by Mia Sheridan
Published by the Author (Self-Published) on January 25, 2014
Sub-Genre/Theme: Contemporary, New Adult
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When Bree Prescott arrives in the sleepy, lakeside town of Pelion, Maine, she hopes against hope that this is the place where she will finally find the peace she so desperately seeks. On her first day there, her life collides with Archer Hale, an isolated man who holds a secret agony of his own. A man no one else sees.
Archer's Voice is the story of a woman chained to the memory of one horrifying night and the man whose love is the key to her freedom. It is the story of a silent man who lives with an excruciating wound and the woman who helps him find his voice. It is the story of suffering, fate, and the transformative power of love.
I’ve had Archer’s Voice on my Kindle for eight months and just finally read it. (Yes, it has really been eight months; I just checked. My TBR is monstrous.) My good friend Lennis, a fellow romance reader, recommended it to me. She said the hero is a mute hermit, so at that point I was pretty much sold.
At the beginning of the story, Bree arrives in the town of Pelion, Maine, with hopes that she can escape her troubled past. Back in Ohio, her father was killed in front of her during a robbery and Bree was almost raped. Although it has been months since the incident, she suffers from traumatic flashbacks and nightmares. Bree’s mother died when Bree was young, and although she has a few close friends in Ohio, she feels the need to get away from her life for a while.
I never felt entirely safe. Would I again?
Archer is the town loner of Pelion. He lives by himself on an isolated plot of land, rarely venturing into town for food and supplies. On Bree’s first day there, she runs into Archer and their meeting is simultaneously sweet, confusing, and comical. It turns out that Archer is mute, which Bree doesn’t learn until later, but which explains why he doesn’t respond when she rambles on during their initial meeting. Some of the residents of Pelion think that he’s either deaf or just not right in the head, but they couldn’t be more wrong. Bree discovers that Archer can hear her when she speaks to him, then finds out that he knows sign language, just as she does. (Bree’s father was deaf, so they communicated through sign.)
Sometimes an understanding silence was better than a bunch of meaningless words.
Initially, Archer is extremely reticent to let Bree into his life–and understandably so. He has lived alone for so many years and hasn’t really communicated with anyone during that time. So when Bree blows into his life, he doesn’t know how to react at first. But as Bree begins sharing her secrets with him, the more he learns to do the same, little by little. They communicate primarily through sign language, though sometimes Bree uses her voice.
They wind up becoming good friends, much to the confusion of Archer’s cousin Travis, who has been pursuing Bree since she showed up in town. Although Bree appreciates the attention from Travis, she doesn’t feel a constant pull toward him, the way that she feels with Archer. From the moment that they meet and she treats him with kindness, rather than treating him as a freak, they connect and only get closer.
Bree’s relationship with Archer progresses and eventually becomes romantic. Archer is such a wildly endearing character. He’s utterly inexperienced and he’s also probably the most beta hero I’ve ever read. I just loved his character. How could I not love a character whose favorite book is Ethan Frome? (Although he’s right: it really is one of the most depressing books ever.)
He was going to kill me with sweetness overload. He simply nodded as if it had been nothing.
Bree moves to Pelion with the intent that it’s only temporary. But the more attached she becomes to the people of the town, most especially to Archer, the more connected she feels with the concept of living again. Following the tragedy of her father’s death, all she wants is peace and to feel more like herself. In Pelion, she’s discovering that.
There’s a lot of family drama in this story, especially with regard to physical abuse and domestic violence. However, I didn’t find it gratuitous or too difficult to read. Bree is still working through her past traumas and as it turns out, Archer has a devastating family history as well. It’s the reason he has isolated himself, both physically and emotionally. But together, Bree and Archer learn to trust each other and open themselves up to the possibility of being seen–really seen–and understood by another person. It’s a struggle to let go of their respective fears, but over time, love heals them both.
I wanted him just as he was. I’d never hear his chuckle, but that was okay. I had his heart, and his thoughts, and him. And it was more than enough. In fact, it was everything.
Probably one of the only slightly critical things I have to say about the book is that Bree’s descriptions of Archer get a bit repetitive after a while. She goes on about his physical appearance quite a bit–which I didn’t mind!–but she uses a lot of the same descriptors and phrases over and over.
When I finished the book, I had that euphoric feeling I get when I’ve read something I really loved. In this case, I sent my friend Lennis a bunch of frantic all-caps messages, both during my reading (PLEASE TELL ME THIS WORKS OUT OKAY) and immediately after (OMG LOVED IT 500 STARS). I’ll summarize by saying that this is one of the best New Adult books I’ve read. When I bought my copy of the book, I had been aware of its popularity, but I’m always a little skittish with some bestsellers because sometimes I don’t see what all the hype is about. In this case, it’s absolutely deserved. I’m so excited to read more from Mia Sheridan and I’ve already added several of her other books to my TBR list.
Rating: 5 stars