Holding On is that book we all wish for after finishing a romance novel. You know, once you’ve finished the epilogue and close the cover and you sit there and think, ‘I want to know what happens next!’ You want to experience the after with them—their marriage, their children, their story once they’ve gotten the happily ever after. Miz Stivali has given us the novel we all crave and almost never get. And I really and truly want to thank her for that!
When the book opens, we find Marienne and Daniel very much enjoying their domestic bliss. Marienne finally has her lifetime partner who wants to listen to her and spend time with her. Daniel cherishes Marienne and never hides that from her. And Daniel finally has a woman by his side who doesn’t want to change him or make him into someone he’s not. Marienne adores Daniel and she lets him know it everyday. And so does Ella, the most adorable and sweet little girl.
But changes, they are a’coming. Big changes. Happy changes. When Marienne see’s those double lines on that all-important plastic stick—their life together grows infinitely more complicated and precious. And Daniel, oh, that man. How I love him. His reactions to every step of Marienne’s pregnancy were some of my favorite moments. And what he turns his fears and hopes, his anxiety and worry, into… Perfect. It was great to see Daniel succeed on his own terms.
Success that brings ghosts from the past back to the present. Ghosts that made me want to hiss and claw. You can probably guess who would bring out such a reaction… Justine. Grr. But she isn’t the only speed bump that arises. Marienne and Daniel have many obstacles they have to overcome and it only reinforced for me how great they are together. Jealousy and doubt and other dark emotions are par for the course in any relationship and it only makes the love and trust and devotion that much sweeter.
Sigh. That’s what I always feel like doing after reading one of Miz Stivali’s novels. I just want to sit here, with my hand over my heart, and sigh. And smile. Because there is something so innately sweet and heartfelt about her characters and their love. Their struggles and their triumphs and their emotions ring so true and honest. I loved Marienne and Daniel in Meant to Be and I think I may love them even more in Holding On.
I can’t wait to see where this couple goes next. I love the direction that Miz Stivali is taking them and will be eagerly anticipating a third book.
“You look good—all stubbly.” She gazed up at him, her eyes sleepy but twinkling.
”You look good in my sweater.” He pressed against her.
”I’m glad to hear that, I’ve been wearing it most of the week.”
He pulled back and looked at her.
She shrugged. “It’s silly but it made me feel like a part of you was with me.”
His heart beat unevenly. “That’s not silly at all. If I’d have had some of your clothes with me I’m sure I’d have worn them too.”
Thoughts While Reading:
14.0% - "Oh, Daniel. You sweet, sweet man."
49.0% - "Well, as far as run-ins with ex's go, that wasn't too bad."
100.0% - "Hope this isn't the last we see of Daniel & Marienne!"