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I’m not going to lie – this story gutted me and I almost gave up listening several times. I had to walk away a couple of times and listen or read something else just to take a break. But it kept drawing me back because I couldn’t stop thinking about the characters.
This is one of the best stories I’ve read where mental health is not demonized, or belittled, but rather almost tenderly explained. Eliot has rapid-cycling bipolar 1 disorder with hypersexuality compulsion.
Trigger Warning: Cheating, Suicide attempts
Eliot and Loren constantly struggle to find balance with each other and Eliot’s disorder. Through the dual POV we are witness to Eliot’s manic episodes, his highs and lows, his hypersexual moments, but also his hope and love for Loren. We get to witness Loren’s own love and hope, but also his fear, his indecision with his job, especially seeing the stress and anxiety being a police officer triggers in Eliot.
Nothing about this story is easy. Even the best parts are tinged with a kind of sadness or a waiting-for-the-other-shoe-to-drop feeling. You don’t even get respite in the epilogue. While happy and showing the couple years down the line, there is recounting of more struggle and the ever present need for vigilance.
We get to see a realistic representation of a relationship with ups and downs that requires work by both sides.
The narration works perfectly for the story.
Michael Stellman doesn’t do a lot of character voices, and his performance is quieter, more emotional. He delivers the author’s words to you in a way that draws you in to the story completely, surrounding and blanketing you in the world, he’s not about the flash, he’s all about the feeling. Stellman does a really wonderful job conveying all the emotion of the story.
The story is beautifully written with friends to lovers, first heartbreak, second chance romance, and hurt/comfort themes throughout. There is what I consider a high level of angst throughout the book.
It put me through the wringer, and I’m exhausted after finishing it, but I am very glad I picked it up and listened and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it.
NOTE: Unquiet is the third installment in the Resilient Love series (with Everything Changes #1 and Signs of Life #2). Unquiet stands alone from the series, with the characters from the other books making appearances, but explained in a way that doesn’t leave new-to-the-series readers out.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Wow. I’ve been really on a streak with my book choices lately. Talk about heart-wringers – this one will literally jerk it from your chest and pound it into the floor.
There’s something to be said about being on the inside of something like mental illness. If the author is good – it’s an uncomfortable ride – but worth it.
This – like the others I’ve read recently – had that same effect. From the blurb you get that Loren (who we met in book 2 as Kai’s love interest) and Eliot have been in each other’s hearts for years – since they were six in fact. The love story here is less about them “falling in love” and more about them working through that love.
Lord. Eliot has a tough road, and as a result so does Loren. It’s not something that will ever be “fixed” but it can be “managed”. His disease is so severe that there really is no cure. Loren – who has to be about the most saintly person out there – only knows that he loves Eliot like an extension of himself and he can do nothing more than be there for him – come hell or high water.
Melanie Hansen’s writing is beautiful and her story telling is heart breakingly touching.
I won’t say that this book is easy to read, because it’s really, really not. But – if you’ve got it in you to brave the Kleenex box – again!- you’ll find yourself in a truly remarkable story full of big, big hearts and people with faults and perfections.
The epilogue about did me in – be prepared – but it is a decidedly HEA – in as much as these guys get one.
Michael Stellman is probably the perfect narrator for this. His voice seemed to really suit the subject matter and all the deep emotions.
While I would have enjoyed some more accent variation, I think the overall tone really felt appropriate and this is an excellent way to enjoy this fascinating story.
4.5 of 5 stars
This book is outstanding. But what it’s NOT is a light, fluffy, easy read. It is raw, brutal, honest and beautifully , accurately written. As a Health Care Professional myself I must applaud Melanie for her accurate and honest portrayal of bipolar disorder and the intricate ways it can effect both the patient and those who love them. Seriously, well done. 5+ stars.
This is the story of Loren (who we meet in book 2) and Eliot. I listened to this book in audio which added another layer to the emotional and at times heartbreaking story. Now if you’ve read my previous audio reviews for this series you’ll know I just couldn’t connect with the previous narrator but this book has a different one Michael Stellman and THANK GOD. Because of the angst and emotion in this story Michael conveyed this in an excellent way and I really fell in love with his narration style. I will say though, if you are feeling slightly emotional anyway or you or some one you know suffer from some of the issues raised in this book I’d probably recommend getting the print version not the audio as it’s very immersive this way and I imagine would be more upsetting to some.
Loren and Eliot meet as kids when Elliot moves in next door. Loren’s Mum encourages him to go and say Hey to the new kid. Right from the very first time they meet Loren notices something special about Eliot. He’s hyper and talking a mile a minute and is obsessed with the moon and they instantly become best friends. As they grow up Loren continues to adore Eliot but his increasing ‘weirdness’ (Loren’s word) starts to concern him. Eliot starts drinking and taking drugs and his behaviour becomes increasingly erratic. He expresses his concerns to Eliot’s Mum who is a doctor herself who brushes him off. There’s a big incident in their senior year which leads to the two of them going their separate ways.
They meet again years later when Loren who is now a police officer is working a case in Arizona and meets an informant in a seedy strip club. He cannot believe his eyes when ‘Angel’ the stripper on stage is his Elliot. Elliot who has now formally been diagnosed with rapid-cycling bipolar 1 disorder comorbid with anxiety. He’s off his meds and self medicating with alcohol. In this current state he doesn’t even recognise Loren. Loren pays a visit to Elliot’s Mum who is also living in Arizona. She has done everything she feels she could to try and help Elliot and his Dad walked out and left them some point a long the way because he couldn’t cope with his sons illness.
Loren can’t help but be drawn to Eliot even after all these years. They strike up a tentative friendship which eventually leads to more. But this is not a lovey-dovey hearts and flowers book. It’s about Eliot’s continued deteriorating mental health and Loren trying to support him whilst keeping up with the increasing demands of a new and stressful job, unfortunately trying to further his career and help Eliot with his recovery are just not compatible and Eliot ends up in the psychiatric hospital many times throughout this book. It’s mainly told from Loren’s perspective but there are chapters told from Eliot’s which are frankly amazing. These chapters are exceptionally well written and I think it’s very important to get a true glimpse in to the mind of someone trying to deal with their bipolar disorder.
Secondary characters are excellent in this book and really well developed. I love Eliot’s homeless friends that he cares for, the medical professionals and patients at the psychiatric hospital are also excellent and I want to give a particular shout out to married couple Traci and Donovan who run the friends and family session at the hospital, she’s bipolar and he’s not and I fell in love with her the moment she deemed people who struggle with mental health issues ‘mentally interesting people’. Love her. We also get to catch up with the characters from the other books which was awesome.
The ending was absolutely perfect for this book. Again it was not all rainbows and sunshine. It’s set three years later and they both reflect back on Eliot’s ongoing struggles with his condition. We also get to catch up with the other characters and what they are up to.
As I said at the beginning of this review this book is truly outstanding made all the better for listening to it in audio!