Genre: Mature YA Suspenseful Romance
Publication Date: November 25th 2013
Series: The Line That Binds #1
Source: Provided by author for review
Stained with heartache and cursed with vengeance, a stone well lies on a nineteenth-century estate, waiting for the Stockton line to wish again. When seventeen-year-old Lila Wayde's father loses his high-paying job in Las Vegas, the family relocates to a Pennsylvania estate bequeathed by an estranged aunt. Lila begins a new life there, one not corrupted by wealth and fake friends. She soon meets Ben, the groundskeeper's gritty grandson, and experiences the kind of happiness her life's been missing. But as she settles into the ancient house, she learns information about her ancestors and the old stone well that may make her wish she'd never come. Ben Shadows has lost enough in life. So when Stockton Estate's owner, Janine, wills the land to her great-niece Lila, Ben fears for the fate of the property. He decides to find out Lila's intentions as the new owner, but his grandfather wants him to protect her from Stockton Estate's alleged curse. As Ben helps Lila dig through the estate's history, they grow closer than he ever intended. Now, along with concerns about the property and the reality of the curse, he struggles with feelings he can't ignore. Will the secrets of Stockton Estate bring them together or will knowing the truth rip them apart? **Recommended mature YA for mild language and mild sexual content**
When I was a little girl the books that really got my motor running were Nancy Drew mysteries. I loved the excitement and the adrenaline I would feel trying to race the author to figure out what was going on. Half the time I was way off base but I like to think I have matured as a reader since those days. The Line That Binds was everything I used to love in those Nancy Drew books in a much more "Grown Up" modern day twist. Suspense, Intrigue, Romance and Drama combined in this novel to hook me into a story that wouldn't let me go until I was finished.
The Stockton descendants are cursed. From the prologue we are given a taste of the heartache behind what caused it all. Lila's ancestor pissed off the wrong woman and his bloodline is having to pay for his mistake in choosing the wrong woman to love. Right away I was into this story feeling a solidarity with Dahlia the servant girl who was promised the love and affection of Charles Stockton who ended up breaking her heart. There were two main aspects to this book that were woven together to make such an interesting story. The romance side and the mystery side. I want to talk about the mystery first. This was my favorite thing about the book. Nine times out of Ten I would say the romance was the best part but with this story the general plot was so unique and well thought out I couldn't help myself.
There is something strange going on and Lila can feel it from the moment she steps into the old house filled to the brim with eerie paintings of a gloomy well hidden somewhere on the property. When her aunt passes away leaving her half of the estate She teams up with Ben Shadows, the boy who she has to split the property with when they turn 18 to figure out the mystery behind the well. I really enjoyed this part of the story. The suspense of searching through all the clues with the characters to figure out what happens was exciting. Lila is at the mercy of this well after making a wish that sets off a chain reaction in direct coalition with the ancient curse placed on it. Once she starts hearing voices of what people are wishing for and touches them the wish will be granted taking a small piece of her every time. If Ben and Lila can't figure out how to stop it in time Lila will be lost forever, just like her aunt.
The romance aspect between Lila and Ben was a slowly developed part of the story as the two worked together to uncover the mystery of the well. Ben's first impression of Lila was that of a snobby socialite who would play the Diva role. What he found was a girl who was just trying to adjust to a new life she had never had to live before. I really enjoyed seeing how much Lila changed. It was difficult for her to leave behind the home she had with her family and come to a new place but she handled it well. Instead of acting out she made things as painless as possible and sacrificed her own comfort for her father and brother. After Ben lost Harper, the girl he had loved he became a closed off party boy. Doing whatever he could to forget the pain he felt for not being able to help her. This was a boy after my own heart let me tell you. When his father was too drunk to care for him his grandfather took him in and raised him. Losing this girl he loved took it's toll and it wasn't until Lila came into his life that things began to change for him. I was really glad Lila opened him up and helped him heal. Watching her turn away from her past life of designer clothes, salon appointments and vapid friends to becoming a humble girl just trying to find her way was nice to see from her. She was never really hung up much on those things having to care for her brother because her mother was no good but she did care what people thought of her. I loved seeing her finally let go of that mindset and just be herself.
Lila had it rough throughout the story being the target of this ancient curse hell bent on making her and her family pay for past sins. Hearing voices in her head with no escape was painful to see her endure but seeing her heartbreak over not being able to help everyone who wished for things was a little sad. I was very happy that she had someone like Ben to help her through all of the crazy things happening to her. It did take a while for Lila and Ben to finally get together but their chemistry was done very well. I would have liked a little but more early on from them but with this being the first book in the series I can only imagine what's in store for these two. Between Lila's brother and father and Ben's friends Iz and Spaz there were fun filled moments that lightened the sometimes somber mood the well seemed to cast on the story. There is no shortage of drama with everyone still in high school and for Lila to make real friends was another important aspect I enjoyed seeing in her character growth.
The Line That Binds wasn't a faced paced "One and Done" story, it was the kind of book you clear your schedule and settle in for. All the intricate details and all the little plot twists were written in a way that had me curious and excited to see what would happen next. It was a definite page turner especially when the characters would discover something new that unraveled more of the plot. Ending the way it did left me wanting more from the next book and very curious about what else is left to discover from this ancient secret. This would be a great book for teens and younger adults looking for an intriguing story that ups the thematic elements for a more mature YA audience or for adults who don't like to step fully into the NA or Adult category.
Looking at her was like looking in a mirror. It was painful to see who I'd become. When I was younger and my family life was in the early stages of disintegration, I'd wanted to belong to something so badly that I latched onto people who brought the worst out of me instead of the best. No matter how many people I tore down, I was still a weak follower. ARC/Beta 24%
Early moonlight shone through the window, casting a comfortable glow around the room. The lines between light and shadow blended subtly together, void of all sharp, distinguishable ends. It was like the room flowed with contentment. Exactly how I felt lying beside Ben. ARC/Beta 97%
About The Author:
J.M. Miller first discovered her love of writing in high school, where she penned poetry for extra credit in English class and even braved the anxiety of open-mic night at a local coffee shop. Life soon followed, with a couple of careers, marriage, and a baby. The urge to write again came sometime after the birth of her daughter, this time calling for more than a few lines in a messy composition notebook. She's a military spouse, and a veteran herself, who finds inspiration in the people she's met and the places she's lived and traveled. Whether writing or reading, she enjoys the time she spends lost inside her own mind.