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I mean to make you sigh as though your heart would break, and scream with the wanting, and at last cry out in my arms, and I shall know that I've served ye well.
And when my body shall cease, my soul will still be yours. Claire, I swear by my hope of heaven, I will not be parted from you.
I wept bitterly, surrendering momentarily to my fear and heartbroken confusion, but slowly I began to quiet a bit, as Jaimie stroked my neck and back, offering me the comfort of his broad, warm chest. My sobs lessened and I began to calm myself, leaning tiredly into the curve of his shoulder. No wonder he was so good with horses, I thought blearily, feeling his fingers rubbing gently behind my ears, listening to the soothing, incomprehensible speech. If I were a horse, I'd let him ride me anywhere.
"You are my courage, as I am your conscience," he whispered. "You are my heart - and I your compassion. We are neither of us whole, alone."
"Seems I canna possess your soul without losing my own."
"D' ye think I don't know?" he asked softly. "It's me that has the easy part now. For if ye feel for me as I do for you - then I'm asking you to tear your heart out and live without it."
"I do not know if the wound is mortal, but Claire - I do feel my heart's blood leave me when I look at you."
Annie Colwater's life looks picture perfect. She's married to an attractive, very successful lawyer, she has a beautiful daughter who's on her way to college, and she lives in southern California in a prestigious, gated community in a huge house she designed. But Annie's world comes tumbling down the same day her only child, her seventeen-year old daughter, goes off to England. Blake, Annie's husband of twenty years, tells her he's in love with someone else and that he's leaving her. Leaving her. How can he do that? She's his wife, the mother of his child. These roles defined her. It was all she ever wanted to be for as long as she could remember.
Annie, adrift in an ocean of misery, heads back to her roots and her hometown, a small but beautiful place in Washington State called Mystic. It is here that she looks for comfort from her dad and recalls heart-wrenching memories of her deceased mother. But it is also in this nature-lover's paradise that Annie is reunited with her first love, Nick Delacroix, and his young daughter Izzy. Nick has recently become a widower and Izzy is "disappearing" since her mother died. Together, Annie, Nick and Izzy fight for survival and healing. Together they are strong. Yet it is just as Annie begins to feel she can let go of the past, just as she is beginning to understand who she is, just as she begins to believe in herself....she is forced to choose.
It is something so many of us do...mothers, wives, sisters. We become the nurturers, the caregivers, the organizers and lovers. But then, one day, twenty years later, when Johnnie is all grown up and traveling across Europe and Mary is off to university in Texas, we ask ourselves: What now? Who am I? What will I do now? The world is full of Annie Colwaters.
Kristin Hannah has once again put me through an emotional experience I won't forget. Through these so- very- real characters, she has reminded me to ask those questions of myself: "Who am I and what do I really want in life?" As a woman, I should not feel guilty because I want to do something for myself, be it a fulfillment of a lifelong dream or simply to travel where I want to go. Women can be who they want to be and still be a loving, nurturing parent and a passionate, caring wife. A woman's life need not revolve around those she loves; her life should involve the ones she loves. As Kristen Hannah states "I cannot lose sight of my own reflection". Thankfully, I have found the outlet for my innermost self...it is here in my words upon the page.