He counts her smiles every day and night at the train station. And morning and evening, the beautiful commuter acknowledges him—just like she does everyone else on the platform. But Blake Hartt is not like the others . . . he’s homeless. Memories of a broken childhood have robbed him of peace and twisted delusions into his soul. He stays secluded from the sun, sure the world would run from him in the harsh light of day.
Each day, Livia McHugh smiles politely and acknowledges her fellow commuters as she waits for the train to the city. She dismisses this kindness as nothing special, just like her. She’s the same as a million other girls—certainly no one to be cherished. But special or not, she smiles every day, never imagining that someone would rely on the simple gesture as if it were air to breathe.
When the moment comes that Livia must do more than smile, without hesitation she steps into the fray to defend the homeless man. And she’s surprised to discover an inexplicable connection with her new friend. After danger subsides, their smiles become conversation. Their words usher in a friendship, which awakens something in each of them. But it’s not long before their bond must prove its strength. Entanglements from the past challenge both their love and their lives.
Blake’s heart beats for Livia’s, even if her hands have to keep its rhythm. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love never fails. Love never fails, right?
In an interwoven tale of unlikely loves and relationships forged by fire, Debra Anastasia takes readers into the darkest corners of human existence, only to show them the radiant power of pure adoration and true sacrifice. Complicated families and confused souls find their way to light in this novel, which manages to be racy, profane, funny, and reverent all at once.
Where to begin? Two words… Mind. Blown.
I loved the idea behind the story of Livia and Blake! That in itself would have been enough for me but that isn’t what you get with Poughkeepsie… the story isn’t about two people falling in love, it’s about everybody surrounding them and the insane life they lead. There were sub plots for sub plots for sub plots in this book. There was so much going on that sometimes I found it difficult to keep track. I adore the initial idea for the romance between Blake and Livia and I also did really enjoy some of the gritty dramatics, but it was a little toooo much in my opinion.
Fantastic set of characters. Really, some of the best character development I’ve read in a book! You felt like you knew each of the so well. Blake and Livia first, the Blake’s brothers Cole and Beckett, and Livia’s sister Kyle. And it goes beyond that even… Debra Anastasia is the boss when it comes to creating characters!
The surrounding characters were great. I absolutely adored Beckett, Blake’s older foster brother! I think he was my favourite, ironically, as they don’t come badder than Beckett Taylor, the murdering, pimping, but gorgeously muscled drug dealer, who commits crimes to protect his young brothers! I know, right? Not to mention he has the most hilarious, filthy mouth! He has some priceless one liners that had me LOL’ing all over the place.
“Captain Romance back there wants to inject himself into you like a vaccine.”
The author does such an amazing job of developing every single character in this story that actually, I think it goes a bit far the other way… there were times when I forgot that this was a story about Livia and Blake and I felt that important parts of their story were compromised at the expense of things that were going on with the other characters.
It took me a couple of days to get through this book, which is unusual for me, but I just kept putting it down to give my mind a break, it was that intense! There was copious amounts of grit, bloodshed, crime, drama, action… and for me, not enough romance in what, essentially, when you strip all of the drama away, was an extremely romantic story of an ordinary, kind hearted woman falling for a homeless, vulnerable young man who counts her smiles… swoon worthy isn’t it? I just wish we’d heard more of it.
Blake is just the most adorable character! I fell head over heels for his innocence and his chivalrousness. You can’t help but want to take him home and keep him safe.
“You make the rest of the beautiful things in the world cry for even trying at all. You make it hard for me to breathe.”
There are a couple of steamy scenes. I’d say the scenes between Blake and Livia are more intensely emotional and romantic than steamy.
“You’ve smiled at him four hundred and forty six times as of a few minutes ago. He announces the number every time I see him.”
I absolutely cried my eyes dry at Beckett’s final scene in the story! As such a Beckett fan I was not at all happy with that ending and it broke my heart. If I’m not careful I’ll end up with a house full of these troubled brothers, because I’d have brought him home and kept him safe too.
There was more angst than you can shake a stick at! Murders galore, crimes, explosion, shootings, stalkers, kidnapping, drive bys, romantic break ups… think of a source of angst and Poughkeepsie likely covers it! However, the romantically linked characters are pretty steadfast for most of the book. Obviously there are a few stumbling blocks for them, but that isn’t really where the angst features so much. It’s more all the crazy going on around them.
Overall it’s a happy ending, but with so many characters and so much crap going down, it’s not possible for every one of them to get their HEA. Cue the tears! I cried like a baby on two occasions.
“Dear Livia McHugh. I’ll be your husband. I’ll be nothing but yours for the rest of forever. A single, simple day with you is something I’ll refuse to take for granted. You have been the reason my heart beats since the moment I saw you, long before your hands actually had to do the job for me. Sleep in my arms. Wake up by my side. My beautiful love, be my wife and make me the happiest man. And I will never, ever lose count. Love always, Blake Hartt”
So yeh, parts of it I couldn’t get enough of and parts of it felt like wading through treacle. It was a mixed bag for me. If you like a tonne of action and drama with your romance, then this is one for you… but personally, I prefer a bit more sex and shmoosh with mine.
“If you’re playing on fucking me to death, I’m so on board with that.”
I could go on… there are some truly brilliant pieces of writing in Poughkeepsie. I’d recommend the read just for those alone.
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