One Night Stand: The Boots My Mother Gave Me by Brooklyn James


The Boots My Mother Gave Me by Brooklyn James
2010-08-09 (Arena)

Rating: A+
Heat: Warm

Heroine: Harley LeBeau – Free Spirit, Musician 
Hero: Jeremiah Johnson – Patient, Marine 
Setting: Pennsylvania, USA



The Boots My Mother Gave Me is a powerful story about a young woman named Harley who's family life is dysfunctional. Her father is an abusive alcoholic. The day after she graduates from high school, she packs Charlaine, her 1970 Chevelle SS 396, and takes off to see the world. She has no idea where the road will take her and doesn't care. She just wants to spread her wings and fly.

What the hell did I really want? What do you do when you want to do everything? What do you do when you can't find that one, special little thing you just know you were born to do?

Harley is an exciting and unique character. She's free-spirited, strong-willed, and marches to her own beat. She grew up a tom boy who loves to work on cars and hung out with the boys. She eventually grows into herself as a woman. As the reader follows her journey, she moves around the country working different jobs and meeting different people that play an important role in the way her life is shaped. She's also a talented musician who writes honest songs about her life. While she is on the road, one emergency after another with her family always brings her back to the one place she is trying to escape. Home. Her family is extremely dysfunctional with a mother who is unable to walk away from her father no matter how many times he physically and mentally abuses her. Being that her mother is an enabler, it's hard to save her.

They were both so incredibly sick and co-dependent, the abuser and the enabler. A dysfunctional, ill group, that's what we had become, effortlessly fulfilling our designated roles.

She and her sister, Kat, have tried time and again to get her mother out of the house but her mother refuses to leave him. Over and over her father abuses his family, but then he does something kind that reminds them why they love him and they all keep going back to him, including Harley. This family finds it hard not to love this man even though they are victims of his abuse. Any kindness he gives the family, gives them hope that he will change. I felt like Harley was the true back bone to the family. She followed her dreams when her mother never had the guts. She helped this family over and over in one crisis after another. Even though she chose to keep running from her past, she always came back home to her family when they needed her.

I fell hard for Jeremiah Johnson! The scenes with Harley and Jeremiah were my favorites. He is Harley's best friend-turned-lover. He was her first kiss, her first love, her confidant, her safe haven. The day after their high school graduation when Harley takes off, he joins the Marines. Several years go by before they see each other again. And now that they are adults, things are different. What they felt towards each as teenagers has grown into something more defined, stronger, and passionate.

The man, he was my friend, my love, my muse, and my hero. The world could have ended that night, and I would have perished completely and utterly fulfilled.

Miah is a patient and kind man who unconditionally loves Harley. He knows she has a restless heart and gives her the space she needs to go out and find herself. Even though they wouldn't see other for years at a time, the chemistry between them is so intense, they are like moths to a flame, unable to resist one another. But, Harley has issues with commitment, unable to settle down for fear of being stuck in a bad marriage like her parents. Therefore, Harley never commits to Jeremiah and he never pressures her. This man has the patience of a saint! Such a frustrating situation for me as a reader. I really wanted Harley to just be with Miah. It crushed me every time she left him. Will she ever fully admit she gave him her heart years ago?

I loved Harley's sassy and vivacious sister who battles her own issues when it comes to her father. I loved the sisterly bond between Harley and Kat. They watched over one another the way true sisters should. I loved how the boots her mother gave her played an important role in the story. I loved seeing the flashbacks of Harley when she was younger. I especially loved the flashbacks with her and Jeremiah.

Miz Brooklyn did not gloss over the dark topics of abuse, alcoholism, and suicide. Harley's father is a selfish man for abusing this beautiful family and at times it was hard to read. I felt uplifted while following along Harley's journey. And at times, it was frustrating when Harley couldn't see what she needed was right in front of her. Harley made some bad decisions that broke my heart at times. But, Harley needed to take this journey in order to come into her own. While her growth was slow coming, she eventually finds her her mother's boots...where she was meant to be.

Such a wonderful, amazing, beautiful story! I felt such an emotional connection to Harley's story. The message behind this story was clear and concise. My heart goes out to anyone who has grown up in an abusive home. I highly recommend this story to everyone!

Thoughts While Reading:

52.0% - "My eyes won't stop leaking! Harley-girl, you better not leave him again!"


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