LIGHT IN THE SHADOWS
(Find You in the Dark #2)
by A. Meredith Walters
Read below for my review, author interview & giveaway
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Rating: 5 stars
At the end of Find You in the Dark, Maggie was left heart broken and devastated while Clay was holding on by the smallest thread. I will be honest – I felt that these two were almost hopeless. How could these two find a happily ever after together? Clay had dragged Maggie down into the deep dark place where he was and there was almost no way out.
So when I sat down to read this book, I had my fingers crossed and begged to the book gods that there would be happiness for both of them. At one point while reading I was worried because together these two could be beautiful, but dangerous. The feelings and emotions they evoked in one another were powerful and would either make or break both of them. I cried tears of relief when I finished because Ms. Walters did such a phenomenal job in writing the end of Maggie and Clay’s story. I will tell you now in case you were worried – yes there is a Happily Ever After and yes you will be satisfied by it.
The thing about the shadows is that they’re not all darkness. You need to have light to have shadows. So just look for it.
After almost three months since Clay’s incident in the motel bathroom, Maggie and Clay find themselves face to face – something that neither of them expected, but had hoped for. The minute they saw one another they knew – you knew, as a reader – that what they had was still there and their love had not faded. The story follows them as they try to work together to rebuild the trust that is needed for them to have a healthy relationship. It has speed bumps and land mines, but this time around you could just tell it was different for them. They both knew what it was like to lose one another and be apart and neither of them were willing to do that again.
The story was told in alternating POV switching between Maggie and Clay. It was so refreshing to read what was going in Clay’s head and even better that he was actually starting to heal and get better. He had a long road a head of him, but he was positive and was more aware of what his behavior had done to the ones he loves. From the very beginning, you knew how much he loved Maggie and that Maggie was a huge factor in why he worked so hard to get better. He had hope. Hope for a future and hope that that future would be with Maggie. I loved reading from Clay’s perspective and loved to watch him grow and heal.
I wanted her to miss me, to long for me, to crave me the way I craved her.
My feelings about Maggie May Young were too intense, too consuming and they always threatened to swallow me whole.
I clung to my girlfriend. The person who had always been my light in the shadows and who continued to love me even at my worst. Who reminded me that everyone deserved love, even me.
My heart broke for Maggie all over again as soon as she started to speak. I could just tell, even though she was trying hard to be normal, she was broken beyond repair. She was willing to walk into the depths of darkness for Clayton Reed so when he left her and told her to move on, all that was left was a shell of who she used to be. Oh how I missed the sassy, snarky and sometimes bitchy Maggie May… Despite what she went through, when Clay came back, she made the decision to follow her heart and forget about what anyone else thought. She was determined to make things different and do them right this time around, which had me loving her even more than I already did. My favorite part of this “new” Maggie was that she was honest – with herself, her parents, her friends and even Clay.
It was time for me to grow up and reintroduce myself to my spine.
He and I were definitely not on the same page. In fact, he was a good twenty chapters ahead of me. It made me want to rip out the freaking pages and shove them down his throat.
Seeing him again had only confirmed what my subconscious already knew. I would never move on from Clay. My soul belonged with him, was so entangled in him that I was no longer a single being.
Now let me address this ending. It was…PERFECT! The one thing that made it fantastic was that it was REALISTIC! The heart of this story is about a boy who had deep dark demons in the form of mental illness and the girl who loved him enough to fight to keep him in the light. This does not happen overnight and Ms. Walters knew that. She made sure that Maggie and Clay both got what they needed so that they could move forward together. I loved the Epilogue and was saddened only because that was the last I’d have with Maggie and Clay.
Life with Clayton Reed would never be sunshine and roses. It would be lots of shadows with intermittent light. And I was beginning to figure out ways to appreciate the light when I saw it. Because that darkness was still there. It most likely would always be there.
The delicacy in which Ms. Walters handled this story was moving and just showed how much thought and care went into writing this book. I loved every minute of this book and know you will too.
Interview with A. Meredith Walters
The subject matter in Find You in the Dark & Light In the Shadows – Clay’s bipolar and Borderline Personality Disorder – is a delicate topic that is not usually found in the indie book community. What inspired you to write this story? Did you expect the reactions that you have received from it?
This book was created because of several reasons. One being that I spent over a decade as a mental health counselor for children and teens with severe mental health and behavioral issues. Before moving to the UK in June of last year, I was able to discharge a client from treatment that I had been working with daily for four and a half years. This child was expected to end up institutionalized given the severity of his mental health issues. But over time, with love and support he became this amazing and awe-inspiring person. His battle, both the good and the bad, has inspired me in so many ways. I wanted to write a story about a young man who people had written off. Someone who didn’t believe they deserved love and what that does to a person. I wanted these stories to show that EVERYONE deserves love and support and that there is always hope. That you should never give up.
