The best books about love after trauma

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a survivor of childhood and domestic violence who grew up and still lives in South Africa. We don’t talk about abuse much, but it's everywhere. It’s a beautiful place to live, and a hard and heartbreaking place, as well. I wanted to write my books to make sense of my experiences, then also to extend hope and possibility to others dealing with similar things. I admire hard-headed female characters who are making their way on their own terms, and I'm a believer in the power of love. I hope that readers will see themselves in Iris, and even though they might want to shake her at times, they’ll cheer for her through it all!


I wrote...

Leaving Home

By Emery Darsy,

Book cover of Leaving Home

What is my book about?

Teenage Iris Day has survived a nightmare childhood filled with domestic and sexual abuse in a home ruled by drugs and alcohol. She may have found a way to escape the terror of her childhood home, but can she leave behind the dreadful legacy? Too young in many ways to make good choices, and far too old, in other ways, as a result of the pain she has suffered, Iris moves from house to house, job to job, and man to man, in search of a place her broken heart can truly call home. Temptations and trials haunt her every move.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of After Ever Happy

Emery Darsy Why did I love this book?

After Ever Happy is a poignant and well-written book about family betrayals, and the possibility of healing from those deep wounds. A reader going through some difficulties with her parents will appreciate the strong bond between Hardin and his mother, and will grieve along with him when he learns later in life that his father isn’t really his father, and that bond is broken. Anna Todd’s descriptions of scenes pull you in, letting you live through her characters’ lives right beside them. That’s not always easy, and some truly terrible things happen to Hardin and his mother, but learning how they deal with it all, and with each other, was a powerful experience for me.

By Anna Todd,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked After Ever Happy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Book Four of the After series-now newly revised and expanded, Anna Todd's After fanfiction racked up 1 billion reads online and captivated readers across the globe. Experience the Internet's most talked-about book for yourself! Tessa and Hardin have defied all the odds, but will their fairy tale ending be turned on its head? After Ever Happy...Life will never be the same. #HESSA It's never been all rainbows and sunshine for Tessa and Hardin, but each new challenge they've faced has only made their passionate bond stronger and stronger. But when a revelation about the past shakes Hardin's inpenetrable facade to…


Book cover of Easy

Emery Darsy Why did I love this book?

I am always interested in stories about women surviving and overcoming abuse, and Easy depicts that sort of violence in a careful and mature manner, but never downplays the seriousness of it all. Tammara Webber doesn’t avoid the issue, but she doesn’t let it be a book of darkness and despair, either. Jacqueline is a great character, complicated and maybe even messy, who faces a lot of difficult choices. The storyline is mostly about her own search for hope and love. Maybe even forgiveness. There’s plenty of sweet and sometimes steamy romance, too!

By Tammara Webber,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Easy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

Easy is the New York Times Bestseller by Tammara Webber and first novel in the Contours of the Heart series, for fans of Colleen Hoover!

Rescued by a stranger.
Haunted by a secret.
Sometimes, love isn't easy...

He watched her, but never knew her. Until thanks to a chance encounter, he became her savior...

The attraction between them was undeniable. Yet the past he'd worked so hard to overcome, and the future she'd put so much faith in, threatened to tear them apart.

Only together could they fight the pain and guilt, face the truth-and find the unexpected power of…


Book cover of Archer's Voice

Emery Darsy Why did I love this book?

This is another great story of survival and the healing power of love. I was touched by the characters and their struggles. I’m not always a fan of descriptions, as I get wrapped up in the character, but Mia Sheriden writes beautifully and her images convey so much emotion, not just stage setting! Since so much of healing from abuse has to do with recovering and healing memories, I use a lot of flashbacks in my books. Archer’s Voice does this very well, using Bree's POV and flashback scenes from Archer's childhood. Many of the scenes are almost too painful to read, but in the end, this is a great love story, with a message of hope and healing. 

