I Hold Your Heart

Trigger warnings: sexual assault, rape, emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexism, obsessive behaviour. gaslighting, stalking and biphobia 

Today is quite a special post, as it is my first ever blog tour! Tomorrow, the heart-breaking, wonderful I Hold your Heart by Karen Gregory is officially released and I’m honoured to be reviewing it.

Thank you to Faye Rogers and Bloomsbury for including me and sending me this incredible book in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:

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‘You make me feel like there’s something good in the world I can hold on to,’ Aaron says. He kisses me again, draws me so close it’s almost hard to breathe. ‘I love you, Gem. And I promise I’ll hold your heart forever.’

When Gemma meets Aaron, she feels truly seen for the first time. Their love story is the intense kind. The written-in-the-stars, excluding-all-others kind. The kind you write songs about.

But little by little their relationship takes over Gemma’s life. What happens when being seen becomes being watched, and care becomes control?

Told in both Gemma’s and Aaron’s words, this is a raw, moving exploration of gaslighting in teenage relationships that skewers our ideas of what love looks like.

My Thoughts:

Karen Gregory is a master at creating complex, memorable characters that face such incredibly dark issues that are so relevant and treated empathetically.

I already loved her previous books (Countless and Skylarks), so I had high expectations going in and I was not disappointed. Gemma’s voice hooked me instantly and then I was shocked by the inclusion of Aaron’s perspective, which I actually ended up enjoying. He has this twisted view that Gregory never allows to justify his deplorable actions and is sadly so recognisable of people I know.

The major thing I loved about this book is how you can suckered into the relationship along with Gemma, though the warning signs are there instantly, you can relate to her so much. All of the plot unfolds over such a short space of time, which is so terrifying, as it is so realistic. The level of control Aaron has over Gemma slowly progresses, building this intense, claustrophobic atmosphere that has you begging her to get out, as she is slowly isolated.

But, from the start you have this uneasy feeling about the entire relationship, this sense of doubt pervading every page, which is a fantastic example of Gregory’s skill. It’s the slow burn build of control and abuse that is so unnerving and makes Gemma’s story one that everyone should read. So many of my peer group know nothing about emotional abuse, making books like these valuable resources. I know that I learnt a lot more about gaslighting though this and can now recognise it in relationships I’ve seen in the past.

As ever, her writing is clean, sharp and incredibly honest. You feel as though you’ve known these characters forever and they felt so authentic and three-dimensional.

Essentially, I Hold Your Heart is a razor-sharp, compulsively readable exploration of abusive relationships with realistic, unforgettable characters.

I Hold Your Heart Blog Tour

Thank you again to Bloomsbury and Faye Rogers for sending a copy in exchange for a honest review and please check out the other amazing posts on this blog tour!

2 thoughts on “I Hold Your Heart

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