Title: The Darkest Sunrise
Author: Aly Martinez
Genre: Romance Suspense
Type: Book 1 of 2
Charlotte Mills is a revered pulmonologist but her personal life is a black hole due to circumstances outside her control. For the past ten years, Charlotte has operated on autopilot choosing to remain numb as a means to cope. Wondering if it’s time to finally take a baby step forward, she meets man that seems to like her quirks and ignites an emotion that she hasn’t felt in a long time.
“Mine. It was my fault. Always and forever.”
Porter Reese is a restaurateur and widower dedicated to raising his two children. Though taking tremendous joy from this role, Porter isn’t a stranger to heartache each and every day but he strives to persevere for his family. While attempting to volunteer at a charity event, Porter finds himself burning burgers until he talks to a woman that shares in a deep pain.
“Holy shit. There it was, blazing in her eyes. The emptiness. My emptiness.”
Tired of the emptiness, Porter is ready to move on or at least have some company in the dark. As Porter and Charlotte try to navigate within each other’s pain, they establish rules that create a protective barrier around them in order to bring some light into their lives. With Porter’s commitment to his children and Charlotte’s limitations, each moment they share is precious and based on trust between two damaged individuals.
“I felt every single consonant and vowel of her plea deep inside my soul. She didn’t need to beg. Not now. Not ever. If she wanted anything, I was going to give it to her.”
Willingly and selflessly, Porter shows all of his heart and deepest pain to Charlotte in an effort to propel their relationship to the next level. Finally reaching a place where they are ready to be open, certain circumstances surface that cause many questions that further complicate the lives of two people that have already endured so much.
“But, when your entire world was pitch-black, even the tiniest flicker looked like a lighthouse.”
Told in dual POV, the shifting character perspectives allows for multilayered introspection into their pain, fears and need to feel the intimacy of love again. Charlotte’s experience is heart breaking, as the constant guilt and question of “what if” pervades her senses. The need to insulate herself is devastating but completely understandable. Porter definitely has his own painful experience where he lost himself in addition to feeling betrayed. Porter is an absolute dream in his ability to communicate in quiet yet impactful ways that speak volumes.
From the first page, deep sentiment is present, but in addition to loss, there is an enormous amount of sacrifice, hope, healing and love. As the plot moves at a steady pace, it allows for time to pause and reflect in the bond these characters share. While there are moments where the gravity of the situation is immense, I couldn’t help but root for Porter and Charlotte as a couple and as a family.
For those who are looking for a romance with an emotional side and also some suspense, I highly recommend The Darkest Sunrise!