feel that in doing so, she might have helped countless women either think about their own situations or perhaps put elements of their own history into a context that allows them a little clarity and distance.
Right from the opening dedication, you know that you are about to read a deeply confronting novel.
“For my father, who tried his very best not to be his worst. And for my mother, who make sure we never saw him at his worst.”
I cried right then. And I continued to cry at intervals throughout. While this novel stirred up so many emotions within me, many of which I had long buried in the hopes of never thinking about them again, in no way do I regret reading It Ends with Us. Suppression is not a pain relief. Colleen is not usually given to words of wisdom, but in It Ends with Us, she tells it like it is:
“Cycles exist because they are excruciating to break. It takes an astronomical amount of pain and courage to disrupt a familiar pattern. Sometimes it seems easier to just keep running in the same familiar circles, rather than facing the fear of jumping and possibly not landing on your feet.”
I have long been a fan of Colleen Hoover, right back to when Slammed was self-published. She is unique, funny, hard hitting, and unafraid to use her words unflinchingly. I can’t imagine what she must feel like after a day of writing, but I personally appreciate her efforts! It Ends with Us has nudged Ugly Love off the top of my Colleen Hoover favourites list, but they both share similarities in the way she doesn’t shy away from bringing deep emotional pain to the fore:
“When his lips meet mine he fifth time, they don’t leave. He wraps his arms around me and pulls me to him. My body is tired and weak, but it remembers him. My body remembers how his body can soothe everything I’m feeling.”
“When he pulls back and looks down on me, I don’t even have to say anything. Our eyes, locked together, speak more naked truths than our mouths ever have. My eyes are telling his that I can no longer stand being touched by him. His eyes are telling mine that he already knows.”
It Ends with Us shows the grey matter within relationships ruled by domestic violence. It’s so easy to look from the outside in and dictate what a person ‘should have done’. But not everything is black and white and in shading Lily’s and Ryle’s relationship with a penetrating grey, Colleen puts us, as readers, in the uncomfortable position of not really knowing what to do. Of not being able to jump up onto our soap boxes and shout: ‘What is wrong with you Lily?’, because we can see, with such awful clarity, exactly what is wrong with her and why she is so very torn. It Ends with Us is an incredible exploration of the darker side of some relationships; not only with those we choose to spend our lives with, but with our parents as well.
“My father was some of these things, too. He wasn’t very compassionate toward others, but there were times we spent together that I knew he loved me. He was smart. He was charismatic. He was driven. But I hated him so much more than I loved him. I was blinded to all the best things about him thanks to all the glimpses I got of him when he was at his worst.”
These were such defining thoughts for Lily but they are defining words for any child who has had a violent parent. I won’t lie here, this novel cut me to the quick and grated along so many raw nerves. But I’d read it again in an instant. It’s a powerful novel with a very important message.
Well done Colleen Hoover for always writing the stuff that so many people don’t even want to talk about.