By Mia Sheridan,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Archer's Voice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Goodread's "Top Romance Novel of All Time"
A New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestseller

I wanted to lose myself in the small town of Pelion, Maine. To forget everything I had left behind. The sound of rain. The blood. The coldness of a gun against my skin. For six months, each breath has been a reminder that I survived -- and my dad didn't. I'm almost safe again. But the moment I meet Archer Hale, my entire world tilts on its axis . . . and never rights itself again.

Until I trespass into his…


Book cover of Purple Hearts

Emery Darsy Why did I love this book?

I love books that inspire me and remind me that there is a way to overcome every hardship, if we will just keep our heads up and make the right choices. Tess Wakefield makes me remember too, that no matter what, there is always someone who will want to help, in the best way they know how. Her main characters, Cassie and Luke, do all the right things for all the wrong reasons, or maybe all the wrong things, for all the right reasons. They do suffer the consequences of those choices, but they learn a lot about themselves along the way. My favorite thing about Purple Hearts is how it teaches us that life is short and that we shouldn’t live with regrets. 

By Tess Wakefield,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Purple Hearts as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

SOON TO BE A NETFLIX FILM!

When a soldier with a troubled past and a struggling songwriter agree to a marriage of convenience for the military benefits, neither expects much after saying "I do." Then tragedy strikes, and the line between what's real and what's pretend begins to blur in this smart and surprising romance perfect for fans of Nicholas Sparks and Jojo Moyes.

Cassie Salazar and Luke Morrow couldn't be more different. Sharp-witted Cassie works nights at a bar in Austin, Texas to make ends meet while pursuing her dream of becoming a singer/songwriter. Luke is an Army trainee,…


Book cover of The Infinity Between Us

Emery Darsy Why did I love this book?

Will and are wonderful characters, childhood lovers who try to make a go of it again as adults. Since I am very much interested in how our past choices shape our current lives, I was drawn to this book right away. From first love to the pain of lost love, and then its possible return, NS Perkins does a great job showing the past vs present and how suffering has changed Will and Violet, and how the passage of time has perhaps healed some of that suffering. It’s all here; complicated and often painful family dynamics, mental health trouble, and the melodrama of high school romance!  

By N.S. Perkins,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Infinity Between Us as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Eighteen years of summers spent in a beach house in Ogunquit, Maine, have brought Violet Mitchell and Will Seaberg together. For two perfect, beach-filled months every year, they spent every waking minute together. First as friends, until one summer changed everything.

But before the two even had a chance to claim the love they’d spent their entire lives creating, disaster struck, tearing the two lovers—and their families—apart.

Heartbroken and haunted by the memories of that fateful summer, Violet struggles to move on from the past. Still, she promises herself to never contact Will again. But five years later, when Violet…


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I Meant to Tell You

By Fran Hawthorne,

Book cover of I Meant to Tell You

Fran Hawthorne Author Of I Meant to Tell You

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Museum guide Foreign language student Runner Community activist Former health-care journalist

Fran's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

When Miranda’s fiancé, Russ, is being vetted for his dream job in the U.S. attorney’s office, the couple joke that Miranda’s parents’ history as antiwar activists in the Sixties might jeopardize Russ’s security clearance. In fact, the real threat emerges when Russ’s future employer discovers that Miranda was arrested for felony kidnapping seven years earlier—an arrest she’d never bothered to tell Russ about.

Miranda tries to explain that she was only helping her best friend, in the midst of a nasty custody battle, take her daughter to visit her parents in Israel. As Miranda struggles to prove that she’s not a criminal, she stumbles into other secrets that will challenge what she thought she knew about her own family, her friend, Russ—and herself.

I Meant to Tell You

By Fran Hawthorne,

What is this book about?

When Miranda’s fiancé, Russ, is being vetted for his dream job in the U.S. attorney’s office, the couple joke that Miranda’s parents’ history as antiwar activists in the Sixties might jeopardize Russ’s security clearance. In fact, the real threat emerges when Russ’s future employer discovers that Miranda was arrested for felony kidnapping seven years earlier—an arrest she’d never bothered to tell Russ about.

Miranda tries to explain that she was only helping her best friend, in the midst of a nasty custody battle, take her daughter to visit her parents in Israel. As Miranda struggles to prove that she’s not…


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