Don’t look up.
Never make eye contact.
Those were the words I lived by growing up, the words that protected me in an unsafe home. But words are only letters and eventually even they couldn’t keep his hands off me.
Hoping to leave behind the shattered life of my past, I find myself in a boring, small town, with an aunt I’ve never met and at a school I loathe.
But soon I learn, not everything in this world is as black and white as I’ve determined. Sometimes those we are so quick to judge often need a second, third or even fourth time to make a first impression.
And often, there are friendships and even love waiting just around the corner, if we are brave enough to take the first step.
Am I brave? Or will I hide behind these tattered gloves of mine forever?
The Tattered Gloves had the potential to be a truly powerful and moving piece about the horrors that can befall a child in a home where there is little care for their well-being. It could have been an inspiring message of hope and healing but it fell short of that, for me.
I am a big fan of the journey characters take within a book and if their growth and story arc is healing, the ending doesn’t necessarily have to be happily ever after, it just needs to be the thing that is best for the characters. I didn’t quite get that from this book. Everything ended up tied up in a nice little bow and I just didn’t quite feel like it was a realistic ending for the characters involved. At about 2/3 of the way through the book, I had an inclination this was going to be the case, as there just wasn’t enough book left to properly resolve all of the things that were going on with the characters. There was also a point where it where the aunt alluded to going through something similar to what Willow had and that ball was totally dropped in favor of a much less horrific back story.
It is because of the expectations I formed while reading this book that I was left wanting. There was just so much potential to tell such an important story, a story bigger than a girl falling in love with a boy, and I wanted THAT story. The story The Tattered Gloved ended up being was a lovely story, it held an important message and told of the dangers of judging people without getting to know them first. It demonstrated, wonderfully, the differences of living in a home filled with love and acceptance to one filled with indifference and distrust. While I had thought, this was going to be a gritty story about the worst things that can happen to a person with a dash of love and romance thrown in, it was actually more about the different types of love a person can experience and how important each of them are, with a dash of how the residual effects of past trauma color those relationships.
Letting The Tattered Gloves stand on its own, leaving all of my expectations and hopes for the story aside, it was a very touching story. The relationships between each of the characters was wholly unique and beautiful. I came to love each of them, for different reasons, and the all brought their own messages about love and life to the book. It was well-written and help my attention, the words made me care deeply for the characters and their futures, the plot, while not as fleshed-out as I’d have preferred, was riveting. For a person looking to dip their toe into deeper subject matter without going headlong into the darkest reaches of those subjects, this is an amazing place to start.
Watch the Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LM82Egr7Rck
J.L. Berg is the USA Today bestselling author of the Ready Series, The Walls Duet, and the Lost & Found Duet. She is a California native living in the beautiful state of historic Virginia. Married to her high school sweetheart, they have two beautiful girls that drive them batty on a daily basis. When she’s not writing, you will find her with her nose stuck in a romance novel, in a yoga studio or devouring anything chocolate. J.L. Berg is represented by Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, LLC.