Barrett & Ivan

Barrett & Ivan - A.D.  Ellis This book was provided by AD Ellis and read on behalf of Thorns & Ink.

This is the 3rd installment in this series. Does it get better, oh I hope so. All series do come to an end, and I hope Ms. Ellis gives us a few more before she does that. She hits on a few central themes in this book. Each tackled with grace and understanding.

When is a kiss just a kiss? When is a kiss promising the future? I like this take on the “big misunderstanding” theme. It really wasn’t a big misunderstanding so much as it was Ivan trying to talk himself and Barrett out of wanting the same thing. Happiness with each other. It only last a little while. The solution that Lexi (Ivan’s little sister) comes up with is very on point. I would have recommended the same.

Another theme that Ms. Ellis is mental disease/defect. I am sorry if you don’t feel that PTSD qualifies, but it does. What really hit home was Ivan coming home from prison. (My mother worked with women recently out of prison and on parole.) Ms. Ellis captured what I saw of the women’s behavior in Ivan perfectly. The fear and the triggers.

Ivan’s first few nights home where similar to the stories of the women I talked to. Portraying this in fictional writing takes a lot of skill and research. She gets it completely. The plan that Barrett and Lexi come up with for Ivan is exactly right. They keep him focused and busy. The bright light in the dark if you will.

This is where I talk about the characters. I want to talk about Barrett for a moment. I find him soul deep beautiful. He is what some would call the manic pixie, except he has the talent and discipline to back up the muse that is his personality. The more I read, the more I saw that Barrett caused Ivan to want to be a better man.

Ivan sacrificed a lot. He suffered for his loves. He came home stronger for it. The apple of his eye, Lexi is amazing and pragmatic. She is sweet and wise beyond her years. These days it is rare for me to relate to a character so young, but she is very relatable. She is not perfect. While none of them are, she comes with the frailty and the hope of youth. I love her for it. This is what keeps one young in the face of growing mentally beyond one’s years.

Ivan, my big squishy man. What can I say? He had me at the beginning. There are a lot of people who talk a big game and don’t deliver. In a split second, he sealed his fate. He didn’t talk a big game, he did what he had to for his sister and her best friend to survive. Ivan was aware as to why he was in prison, he did not blame others. He is a survivor. He suffered. No doubt about it. But he never once took it out on those he loved.

Normally, I don’t talk about dedications or acknowledgements. Ms. Ellis writes beautiful ones. I recommend reading the one for this book. She is moving. The love she pours into each of her books is so evident here. The story itself lends itself to a reread in the future. But the acknowledgements are endearing. In it she thanks all who have been on this journey with her. As a reader and a reviewer, I am very glad she contacted me.