Life on the Porcelain Edge by C.E. Hilbert
Published by Pelican Book Group November 01, 2017
Genre: Drama, Romance, Mystery
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Tessa Tarrington’s life is swirling out of control. No job. No apartment. Sick Dad…And she’s back in high school! Teaching at her Gibson’s Run alma mater would be tolerable, except she’s sharing purgatory with her mortal enemy, Ryland Jessup. But eight years post-high-school, and after tragedies she can barely understand, Ryland no longer fits her mental image of the over-sized bully he once was. In fact, much to her disgust, he’s finding his way into her heart. After the sudden death of his wife, Ryland hung up his professional shoulder pads and picked up a whistle. Now he’s focused on coaching the high school football team and raising his daughter. The sudden return of his childhood crush, Tessa Tarrington, has reawakened long-ago feelings. But if God’s giving him a second chance to impress Tessa, the Man Upstairs has a funny way of showing it. Just when Tessa starts to lighten up, Ryland’s best friend returns. Will the always-irresistible Joey Taylor stifle any hope Ryland has to ignite the dream of a relationship with Tessa?
C. E. Hilbert takes her readers back to Gibson’s Run for another story full of snappy humor and a couple learning to forgive and find real love.
Tessa Tarrington was finally making it on her own – huge loft apartment at deep discount rent, successful job as a ghost writer for celebrities, and close friends to share her free time – when her safe life is flushed. Someone discovered her ghost writing job and stole several in-progress works from her apartment – effectively making Tessa unemployed and untouchable in the world of background writers. Then her “friend” Bobbi Jo swoops in to taunt Tessa in faux compassionate words, also hinting she might be taking Tessa’s job. Additionally, Tessa receives word her father has suffered a heart attack and needs her back home in Gibson Run. Returning home seems the best option at the moment and she is given a bit of hope as there is a substitute English teacher job available for the semester. But going home means facing all her worst memories and the one person who is responsible for the start of them all – Ryland Jessup. Ryland told his mother when he was six years old that he was going to marry Tessa Tarrington. The problem is, Ryland’s innocent birthday present of “days of the week” underwear for Tessa’s sixth birthday caused her to be so embarrassed she wet her pants. To further add to her humiliation, Ryland’s childhood stutter created a despised nickname of “Pee-Pee T. T.” when he tried to whisper quietly to her about the problem. Carrying the burden of that cruel name all the way through high school, Tessa harbored a deep resentment towards Ryland and his best friend Joey – believing they are responsible for keeping the name going. But as Tessa begins to get to know Ryland again, she discovers that he is not the monster she had created in her mind. For one thing, he defends her in front of the sports team players who thought her class would be an easy A if they caused enough trouble. Ryland is infamous for his Saturday Suicide Sessions – suicide drills for 2 hours straight – for any high school sports player who gets into trouble. Ryland uses the exhaustion of the players to teach respect and discipline – of their teachers and themselves, so the players can grow in more than size and talent. Overhearing Ryland’s teaching moments, Tessa realizes that he is a kind, compassionate and loving man who truly wants those around him to be their absolute best. Add to this his deliberate and careful care of his daughter Emma, and Ryland is quickly working his way beneath Tessa’s heart walls and becoming a man she could love. But Tessa is not the only one who needs help with forgiveness – Ryland is still carrying the hurt of his deceased wife’s unhappiness and betrayal. It will take Tessa being strong enough to show Ryland his deepest hurts before they can both move into forgiveness and lasting love. And to all this drama, Ms. Hilbert adds the wonderful character of Lily Mae Benton ( a Cajun force of nature) and another love interest for Tessa – her highschool crush Joey Taylor. Tessa’s life quickly becomes flooded with new understanding of how much she really was and is liked by all who know her, and that she is capable of much more than she has let herself believe. Ms. Hilbert took a situation that many have found themselves in and interjected humor, forgiveness and love to show that God does not leave His children in safe situations if there is an opportunity for them to be stretched and grown by hardship. There were so many great moments of spiritual learning included in this book that I couldn’t begin to name them all. The concepts of bitterness, resentment and forgiveness are deep and hard to convey without sounding harsh or unconcerned. Ms. Hilbert did a wonderful job of telling the truth in a real way but making sure those who heard the truth also knew they were loved in their problem. Additionally, as I am a lover of words, I was thrilled to see how much grammar and alliteration were used throughout the story to bring moments of laughter and stress relief. Lily Mae’s way of using alliteration was just so entertaining; I felt like she and I would be good friends were she a real person. Ms. Hilbert’s way of making the characters of her story real made this book one I loved to read and one I will certainly re-read. I will most certainly share this book with others and might also purchase copies for others soon. I look forward to Ms. Hilbert’s next works and hope she will bring another story out in the very near future.
I received this E-book free of charge from Pelican Book Group in exchange for a fair and honest review. I will receive no fiscal compensation from this company for this review.