Overall Grade: 4.5 ⭐️
“And I tried to hold on to the good bits. To remind myself that no one was all good or all bad. But, sometimes, the good pieces held more pain than the bad ones, as if the stars themselves became tattered remnants of what they once were.”
As always, Catherine Cowles has written a gorgeous story about overcoming the trauma of your past. In this poignant story, she crafts the romance between a woman needing to find the good in the bad of her the past and a man who needs to let go of his part in it. The story follows Everly and Hayes. Everly is returning to her hometown after being gone for years. Taking over her family’s homestead, she’s hoping to take the horrors of her childhood and find a new purpose. She encounters Hayes immediately. As the town’s sheriff, Everly is a representation of her family and everything that wounded his family, changing it forever, and he wants her to go even though he is drawn to her. Tenacious and undaunted, she tells him she has no interest in leaving, telling him to go. Very quickly, Hayes’s family meets with Everly to show her that they won’t hold her responsible for the sins of her father. Buoyed by their help, she believes returning home might help her heal from her past. Yet, as family members bent on punishing her for her past choices, Everly finds herself in danger. Drawn to her, Hayes rescues her every time and finds himself falling for her. Is it possible for Everly and Hayes to move beyond their shared past to forge a future forward?
Everly is the perfect combination of vulnerability and strength. There are several moments in the story when you simply want her to leave as a protection. She is wounded both emotionally and physically throughout the story, yet she has a mission to re-define her life in the place where it began. When she and Hayes finally begin to build a friendship, she draws more strength from him; however, she is complete and capable. Hayes and his family provide her with the familial support lacking from her life. The evolution of Everly’s journey is the emotional gravitas of Cowles’s Tattered Stars; it’s where she binds you to her characters.
Hayes and his family, the Eastons, represent the foundation of Cowles’s book. They are the dream, the measure for Everly of a loving, inclusive family. Without Hayes’s protective nature and the loving actions of his family, you cannot feel Everly’s pain and loss. As a reader, you root for her inclusion in this family, and Cowles doesn’t disappoint in using Everly’s connection with the family to steal the hearts of her readers.
What Cowles does so well with her storytelling is capture the attention of her readers. There is suspense in this story, and she creates options so that you find yourself turning the pages hurriedly towards the revelation of her culprit. Tattered Stars has this element, and it pulls you through her story. I suspected the character who wreaks havoc in Everly’s life, but I was never certain until its reveal. This is a keen quality of Cowles’s craftsmanship as a writer: she keeps you guessing.
Catherine Cowles’s Tattered Stars is gorgeously engaging, and it whispers into your soul to keep reading, keep believing, and keep loving, even when life seems hard and you want to run.
In love and romance,