How Not to Let Go, Emily Foster

How Not to Let Go,  Emily Foster

How Not to Let Go (The Belhaven Series) by [Foster, Emily]

Genre:   Romance, New Adult

I’d only reads the sample of How Not to Fall, and after reading this I really want to read that.
How Not to Let Go is an incredible read, full of emotions that really pulled at me, had me on the edge of tears. It is a romance read, very much so, but very, very different to the typical ones we see.

I think even though I loved this I’d have got more, understood more if I’d read the first story. Its very connected to this book, Charles family and background is so flawed, so integral to how he feels here, the problems he has, the way he just feels he’s just not good enough for her, can’t be what she deserves and needs. Yet he can’t seem to stay away, can’t quite let go of her.
Its clear to the reader he loves her as much as she loves him but he just can’t let himself love. And that’s the problem, letting go, feeling, trusting, giving oneself over to someone else, he just can’t take that step.

Annie- oh she’s wonderful, adored by her parents and yet she’s not spoiled, they have money but she’s not showered in material goods. What it has given her though, this precious background full of love, is so much self confidence, not in an OTT arrogant way, but just that she knows and acknowledges her strengths, and she’s always a glass half full person, always looking at the positives. I really enjoyed her.

The story picks up from their separation, to where they’re both moving on, but shattered, broken it feels.
At first I though Annie was the more distraught one, but as I came to know Charles ( and perhaps would have got this earlier if I’d read book one), I understood that actually he’s really struggling underneath that facade he puts forward. He’s a different man inside, but he’s so used to controlling himself, putting his needs last and looking after everyone else, that what we see is only a shadow of the actual man. Oh I was soooo in love with him, even when I wanted to scream “ just hug her Man, give her a chance”.

There were times when I felt the novel got a little too wordy, too literate and “clever”, that the continual metaphors and references were a bit much, and I had to keep stopping to work out what exactly the author meant by them, it took time to understand what she was getting at.
I didn’t really follow Charles’  family dynamics, didn’t know why no-one really stood up to his father, why his mum stayed with him – he really was an awful, obnoxious ranter. Again maybe that was in the first book, but it became clear by the end of this.
It didn’t spoil how I loved the story, but maybe would have helped me understand Charles a little more.

Their love seems destined, their Thing, their Something, is just meant to be, but somehow Charles keeps getting in his own way. Annie is so open, so ready to accept any and everything, to take Love as part of the natural progress of Annie and Charles but he can’t.
It took most of the book before I really understood why. I’d got early on he had some serious issues, but somehow each time they look like their being overcome something happens and more arise and I see they’re deeper than I thought.

I can’t end with mentioning Charles family, the good side – their mum and Abba – wonderful, Biz, I want to know more of her, and of course Simon.
Simon is even more of a genius that Charles, works in some super secret role for the UK Gov, and he’s got issues beside the ones he shares with Charles and Biz about their father. He’s an Albino, and has a really bad stutter. I loved the way he could quote and sing without stuttering.
Years ago one of our friends had a severe stroke which left him with impaired speech, and a really bad stutter and yet, like Simon, he could sing perfectly, never stumble on a word. The brain is an incredible thing isn’t it?
I do hope Emily has a book (or books) in store for Simon. He really deserves to find love, to feel that someone loves him for himself, not because he’s family, not because he’s a genius but just because he’s Simon.

I was so entranced by the connection between Charles and Annie, enjoyed reading about how he had to work through some serious mental issues caused by his awful father, the way they were described ( rage mountain etc), the way he talked things through with therapist Clarissa. That part led me to understanding more of him and how he struggled with expressing and understanding his feelings. On the face it seems simple, love someone and they love you and that’s it but this made me think of how many people are like Charles, deserving and wanting love but feeling they just can’t.
With PTSD and similar problems becoming more and more recognised, metal health issues are so important for people to move forward from them.

Of course what I haven’t mentioned is the sex, I can see from reviews that this was a big part of book one. Here its a more minor role but wow – when they do get together its incredible; sensual, erotic, steamy and also very much linking to the issues Charles has. It shows how pervasive childhood influences are, how they seep in and affect so much of our adult lives.

And I’ve rambled a bit, well – a lot, but its such a wonderful read, so focussed, so intense, so different from the myriad of fluffy Alpha heroes that dominate romance. I like those sometimes, there are some really well written ones, but there are far more that are just simplistic and formulaic. This book is romance at the very opposite end of the scale to that. I loved it, loved way the characters felt so real, the situations what many of us have been through, loved the British terms – as a UK reader I appreciated Ar se not Ass!!!

Stars: Five, one to keep, to savour rereading – preferably after reading the first book.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

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About jeanniezelos

I'm an avid reader, love my kindle and I have my head in a novel for hours daily : ) Mum used to say I'd read toilet paper if it was printed- it wasn't, so i had to contend myself with the back and sides of the cereal packets. I've always Needed to read and we had few books when i was a child hence my penchant for reading anything including adverts then... I review mainly contemporary, erotic and paranormal romance books though dystopian and urban fantasy also appeal. I'm currently rated around the 300 mark on for my reviews. I try to keep them structured and to say what I do and don't like about a book so other readers can use my review as a guide to whether they may enjoy the book.

2 responses to “How Not to Let Go, Emily Foster”

  1. jeanniezelos says :

    Thanks Sweden, Its one of those reads that has a lot going on but doesn’t get overpowered by the subplots.
    I’ve just finished one that tried the same format but for that one it just didn’t work for me, felt too overdone and the main thrust got lost in bits that were unnecessary to the story. sadly it ended up a 2* read despite sounding perfect for me 😦
    I find that seems to happen too often, maybe authors think the story is too simple and throw in some sub plots to make it deeper, but its hard to do well, not many ( IMO) manage it, but in this book its perfect.

  2. Sweden Reese says :

    A beautiful review of what sounds like a multilayered novel, Jeannie! Whew, sounds like a lot going on here, and you conveyed it all perfectly.

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