AUTHOR:  Tara Sivec

GENRE:  Romance (Second Chance)


REVIEWER:  Pistol Annie

RATING:  4  Stars


How much can a man take before he breaks?

1,843 days. That’s how long I survived in that hellhole. They tried to break me, but I resisted. And I owe it all to the memory of warm summer nights, the scent of peaches, and the one woman who loved me more than I ever deserved to be loved. Now, I’ll do anything to get back to her.

Only Shelby Eubanks isn’t the girl I left behind all those years ago. She’s someone else, a stranger. My Shelby-my little green-eyed firecracker-would never give up her dreams, would never disappear into her mother’s ambitions. But I won’t give up on her. On us. I may be broken, and scarred, and not the man I used to be, but I will do whatever it takes to remind her of the story of us.


I wonder if she still thinks of me as much as I do her. I wonder if she knows she’s the only reason I’m still breathing, still fighting, and still holding on.



Hello Tearjerker!  Tara Sivec, you normally make me laugh.  You show me a good time.  And I come away a happy camper.  This time around you gave me tears and a sad heart – you rained on my campground.

BUT . . .

I won’t complain because Shelby and Eli’s achingly beautiful story was worth a couple days of cloudiness and a box of kleenex.  The writing was beautifully executed.  A multi-layered tale in which I was gripped by the suspenseful conspiracy element.  Two terrific main characters who simply could not be more perfectly cast.  They were compelling and quite captivating.  Such a defining group of secondary characters that kept me enthralled and passionate about their roles, as well.  Both the BFF and the buddy friendships were perfectly relatable.  They brought an additional level of depth to this story that was quite emotional as well as endearing.  You might even shed a tear or two — one will certainly break your heart.  But when the sun comes out, friendship and true love will always win!

Shelby has lived a life of privilege.  Eli’s that guy from the wrong side of the “stable.”  Their relationship was fun and playful at times, and very intense at other times. I loved the variations in the story that kept me engaged.  The story came alive with stunning scenes, heart wrenching characters, and then stole my breath while tugging at my heart strings. Emotionally riveting from beginning to end, this is a romance that I never wanted to end!  And it proved to be even better and more enticing because I chose to follow a well-meaning suggestion:  “Go into this one blindly.”

A young soldier marches off to war leaving the love of his life behind.  Six years later, he comes home again.  But nothing is the same.  He’s fought to stay alive for five years as a POW in an enemy hellhole, and now he’s home to reclaim his life and the girl he never stopped loving.  He may have left under questionable conditions, but he’s returned with a vengeance to right the wrongs. 

Shelby’s lived in her own version of prison for years, too.  She’s made huge sacrifices for the love of her life and his family.  Her neck is in a noose with no out in sight.  Unknowingly, evil is closer than she can ever imagine.  Both Eli and Shelby made a deal with the devil in the name of love.  Neither realized the level or reach of the conspiracy used against them that lead to their separation until too late.  But once Eli returns and the two of them reunite, it doesn’t take long before they realize that the deck is stacked against their happy reunion.

An awful cold and nagging feeling hit me each time one particular character entered a scene.  And I never lost that persistent feeling that made me nauseous and kept my “beware” radar going off with each interaction that included that specific character.  My radar hit its mark and my feelings played out correctly.  How anyone can be so cruel and uncaring is beyond me.  Good riddance, Scumbag! 

Told from both Shelby’s and Eli’s points of view while integrating past and present timelines, the transition for both is well-done and easy to follow.  For most of the book, I thought the timing was perfect — no rush to the finish line for what demanded to be taken slowly and meaningfully, and this is where I think the author shines.  However, with the ending in sight, things got a little rushed and lost some of the overall impact for me.  The unraveling of the entire conspiracy came fast and furiously — maybe a little too much so.  Personally, this was the only real nitpick I had with this book — except for a half dozen or so minor editing glitches.  (Nope, can’t let those slip by without mention.)

Seriously, this book was tough going at times.  But it’s not one you’ll soon place on the bookshelf and forget, either.  You’ll find all the “feels” that make a story exceptional.  From the first to the last page, you’ll be wrapped in emotions and held captive.  Eli and Shelby’s story is not without heartache, sadness and plain old agonizing sorrow.  The PTSD effect on Eli was a tearful reminder of those heroic soldiers returning from service to our country and the hardships they face as they transition back into their lives here at home.  But there’s also courage, passion and hope alongside.  We’re talking second chances at love and life literally.  Most of all, it’s a dance of life in a great affirmation of the power of love.

Tara Sivec’s words create magic.  Between the writing, the storyline and the characters, The Story of Us is simply unforgettable.  The entire story is enveloped in so many masterfully written encounters and dialogues that keep you totally absorbed.  A terrific and heart-stealing Epilogue proves that the greatest gift of all is unconditional love.

There’s a rumor that the next generation will step up and tell their story soon.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the offspring will also share an update on Eli and Shelby, too.  No scheduled release date at this time.

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