The Image of You
by Melanie Moreland
“The Image of You” is a standalone romance by author Melanie Moreland. It’s a second chance love story that blends some classic romance tropes in a beautiful way that doesn’t just tug the heartstrings, it yanks on them. This is a story that was published years ago when the author was with a traditional publishing house; she added a lot of content and is publishing it herself, the way she wants the story told. I never read the first version, but I thoroughly enjoyed this one.
Adam is a professional journalistic photographer, documenting areas hit by natural disasters and other strife. A mishap lands him in the emergency room, and under the care of Nurse Alexandra. He quickly begins to call her either Ally or Nightingale. They have an instant connection that rocks them both. As they get to know one another, he quickly learns that her life has been full of sadness and emotional abuse, at the hands of her mother and stepfather. The information they both share is heartbreaking. Yet when with one another, each finds happiness… and then a series of unexpected events tear them apart. I don’t want to give much more away about the plot because I think it’s best to let it unfold the way it’s written. I will warn you to have a comforting beverage and tissues nearby, because you truly might need them.
Both characters are multidimensional and feel very “real”, which makes the story hit hard. At different times each is forced to make tough decisions and it makes you think about how we can let other people’s voices in our heads have control over our choices. I knew that would be a happy ending, but their desolation when apart was painfully authentic. The villains in the story are horrific. Other secondary characters are interesting, and some will melt your heart in their own right. Once I started reading this book, I couldn’t put it down. The ending was wonderful, and the epilogue couldn’t have been more perfect.