ARC Review: The Hard Truth about Sunshine

28 Mar 2017

Book Title: The Hard Truth about Sunshine
Author: Sawyer Bennett
Series: Standalone
Release Date: March 28th, 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
New York Times bestselling author Sawyer Bennett has written her most gripping and poignant tale yet. Provocatively heart-breaking, audaciously irreverent and romantically fulfilling, The Hard Truth About Sunshine exposes just how very thin the line is between a full life and an empty existence.

Despite having narrowly escaped death's clutches, Christopher Barlow is grateful for nothing. His capacity to love has been crushed. He hates everyone and everything, completely unable to see past the gray stain of misery that coats his perception of the world. It's only after he involuntarily joins a band of depressed misfits who are struggling to overcome their own problems, does Christopher start to re-evaluate his lot in life.

What could they possibly learn from one another? How could they possibly help each other to heal? And the question that Christopher asks himself over and over again... can he learn to love again?

He's about to find out as he embarks upon a cross country trip with a beautiful woman who is going blind, a boy with terminal cancer, and an abuse victim who can't decide whether she wants to live or die.

Four people with nothing in common but their destination. They will encounter adventure, thrills, loss and love. And within their travels they will learn the greatest lesson of all.

The hard truth about sunshine...

Warning: This book deals with some tough issues including suicide and sexual abuse.

The Hard Truth About Sunshine, let me assure you, is like nothing else Sawyer Bennett has ever written (or that I've read from her). As states in the synopsis, the book revolves around a group of 'misfits.' Narrated by Christopher, a bitter, angry disabled veteran, he meets Jillian (a girl going blind), Connor (a teen with terminal cancer), and Barb (sometimes suicidal victim of child sex abuse) in therapy group for those suffering depression. When the therapist group leader offers them a chance to get out of their remaining weeks of therapy if they take a soul-cleansing road trip, Christopher volunteers to lead the trek.

But the reason I made a stupid decision and came on this trip is that I’m as equally intrigued by Jillian Martel as I am repelled by her. My intrigue won out, and I agreed to this ludicrous idea of a group journey so I could be near her. 

I agreed because I need to know how she does it.

How she can have such a grim future and still smile as if all is right with her world.

A road trip that starts out with a car full of every type of coping mechanism- some healthy, some not. Christopher makes no secret he's doing this to get out of therapy but over the hours and miles between home and their next destination, his touch, bitter facade starts to crumble. Each member of their posse has a story, each member copes in their own way, yet with time spent together, each person's strength help conquer the other person's weaknesses. It's a true metamorphosis for Christopher and all-together life changing for them all.

Although the story is a bit emotionally heavy at times, it's still a fairly easy read. As the book progresses, the reader finds signs of hope amidst quite a bit of sadness and disparity. A simple road trip extends from state to state, checking off Bucket List item after item for our characters. The Hard Truth About Sunshine is about both new outlooks on life and also deals with death. It's truly emotional but not heart wrenchingly sad. There is a romantic element to the book but it's not at all the focus. This is also not a book with steam. Zilch. But it's written so eloquently, with such clarity to their sights, sounds, and inner feelings, you don't miss the steam. It also touches on spirituality and religion but I found it only added to the book and it wasn't excessive at all.

This is not the type of book I can read everyday though instead a book I'd read when looking for something touching and emotional. Sometimes it's sad, sometimes it's uplifting. I think Sawyer Bennett has something here in this type of book trope. I look forward to more from her.

Advanced copy received by author in exchange for my honest review.

Since the release of her debut contemporary romance novel, Off Sides, in January 2013, Sawyer Bennett has released more than 30 books and has been featured on both the USA Today and New York Times bestseller lists on multiple occasions.

A reformed trial lawyer from North Carolina, Sawyer uses real life experience to create relatable, sexy stories that appeal to a wide array of readers. From new adult to erotic contemporary romance, Sawyer writes something for just about everyone.

Sawyer likes her Bloody Mary’s strong, her martinis dirty, and her heroes a combination of the two. When not bringing fictional romance to life, Sawyer is a chauffeur, stylist, chef, maid, and personal assistant to a very active toddler, as well as full-time servant to two adorably naughty dogs. She believes in the good of others, and that a bad day can be cured with a great work-out, cake, or a combination of the two.

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