There are stories that entertain; there are stories that you experience; and then there are stories that are so exceptional, so enrapturing, so poignant, so absolutely ‘perfect’ that there is a point when you reach a personal epiphany. At some point, driving home and thinking about the Words Series late last night, I felt a light go on in my soul, an exceedingly rare and wonderful reaction to a story that crept in quietly and stole my heart.
It is times like this that I thank heaven for all of the English Literature teachers and college professors that not only encouraged me to read but taught me to think about what I was reading. To deconstruct and critically analyze the bigger picture, looking for the universal themes that shape every piece of literature, from Seuss to Shakespeare. To find passion in the experience of reading. Because a series such as this – as simple as it may appear in a brief synopsis of the storyline – has so much more to offer than a casual weekend read. Although I can only speak for myself, if you allow yourself a chance to look beyond this simple, beautiful, 3-part story and experience its much deeper meaning, you will discover a rich, emotional treasure that could honestly change your life.
This is one of those series where the principal characters are so perfect that they move into your soul and take root there. They are welcomed with open arms because the experience of their personal journeys has helped clarify your own, in some small way. This is a series that will make you laugh, cry, ache, hope, and in the end, believe in the power of words. You will feel – but even more than that, you will feel alive. Savor it.
The theme of this series, as stated in its title, explores the weight, the power, and the ultimate significance of words: how we choose them, when and how we use them, what they can do to us, and what they can do for us. It’s about how we consciously or unconsciously allow words to define us, whether it be the self-image we develop based on the word of others, or the words we use in our own inner monologue. These are words that have the authority – good or bad – to shape and change our lives; to lift us up or send us spiraling out of control. They live in us long after they are written or spoken. They come back to haunt us in our dreams, spew out of us in fits of anger, and sometimes, if we are very fortunate, they can also heal us.
The Words Series is also about the power and beauty of unconditional love; about the family relationships that make us who we are; about giving and receiving forgiveness, and about making a decision to take control of your destiny by dealing with the demons of your past. Does this sound heavy to you? Well, it is. But the beauty of the series is in its inherent simplicity, it’s ‘relatability’. It is so wonderfully written that no words are wasted, every experience leads to the next, every book builds and complements the last. And when you reach the end, even though it may be bittersweet to say goodbye to the characters whose journeys you’ve shared, you are ready to let go because all of the loose ends are carefully and tenderly wrapped up, leaving you with a sense of fulfillment. (OK, and maybe just a hint of sadness because of the word ‘fin’.)
I am extremely grateful to Nina Bocci and Georgina Guthrie for offering me an opportunity to preview and then review The Truest of Words, book 3 of this amazing 5-star series; and because of their generosity I will add reviews for The Weight of Words and Better Deeds Than Words for good measure.
Book 1: The Weight of Words
Publication Date: November 26, 2013
Aubrey Price is in the final months of her undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto. Bright, witty, and fiercely independent, Aubrey works part-time for the college dean and has her sights set on graduating with distinction. When she meets Dean Grant’s son, Daniel, the TA in her senior Shakespearean studies course, a shared love of the Bard’s works and an instant mutual attraction draw Aubrey and Daniel together. Unfortunately, a strict anti-fraternizing policy–made more perilous by a black mark on Daniel’s record–keeps them apart. Against this academic backdrop, Aubrey and Daniel navigate their way through a steamy courtship, their forbidden romance aided, abetted, and sometimes thwarted by a colorful cast of friends, family, and classmates.
My Review … 5-stars
If you are looking for a book that you can’t put down, a story that embodies all the best elements of a contemporary adult romance, this is it. Look no further. Hit the one-click button, buy ALL THREE of these books, grab a cup of tea or a glass of wine and prepare for the ride of your life. This is a beautifully written, simple yet powerful story of compelling attraction and forbidden love that will make you laugh, cry, yearn and literally ache. Its title speaks to the theme of the series…the life-changing power of words. Alternating between the male and female point of view, the reading experience is rich, emotional and incredibly fulfilling. You will fall in love with Daniel Grant. You will yearn for this seemingly ill-fated relationship to work out. (You will have to read it to find out if or how it does – no spoilers here!) And you will thank Georgina Guthrie for writing a timeless love story that will lead you to discover the rest of this incredible series.
Book 2: Better Deeds Than Words
Publication Date: May 20, 2014
College senior Aubrey and teaching assistant Daniel decide to pursue their romance despite university regulations, but it means they’re taking a path of secrecy and lies. With only six weeks left to the end of term and Aubrey’s graduation, they’re under the constant watch of Dean of Students David Grant–Daniel’s father and Aubrey’s boss. If that weren’t enough pressure, Daniel’s checkered past also casts a shadow over the young lovers who continue to tempt fate until one wrong move leads to an inevitable disaster. Can they salvage a relationship when everything seems to be conspiring against them?
My Review … another 5-star read
Better Deeds Than Words is an intense reading experience of incredible highs and lows. As their relationship deepens, Daniel and Aubrey struggle to get to know one another even as they are forced to keep their relationship a secret. Desperate to experience the intimacy they crave, they take risks that could lead to devastating consequences, particularly in light of Daniel’s past. Constantly looking over their shoulders, watching their words and facial expressions, and lying to the people they love takes its toll. At the same time, as they reveal their thoughts and feelings to each other, their deepest secrets, personal demons, and human vulnerabilities are also exposed – and each must deal with the one thing they fear the most: rejection, failure, and loss.
Ultimately the tension within and between them intensifies to its inevitable breaking point. Painful, albeit short-term, sacrifices must be made that require a level of maturity, trust, stability and patience that they simply do not have, but must find if they are to have a future together. The journey is challenging, but it is also often funny, sweet, tender, incredibly passionate — and full of poignant moments that will sweep you off your feet. If you are not in love with Daniel Grant by the end of this book, see a doctor!
