Beyond the Scars

beyond the scars
Title: Beyond the Scars
Author: Louise Lyons
Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing
Release Date: July 24, 2015
Genre(s): Contemporary/hurt/comfort
Page Count: 176
Reviewed by: Gigi
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

After years of physical and mental abuse, Tommy Chadwick finally finds the strength to leave Colin, his tormentor. But Tommy soon finds that escaping his violent boyfriend was only the first step on his path to recovery.

Now he must overcome feelings of worthlessness in order to rebuild his battered self-esteem.

Tommy’s lack of self-confidence prevents him from going out… at first, but then has him ricocheting from one man to another, desperately trying to please them in his search for love and acceptance.

After being rejected on New Year’s Eve, and then beaten after leaving the gay bar, he agrees to accompany his best friend, Sarah, to a martial arts club. There Tommy meets Marcus, a strong older man, who at first becomes his friend, introducing Tommy to new interests, and later, tentatively asks him on a date.

Will Marcus be the man to help Tommy put his past behind him and fall in love for real?

I gotta tell you, I was ready to sink my teeth right into this book! A young man, after suffering terrible physical and mental abuse, learns to trust and find love against all odds. I instantly thought of two hurt/healing/comfort favorites of mine, A Beautiful Disaster by Willa Okati and Reclaiming Love by V.L. McElfresh. Unfortunately, this was a much softer, less interesting tale of overcoming great odds to trust again.

Tommy Chadwick spent almost three years with Colin, an abusive boyfriend that had eventually brain washed and beaten Tommy to a literal pulp of a man. Telling him no one would ever love him, he was ugly and stupid and a lousy lay are par for the course in their relationship. Once Tommy had finally had enough, he packs up his things and leaves Colin with just a slight bit of fanfare. He goes to live with his best friend and her mother temporarily while he figures out his next move.

During the first several months of Tommy’s freedom, he visit gay bars and picks up any guy who will have him. His low self-esteem demands he be recognized by

  • anyone
  • , no matter what he feels emotionally for them. He is promiscuous and unhappy and wants to find love more than anything.

    In an effort to get Tommy away from his bad habits with men, and to help instill more self-confidence in him, his best friend Sarah takes him to her martial arts class. He takes to the mind and body conditioning sport like a duck to water.

    During his first class he meets Marcus, a man 12 years his senior, and the two develop a friendship based on common interests and trust in the fighting ring. Eventually the relationship turns to one of romance and Tommy finishes his journey of self discovery with Marcus by his side.

    That sounds pretty good, huh? Well, I just basically explained the entire 176 pages in a few paragraphs. Not a lot else happened. The entire process was drawn out and we kept hearing the same things over and over from Tommy’s inner dialogue.

    You’d think Tommy’s road to salvation would be kinda bumpy, right? But he doesn’t encounter any further abuse from the men he is being promiscuous with. He doesn’t have any signs of PTSD. There are no hang ups with sex. He doesn’t have to struggle to keep a roof over his head. His job remains secure. And he took months and months worth of martial arts classes and never has a chance to use them! He does eventually encounter Colin again, but his sharp tongue is all that he uses against Colin and Colin ends up tucking tail and running away from Tommy’s powerful words.

    This book had a lot of real potential, given the fabulous blurb promising a hurt/comfort story of the road to love and trust. But it didn’t turn out that way. This would have worked better as a short story. Much of the content here was merely filler.

    Cannot recommend.

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    Advanced Review Copy

    Advanced review copy of Beyond the Scars provided by Wayword Ink Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

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