Feature book: Saving Ella
This story may be heavy going for some readers as it involves family violence.
Ella Munroe is a young girl who loves to draw, particularly in charcoal. She is able to lose herself in drawing. Ella idolises her father. She doesn’t have too much respect for her mother. Then her father dies, and it sets her on an unexpected trajectory. Her mother remarries, and her new stepfather has it in for her. Ella was a good girl, but when her new stepfather enters the picture, the brutal assaults start. Ella starts to use drugs, alcohol and sex as a way to try and forget what is happening to her. Each time she runs away, she is brought back by the police. One officer is particularly friendly with her stepfather. Her stepfather has warned her that if she leaves, he will find her. One week before her eighteenth birthday, her stepfather attacks her and tries to rape her. Ella manages to grab a gun, point it at her stepfather and escape.
Ella finds a woman who will help her, and she is able to escape almost completely. She arrives in the town during a snowstorm and is taken into a shelter she happens to be passing when she almost collapses. She is taken into the arms of Jax.
Jax Carter is an ex-military man. He has done a few tours in Afghanistan but decided that the army is no longer for him. He wants to save lives rather than take them. The shelter is run by his mother and, despite being a large man, he is very gentle with the women who come to the shelter. He owns his own business but actually leaves that to others, so he can provide essential backup to the shelter. Jax has a friends-with-benefits relationship with Selena. Selena becomes demanding and no amount of saying ‘I’m no longer interested’ will put her off.
Both Ella and Jax have nightmares that time will heal. Jax sees a counsellor about his issues, but Ella is able to discuss hers with Jax. Jax is keen to protect Ella and also comes to understand that perhaps her stepfather may come looking for Ella. He calls in a favour to find out more about her stepfather.
After several misunderstandings, Jax and Ella develop their relationship to a point that there are few secrets, and they are ready to have their HEA. Jax has the information on Marcus, Ella’s stepfather. He needs to put him in jail, but he also has to tell Ella that her mother has died. Then Ella’s stepfather finds her, and the pair have to deal with his violent attack.
This story may not be for everyone due to the family violence. The story does describe several occurrences of family violence, particularly as the women’s shelter is a focus. What I did like was the way in which these two damaged souls are able to find each other and deal with the cards life has dealt them. Both Ella and Jax are strong people and know what they should do to help themselves to get to the next point. They deal with things as they come up and one at a time.
Reviewed by Heather
A review copy of this book was provided by the author.