Book 3: The Truest of Words
Publication Date: November 18, 2014
With the end of term finally behind them, Aubrey and Daniel look forward to building a life together. A painful realization that they can’t truly embrace the future until they’ve come to terms with the past leads them to discover the healing potential of forgiveness and the power of unconditional love.
My Review … 5 glorious stars
I have to admit, my expectations were high by the time my marathon reading session led me to open book 3 of The Words Series, The Truest of Words. However, based on the first two installments in the series, I never thought for a minute that I would be disappointed. First, it’s the author’s story to tell, and it’s my role as a reader to respect how they tell it, to open my mind and engage … to try to understand the author’s intent, and to experience the story the way she envisioned it. Second, I felt so connected to the characters and so moved by the theme – the power of words – that I couldn’t wait to continue, wherever the story might lead.
I rarely, if ever, read a fictional series expecting or even hoping for a life-changing experience – a bit of wisdom, a new perspective on life, or a reminder of a universal truth. I always look for themes – it’s ingrained in me – and I always look for uniqueness. But when I find a story that touches me to the point that it makes me think about how I can apply its theme to my own personal journey, it is truly spectacular. In this case, if Book 1 was the entertainment, and Book 2 was the experience, Book 3 – the story that brought it all together – was most certainly the epiphany.
The passion that Daniel and Aubrey feel for each other is palpable; it’s deeply, tastefully erotic, a powerful and relatable experience. At the same time, the scenes are so beautifully, tenderly written they make you ache with longing, and then fill your heart with joy. The love and devotion that fuels their determination to fight for themselves and for each other makes their lovemaking – even at its most primal – intense and incredibly intimate.
Every character in the novel adds something meaningful to their story, engaging the reader at a different level – adding humor, spice, fun and depth to the storyline. The power of words remains a central focus, but as the series continues, the relationship of words to deeds, the importance of commitment, the power of unconditional love and the healing force of forgiveness are critical to the story’s conclusion. All in all, as I closed the book, I felt deeply moved, satisfied – and changed.
I don’t know what Georgina has planned next, but whatever it is, I will relentlessly support, promote and encourage her. If I have to say goodbye to Daniel and Aubrey at this point, I’m content with it because their story has come full circle, leaving me in a warm, comfortable, hopeful place. If I don’t have to say goodbye, all the better, because I don’t think I could ever get enough of Daniel Grant and his wonderful family.
The All-Important Question: What Makes This Story Unique?
To the casual reader, the synopsis seems straightforward, perhaps even a bit predictable: girl meets boy, girl ogles boy, boy acts like a pompous, self-righteous jerk; sparks fly, wits match, and then the embers of their inevitable passion begin to smolder. Boy and girl experience a powerful connection, a deep longing … but their love is forbidden by strict rules of conduct, not to mention societal roles and parental expectations. Naturally, given that forbidden fruit is sweetest of all – not to mention the sleeping giant of repressed lust that is unexpectedly awakened – boy and girl can’t stay away from each other, setting both conflict and chaos in motion.
If you stop right there, as a casual reader, you will still be completely satisfied. The writing is crystal clear and casual. The characters are well written and compelling. As you begin their journey, peeling back their layers, you begin to understand what brought them together and what drives them apart. There is incredible chemistry – it feels like static electricity – and it builds, creating an undercurrent of sexual tension that is utterly hypnotic. You experience their desperation, scene after scene. It is reminiscent of the compelling, overwhelming attraction between Sylvain Reynard’s Gabriel Emerson and Julianne Mitchell: raw, unstoppable, and potentially tragic. It is that potential tragedy that captures you and keeps you in its thrall from beginning to end.
Looking deeper, the power of the story – in fact, the power of the entire series – is enhanced by its literary context. The author’s deep understanding and love of Shakespeare, and her use of carefully selected excerpts from plays and sonnets foreshadows each chapter but also illustrates once again why The Bard’s works are timeless, reflecting the whole of the human experience. Humor, tenderness, sensuality, passion, betrayal, self-doubt, the importance of trust and truth — it’s all there. If you allow yourself, you will experience his words as you never have before.
The author takes each Shakespearean quote and applies it in the context of the growing relationship between Aubrey and Daniel, revealing their personal strengths, their human flaws, and the obvious and not-so-obvious motivation that drives their behavior in the relationship. As the story (and the series) unfolds, you begin to look forward to the next excerpt, teasing out its significance to the story, feeling the power of the words.
What’s even more amazing is how easily Georgina transitions from the Shakespearean language to the easy banter between two sharp, smart would-be lovers getting to know each other; the intensity of the painful internal struggle and external conflict each must endure to move forward in their relationship, and the words used to express the growing love between them, conveying powerful emotions that will literally make your heart pound and take your breath away.
Finally, a comment about sequels…
I wish I had discovered this author and her series at the beginning so that I could have experienced the thrill and anticipation of “the wait” for the sequels. I’ve heard that some readers won’t read a series until it’s complete because they hate that wait, but for me, part of the joy of reading a series is the exciting period between one book and the next, when you know that the author is hard at work writing or polishing the sequel. If you are especially fortunate, as I have been with some of the authors that I love, you get to be a part of that ‘next phase’ – beta-reading, proofing, editing, promoting, or simply encouraging them through the arduous process of giving birth to a highly anticipated sequel. It’s a priceless experience for a passionate reader and an incurable romantic – and an enormously stressful one for an author, regardless of how successful or renowned they may be.
All I can say is, if you were one of those anxiously waiting for Books 2 and 3 of The Words Series, I’m sure you were not disappointed – I certainly wasn’t. Whatever the wait – long or short – it was definitely worth every minute.
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