But I have also experienced the turmoil of caring for someone with mental health issues in my personal life. The pain, the anguish, but most of all the love is so raw and intimate. I just wanted to share that through these stories.
I’ve been completely overwhelmed by the response to Maggie and Clay’s story. When I was writing Find You in the Dark, I didn’t think anyone would want to read such a dark book. But the reader support is phenomenal! I feel so lucky!
After reading Find You In The Dark, readers were left with almost no hope for Maggie and Clay. Was it challenging for you to kick start their story in Light in the Shadows when everything and everyone seemed to be going against them?
When I started writing Light in the Shadows I wasn’t entirely sure where I wanted to do with them. I started and stopped so many times. And to be honest, I ALMOST didn’t give them the HEA. I was worried that given the nature of Clay’s illness, making them happy at the end wouldn’t necessarily be realistic. But I couldn’t do that to Maggie and Clay. They needed their light at the end of all that darkness. With everything they had been through, to not have it mean something would be wrong. So I took them on this journey of working through their issues, of learning to trust one another. For a couple like Maggie and Clay there were always be bumps in the road. But I know that they are strong enough to make it through that.
In this book, you wrote from both Clay and Maggie’s POV. How difficult was it for you to write from Clay’s perspective? Did you find it harder or easier than writing from Maggie’s?
It was incredibly difficult. Clay is so dark and tortured that he was frankly, depressing for me to write at times. There would be days I had to walk away from it because it became too much. Maggie was much easier, because in so many ways she was me. She felt my feelings and had my thoughts. So writing her was like unleashing myself. Having to think from Clay’s POV was like going into a very dark hole and trying to break through to the surface.
What was the hardest scene you had to write in either Find You in The Dark and/or Light In the Shadows? Favorite scene?
My hardest scene was most definitely the suicide attempt in Find You in the Dark. Maggie’s panic and terror at finding Clay and all of the aftermath in the hospital was gutting for me. It triggered so many things in me that it literally took me a week and a half to finish those chapters. My favorite was the Epilogue in Light in the Shadows. Writing their HEA was so satisfying and I shed a few tears when I wrote the last words.
Light In the Shadows’ epilogue takes place 6 years after the end of the last chapter of the book. Were Maggie & Clay really apart for all this time? What made you decide to have 6 years go by before they could actually be “together” again?
There are no “quick fixes” when it comes to mental health treatment. People with these issues face life long battles. I needed Clay to go back to treatment. He wasn’t ready to do it on his own. The two of them needed to live their lives and heal separately, but while maintaining their support for each other. The process for people in treatment is a long one. Clay would have gone onto the six month program and then been discharged into a group home for mental health patients. He would still be going through extensive and intense treatment at this stage. I felt it would take Clay a long time to get to the point where he was able to walk into that future with Maggie. Borderline Personality Disorder is one of the hardest disorders to treat. Because you can’t “medicate” it, it takes a lot of work on part of the patient. Clay had to be focused on getting himself better. And Maggie needed to live her life and be fulfilled. They could live a part but still be together. Clay needed that time to feel that he was stable in his life. It may seem like a long time until they could finally be together, but it was necessary in my opinion.
Is this the last we’ve seen from Maggie and Clay? Do you ever plan on revisiting them in the future?
I feel like their story has been told. I went into writing Find You in the Dark knowing it would be a two book journey. I have no plans of revisiting them. But I like to think about what their life would be like. How having children would affect Clay’s mental health. But I know that they can get through anything.
What does the rest of 2013 look like for you? Other than the sequel to Bad Rep, do you have any more books in the works?
I do have other ideas for books. After writing the Bad Rep sequel, which I’m working on now, I have plans to write a book about a young man with Asperger’s. I really enjoy writing about people who have to overcome obstacles. The grittier the better!
About A. Meredith Walters
The New York Times bestselling author of Contemporary and Paranormal romance including Find You in the Dark, Cloud Walking and Bad Rep.
A. Meredith spent ten years as a counselor for at risk teens and children. First working at a Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault program and then later a program for children with severe emotional and mental health issues. Her former clients and their stories continue to influence every aspect of her writing.
A. Meredith recently moved to England and is trying to get used to driving on the other side of the road, eating fish and chips and all things British 🙂
A. Meredith and I are giving away eBook copies of the complete set of the Find You in the Dark series to one winner.