In The Stillness - Andrea Randall
This book is very raw, angsty, gripping and very emotional. Fair warning, there are graphic descriptions of cutting, so if this is a trigger, be warned.

Told from the heroine's POV, we watch the heroine's descent into mental illness as her marriage disintegrates juxtaposed with scenes from the evolution, and eventual destruction, of her first love.

What makes the story so gripping is that the 3 main characters, Natalie, her first love Ryker, and her current husband Eric, all make tough choices. They make mistakes. They fall. They are all culpable.

Although Natalie comes off as whiny sometimes, her pain is palpable through the words. Some of the cutting scenes are the most gut wrenching because, as the reader, you could feel the release along with her.

All the while, her husband Eric, either chooses to deny or fails to see the downward spiral Natalie falls into. His actions, though inexcusable, can be at least understood from an outside perspective.

Ryker's story, I felt, was a little bit murkier. I would've like a little more of a POV of the relationship from Ryker - a little more info from the missing years in between. I respect the author for not sugarcoating his recovery efforts and stating that recovery and his PTSD will be life long things he'll have to deal with.

I also appreciated that Natalie and Ryker's eventual reconnection was genuine. Both were hesitant and a little gun shy even knowing the depth of feelings for each other that never went away.

Probably my only real disappointment in the book is the lack of a good epilogue. The book end with their first steps forward and I think that showing the couple a bit down the road would've gone a long way.